The world may not lack one man black metal bands, but I think its fair to say that there’s far between the really good ones. Countless horrendous recordings of generic “heard it a thousand times before” black metal are spewed out every year. Fortunately Despot’s debut, ‘Satan in the Death Row’, isn’t one of them.
The first thing that got me excited was the fact that the artwork isn’t just a guy in corpse make up standing in the woods, occult rituals, shadow figures etc… and you can actually read the letters, as they are not encrypted abbreviations.
It starts with a 3 minute atmospheric dark intro that builds up the excitement of what’s to come. It then bursts into ‘Matriarch’ which isn’t exactly what I waited for, but halfway through it gets down to some interesting breakdowns. But it doesn’t get me seriously nodding my head until ‘Purified by Fire’, the album’s fourth track, kicks in.
A 5-minute thrashy onslaught that shows Despot’s inspirations go outside of black metal, the riffs are more inventive and the overall structure is more engaging for the listener. And its tracks like this, that blends in different elements of other genres, that makes Despot more than just another one of those aforementioned one man bands.
The album continues with more tracks in the same vein, technical, progressive black metal spiced up with the right amount of thrash. Showing that you can show your respects to the old school without trying to do what has been done before. B.A.V. as he refers to himself, does everything himself on this recording, and he definitely knows how to handle his instruments.
The overall sound is surprisingly clean, and gives room for extra melody with overdubbing guitar and adding subtle synth parts. And this is what makes tracks like ‘Forbidden’, ‘Purified by Fire’ and the title track stand out among other less impressionable tracks. The album closes with an outro that follows the atmospheric darkness of the intro that leaves me wondering what comes next from Despot.