Executioner’s Mask – Despair Anthems (A Timeline of Goth)

 

A fine week this has been. Nearly every genre of the dark fells into my hands, and even some brutal death rap by a sexually extreme queen of hell. So I figured we'd end it on a sad note, a tenderly painful memory of the week the most reviews were ever done at Deaf Sparrow. There could be no finer way to welcome this end than Despair Anthems, by Executioner's Mask, a post-metal conglomerate that decided to dabble in things of the Goth. Like a few other genres, I rarely get music of this type I want to cover either due to extremely diluted artwork or music that makes the greatest of cover an impoverished disaster. Here we have instead that frail type of sadness that started a revolution, and in veritable timeline form as we're taken from first-wave into the new-wave of the genre.

   

Knowing where the members of this band come from, Despair Anthems is amazing for its musical diversity. You'd never have thought the hands behind this had crafted noise, death, and black metal, but here they are. Executioner's Mask have a fine grasp of Goth from its posi-punk roots to its most recent synth-heavy manifestations. Despair Anthems is a practical guide to Goth history while forming a meaningful self. In particular, the sense of bitterness and darkness is extremely effective, and from the opener, "The Defilers," you'll hear exactly what I mean. But it doesn't remain slow, it also gains speed at a moderate, mournful pace, and easily combines the frosty riffing Goth has been known for with industrial-styled beats and experimentation. A wealth of culture is to be found in Despair Anthems, cleverly combined and presented, but if there is one complaint it's the tendency of the vocals to remain to wholly consistent and close to apathetic. For future incarnations, should they decide to develop further, vocal variety is an absolute must. As it stands Executioner's Mask travels through the timeline of Goth while the vocals remain stuck in the early 1980s, but it's something to which the listener easily adjusts.

 

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Executioner's Mask – Despair Anthems
Profound Lore Records
Cover Art: Agustin Hernández
4.2 / 5