Nation Despair


Written by: MT on 03/03/2010 21:25:57

My expectations weren't high when I put on the first official release, "Ruins", by the newly formed Finnish band Nation Despair - partly because the band is so young and it is their first EP, which tend to be half-arsed and a bit lackluster due to the musicians not having fully realized where they want to go with the band. This was not the case with these melo-death Finns who seemed like they knew exactly what they wanted to play and did it for the most part, convincingly.

The band's official goal is to "write hard hitting, catchy songs that still are heavy as hell". And this goal is most definitely pursued, in the vein of Swedish Melodic Death metal. While listening to the EP, bands like Nightrage, Amon Amarth and In Flames come to mind. Nation Despair also have moments of old school, Bloodbath-like riffage brought to the table in songs like the mosh-inducing "Elisabeth", one of the albums highlights. The band seems to put more emphasis on song writing than technicality which gives the compositions a good mix of groove and fast-paced, near grind passages; two things which many bands seem too one-sided on. The vocals could, however, be improved by a little more variation and better articulation, which would steer them in the right direction.

As this is not a label release, its hard to be too critical on the production side. The production has got a good natural sound but unfortunately it doesn't quite hit you in the face, which would make the songs stand out even more. The guitars are not aggressive enough, the drums need more presence and bass could be slightly more prominent. The mastering is lacking a bit and somehow I crave a tighter, crisper, more compressed sound with this type of music. But despite it's shortcomings, it is not bad at all. Most people probably wouldn't be bothered by it and it is definitely a good listen.

Despite not quite having that unique flare to make them really stand out, Nation Despair has got boat-loads of potential and is a band to keep an eye out for. “Ruins” holds a good collection of tracks which definitely has the best songs in the beginning. The last track I felt was a bit of filler and didn't really need to be there. If the vocals are improved, and the song writing is focused on creating catchy songs and experimenting a little more, they could turn some heads in the Finnish metal scene; not for originality but execution.


Download: The Machine, Elisabeth
For The Fans Of: Nightrage, In Flames, Amon Amarth
Listen: Myspace

Release Date 16.01.2010

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