The literary and musical worlds collide on DISPEL’s sophomore release ‘Inferno’
From the depths of Cleveland, Ohio come goth rock trio DISPEL. The three piece, made up by drummer and keyboardist Scott Dispel, bassist Sean Gallows, and singer Ravensea, released their debut single independently back in 2020, and have continued to grow their sound since then.
Their sophomore record Inferno -based on the infamous literary work by Dante – has been years in the making. On the making of the album, founder Scott said ‘putting a literary masterpiece to music was no small task, we had to do it justice through attention to detail, utilising actual texts and adding mythological personalities…’. The process is no mean feat, and it’s easy to see that DISPEL have put their all into this record.
Listen to ‘Inferno’ by DISPEL on Bandcamp
Tubular bells and fuzzy sawtooth synth kick of the album on Gate Prelude, setting the scene for the record. The building tension culminates in a chugging, Black Sabbath-esc riff on Journey Into Limbo. Ravensea’s vocals soar over the deep, pounding drums, harmonising over the chorus in an almost ironically heavenly way. Following song Dispater’s Lust begins with a droning synth, bringing to mind a hellish choir, before Ravensea enters, matching the timbre. It’s moments like this on the album, as well as six-minute, multi-sectioned Bog of Gluttony that she shows glimpses of her range as a vocalist, adding textures to the songs as well as power.
Geryon’s Wrath pulls you in with a hypnotic distorted bass, and lullaby-esc chorus melody, while Rings of Violence creates a similar feeling with its duelling guitar riffs. One of the most surprising moments on the album is Glasya’s Heresy (Acoustic Version), a gorgeous piano ballad that shows off another side to the band that previous tracks hadn’t revealed. It’s a shame that these elements weren’t utilised more, but without them, this song stands singular and strong. The album concludes with a one-two punch of Citadel of Fraud, and Cistern of Treachery, finishing as it begun, with an ambient epilogue, featuring a spoken word passage cataloguing the protagonists escape form hell.
DISPEL have taken Dante’s Inferno and perfectly represented it in musical form, both with their instrumental choices, and lyrically. Ravensea’s vocals are an integral part of this, bringing gravitas, and adding weight to the meaning of the words. While the album begins to lack diversity towards the conclusion, there are many interesting changes and passages littered throughout the tracklist that bring moments of intrigue musically. An interesting concept, and an interesting execution.