In the Divine Comedy, Dante tackles the big questions. It’s no wonder this literary work not only strongly influenced the Renaissance and the Reformation, but also helped define the modern world. The first portion ‘Inferno’ is about categorizing and understanding the forms of human evil in all its forms, from the banal to the depraved. Dante’s journey is actually a metaphor for the progress of the human soul – it is also a meditation on evil.
I’m not sure this complex and certainly deep subject has been addressed in modern music. If it has, I doubt that such an exploration would have been as comprehensive as that presented this year by dark electro-goth collective Dispel – in song, imagery, artwork and through their music videos. These are pretty thorough enthusiasts, I must admit. Their new offering ‘Flames of Greed’ is the third of three singles to be released in the lead-up to their sophomore record ‘Inferno’. This conceptual album is based on Dante’s literary masterpiece, the track list including a song for each of the layers of sin that exist in the infernal realm.
Here, Dispel follows Dante and his guide Virgil down each layer of the Nine Hells, dedicating a song to each level of mortal sin. But the band’s fantasy has gone even further, complementing this story with the introduction of a handful of diabolical personalities from ancient mythology and fantasy literature.
Based in Cleveland, Ohio, Dispel is made up of Ravensea, Sean Gallows and Scott Dispel, a founding member of the old-school hardcore band Face Value and former drummer for TEXTBEAK, who is also a studio engineer, producer and award winning nightclub DJ. Their new album took two years to complete and it seems pretty clear why – Covid lockdowns aside, it’s crystal clear that a tonne of effort has gone into this uber-detailed niche project.
Buoyed by soaring powerhouse vocals, this music manages to both balance the extremes and convey the chaos of it all. Combining the expression of gut-wrenching feeling and true despair with instrumentation, Dispel’s sound and style are undeniably their own.
The ‘Flames of Greed’ video, directed and edited by filmmaker Rafeeq Roberts, sees vocalist Ravensea play the part of the diabolic and tormenting empress of greed Fierna, her powerful voice serenading the fallen souls who succumbed to greed in the material world, delivering their eternal fate in Hell. This clip also features actress / model Robin O’Malley, Goth Jen Brunfel, Levie Mckenzie, Colt Mire, Aaron Brunfel and Scott Dispel as the Plague Dr.
Laced with dark melodies, vocal depth and spiritual quests, Dispel creates a unique musical narrative, channelled through the prism of historic lore, mythology and mysticism.
Earlier, Dispel released the shimmering gothic metal ‘Journey Into Limbo’ and ‘Glasya’s Heresy (Acoustic version)‘, a deep acoustic ballad with saga-laden video, filmed in South Africa. Kate Farquharson‘s rich piano prowess complements Ravensea’s haunting voice as she sings of the sorrows and temptations of this forbidden realm.
Produced by Dispel, ‘Inferno’ was mastered at The Cage Studios by Martin Bowes of Attrition, well known for his work with Nine Inch Nails, Psychic TV and Steven Severin (Siouxsie & the Banshees).
“Influenced by an equal mix of darkwave beats, Medieval literature, and conceptual rock albums, the music behind Dispel was born. But soon after the completion of our debut album ‘Lore’, the world went on lockdown! So we headed back into the studio to create another conceptual album, but we had to up the ante. A spiderweb-ridden bookshelf held the key – “Dante’s Inferno” in its timeless glory,” says Scott Dispel.
“Putting a literary masterpiece to music was no small task, we had to do it justice through attention to detail, utilizing actual texts and adding mythological personalities, herein combining rock music and world literature.”
Dispel has roots in the early 90’s hardcore punk scene, when a German underground goth-Industrial club inspired Scott Dispel to transition from performing with Face Value to pursuing electronica. Inspired by Sisters of Mercy, Clan of Xymox, Depeche Mode and VNV Nation, he formed Dispel after gaining a music degree and recording studio experience. Dispel took form upon meeting Ravensea, a Berklee vocal performance / music therapy major with a powerful voice and insight into music’s power to transcend language and cultural barriers.
‘Flames of Greed’ is out now, available across online music platforms, including Apple Music, Spotify and Bandcamp. On October 12, the full ‘Inferno’ LP will be released on CD, vinyl (with full color insert) and digitally.
Ravensea – Vocals
Scott Dispel – Drums & Keyboards
Sean Gallows – Vocals & Bass
Leonard (Maldurin) Kemenani – Guitar
Jamie (Valkyrie X) Baisden – Bass
Kate Farquharson – Piano
Joe Cilento – Acoustic Guitar
Barry Gelderblom – Vocal Narrative
Keith Farquharson – Production
Recorded and mixed at Dispel Studios US
Mastered by Martin ‘Attrition’ Bowes @ Cage Studios UK
‘Flames of Greed’ video directed & edited by Rafeeq Roberts
Ravensea – Fierna ‘Queen of Greed”
Levie Mckenzie – the Knight, Wardrobe, Fight choreography
Goth Jen Brunfel – Hair, Make-up, Wardrobe, Feirna’s consort
Colt Mire – Fiend in Red armor, Weapons
Robin O’Malley – Beatrice (Fierna’s captive)
Aaron Brunfel – Feirna’s consort
Scott Dispel – Plague Dr.
Enter the distinct and dark world of Dispel
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