Thursday 7 April 2022

Respire - Gravity And Grace

Labels: Dingleberry Records/Middle-Man Records/Narshardaa Records/Ozona Records/Parking Lot Records/Zegema Beach Records

Formats: Vinyl/Tape/Digital

Release Date: 30 Mar 2016


1. Pitter Patter

2. Ascent

3. Eternal Light

4. Waltz

5. Gravity And Grace

6. Eternal Nothing

7. Evening. Melancholy I

8. Evening. Melancholy II

9. Evening. Melancholy III

Canadian post-rock/screamo band Respire was a band I came to know about through Left Hand Label. I own tape copies of both Denouement and Memorial (An Accompaniment) yet I'm a bit out of touch with their earlier material. Gravity And Grace was their first full-length, which came out two years after their demo. It was released on both vinyl and tape via the labels mentioned above and this evening, it forms the next part of my ZBR roster review series.

The day job is strangely calm at the moment. Calmness is good and it’s magnified on Gravity And Grace opener ‘Pitter Patter’, which gives an early glimpse into the full orchestral beauty that Respire possesses to this day. Musically clear and captivating. ‘Ascent’ follows on with immediate continuation. This time, Respire’s post-metal takes a fuller form with blackened blasts, vocals and riffs that appear buried during the verses before coming alive in the instrumental sections. Off-kilter, at times Avantgarde maybe but so emotive too.

I really like how Respire’s approach isn’t to go for the jugular. While they may be screamo-adjacent, they’re not the type of band to hit top emoviolence-gear and instead they’re more progressive, perhaps? Even if I was way off there, ‘Eternal Light’ makes for the perfect song that definitely does it’s title justice. The combination of strings and brass is not what you might expect, but it works so well. The patient build-up of the guitars and percussion is sensitive to what Respire creates here, allowing time for thought and genuine appreciation. The multi vocal chorus towards the end makes it all the more worthwhile as well.

If ‘Eternal Light’ left you in a state of serenity then ‘Waltz’ will snap you out of that state very quickly. It’s more immediate in harshness yet it retains a great balance between that and melody. If you’re familiar with the anarchist black metal of Dawn Ray’d then you’ll find a similar bedfellow in Respire here for sure. The album’s title track ‘Gravity And Grace’ could be seen as an instrumental interlude when held up against the rest of the songs that surround it, but it’s so much more. It demonstrates both the beauty and honesty that makes up the band’s sound.

You’re led into the album’s second half proper by ‘Eternal Nothing’, with stirring trumpet tones taking centre stage. You get a fuller appreciation of the many layers that go into making these songs throughout it’s near ten-minute playing time. It carries much more black metal influence in between the introspective sections. Definitely a stand out track for me. The final three songs on Gravity And Grace are a trilogy, beginning with ‘Evening. Melancholy I’, which unlike those before it features clean vocals. They’re very effective at changing the mood of the record and give it a new dimension amongst the backdrop created by the rest of the band. 

‘Evening. Melancholy II’ goes by all too quickly. It’s shorter than it’s predecessor and while it feels like Respire are winding down somewhat, it’s still a beautiful song complete with more clean singing. ‘Evening. Melancholy III’ closes everything out with luscious guitar melodies, choral vocals and subtle feedback. It’s a gentile way to part. Gravity And Grace is never too far away if you need something to lean on, to cleanse and to inspire you. An early impression of the band Respire has become but in it’s own right, a masterpiece.

You can stream the album via bandcamp below, where it's available to buy on vinyl (only 5 copies remain) and on digital formats directly from Respire:-

Respire -

Copies can still be purchased from the labels below:-

Middle-Man Records -

Narshardaa Records -

Zegema Beach Records CAN/INTL -

Dingleberry Records -

Middle-Man Records -

Narshardaa Records -

Ozona Records -

Parking Lot Records -

Zegema Beach Records -

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