Friday 12 May 2023

Respire - Denouement

Labels: Belle Époque Publishing/Dingleberry Records/Left Hand Label/Middle-Man Records/Narshardaa Records/Self-Released/Zegema Beach Records

Formats: Vinyl/CDr/Tape/Digital

Release Date: 01 May 2018


1. Bound

2. Haunt

3. Shiver

4. Bloom

5. Catacombs

6. Virtue

7. A Heart Still Pines

8. Denouement

It's been a while since my last ZBR roster review (aside from the odd recent release), so I'm jumping back down the rabbit hole with Canadian band Respire and their 2018 full-length Denouement. Originally self-released by Respire on digital and CDr formats to coincide with the vinyl release from Dingleberry, Middle-Man, Narshardaa and ZBR; it also saw later tape pressings from Belle Époque Publishing and Left Hand Label that same year (with LHL also releasing an instrumental accompaniment tape called Memorial at the same time). In terms of album timelines, it sits between Gravity And Grace and Black Line for those unfamiliar. Respire blends post-hardcore, post-metal, shoegaze, black metal and more together with help from countless talented friends/musicians.

Today has felt like a real breath of fresh air as the preceding days and previous week have been hard work-wise. Having the mental energy to write again is freeing and Respire are my inspiration. ‘Bound’ is the expansive, cathartic opener I was hoping for. A genuine mix of melody from multiple instruments, heaviness from blasting percussion and equally dissonant guitars, and raw emotion from on-point vocals. These seven+ minutes are instrumentally superb and you really get a sense of the whole Respire family when the clean singing fills the speakers. The welcoming Celtic influence added by the violin/viola playing will remind you of bands like Dawn Ray’d and Morrow, which is cool as well.

‘Haunt’ creeps up on you with a less urgent sound initially before the majesty of Respire’s black metal and orchestral might come together to raise the heartbeat a few notches. It’s ending is abrupt end leads straight into ‘Shiver’, which is the most obvious ode to black metal on Denouement so far. Obviously, that’s not the only facet to Respire’s sound but it is more prevalent here in parts. When it settles, classical symphony-like instrumentation takes hold and creates a totally different atmosphere altogether. 

As ‘Bloom’ plays, the pattern of songs getting shorter in length continues. Song lengths ultimately mean very little when you’re truly immersed in an album and the sheer beauty of this song proves that point. Again melody is king and it leads you serenely into the second-half of the album. Screamo/emo makes ‘Catacombs’ a totally different proposition but one that’s absolutely fine. It shows Respire’s ability to be sensitive and write with even more variation than they already have on this album so far. The way they up the tempo before a crescendo of black metal and post-metal guitars close it out works brilliantly too.

The sample that opens ‘Virtue’ is somewhat unnerving and while that feeling doesn’t translate in the music that follows, it resonates in your head. From that initial place of darkness light grows, becoming more visible and sensory as the all encompassing instrumental layers build. From the sublime to the dramatic, ‘A Heart That Pines’ is a short blast of energy that’s given no room to explode. You’ll understand why when you hear it. Ending with the title track ‘Denouement’. the soothingly delivered Saxophone takes centre stage amidst an instrumental song that closes out an album that should be heralded as the GOAT. 

I don’t know what else to say about this. I’m sure that many people who read this will already be familiar with Denouement but if not, you’re missing out. It’s so hard to keep up with the myriad of releases being thrust into your ears every day now, but there’s nothing wrong with taking some time out to appreciate what’s come before. This is a banger and it will forever be one.

You can stream and purchase the album digitally from Respire below:-

Respire -

Physical copies can still be purchased from the labels below:-

Left Hand Label -

Middle-Man Records -

Narshardaa Records -

Dingleberry Records -

Left Hand Label -

Middle-Man Records -

Narshardaa Records -

Zegema Beach Records -

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