German speed metal. Despair was one of the early signings for the fledgling indie label, Century Media.

Beyond All Reason Despair - Decay of Humanity (Century Media) 1990

1. "Decay of Humanity" (5:45)
2. "Cry For Liberty" (4:56)
3. "Delusion" (4:52)
4. "Victims of Vanity" (5:58)
5. "A Distant Territory" (5:18)
6. "Silent Screaming" (4:44)
7. "Radiated" (4:31)
8. "Satanic Verses" [instrumental] (1:51)

Euro-speed metal mixing in equal parts of progressive metal and thrash metal. Despair forged one heck of a technical metal feast, topped with Andreas Henschel's aggressive vocal attack. Andreas at one moment will be belting out a low to mid range thrash growl, then switch to a high-pitch falsetto scream, not unlike Warrell Dane. This particular release reminds me of Anacrusis, another tech-metal monster that never was fully appreciated. The album, while being recorded in Germany, was mixed in the infamous metal factory, Morrisound Studios in Florida. As with anything I have heard come out of this studio, the mix is top notch. Those guys just know how to do metal right. Despair write interesting lyrics as well. Not that I necessarily agree with all the opinions expressed, but they express their opinions in an intelligent manner and don't focus on the cliche' death and doom that many bands were focusing on in the early 90's, especially with the explosion of death metal. "Decay of Humanity" for example explores the idea that technology may be destroying mankind rather than saving it, as people tend to stop thinking and reasoning, allowing the machine to take over. The last track is a short, but menacing instrumental with a bizarre name.

Despair - Beyond All Reason (Century Media) 1991

1. "Beyond Comprehension" (2:32)
2. "Deaf and Blind" (4:42)
3. "Imported Love" (5:17)
4. "The Day of Desperation" (4:47)
5. "In the Deep"(6:08)
6. "Rage in the Eyes" (6:27)
7. "Burnt Out Souls" (5:14)
8. "Son of the Wild" (4:24)
9. "Crossed in Sorrow" (4:22)

Powerful speed metal in the vain of Sanctuary's "Into the Mirror Black." Despair are not a clone, but this was the closest comparison I could come up with while listening to this disc. The vocals are far different from that of Warrell Dane, but certainly fitting and competent. Most of the time Andreas Hentschel sings in a mid-range aggressive thrash mode, but adds in some lower growls and an occasional high pitched scream for effect without it becoming overkill. Musically this band just shreds; plenty of fast downbeats, speedy riffs, double bass, and the occasional somber moment. 'Beyond All Reason' is a German-flavored, early-nineties speed metal attack, with an occasional progressive touch. Many have labeled this band as thrash metal, but I'd say they are much closer to the speed metal of early Blind Guardian than to classic thrash metals likeExodus or Kreator. The album ends with a killer instrumental that exits in a flurry of dual guitar solos that are absolutely stunning. Apparently this disc, as well as their first two discs are all out of print.

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