San Diego, California does not strike me as a place where miserable, gothic doom can be inspired. Southern California is generally hot as shit, but I’ve seen icy black metal come from hotter places, so I can live with this. My Life’s Despair have taken 20 years to release their debut, having released a few demos over the years. But ‘Invoked With Passion and Pain’ is their first full length release, and gloomy and morose it certainly is.
This two man set up has created an album of gothic sadness and despair. Ethereal female vocals loom in and out of riffs shrouded with a mist of misery. Consider the riff that opens ‘A Caress of Stars’, a Paradise Lost worshipping piece of guitar work if ever I’ve heard one. Gloomy English doom casts a long shadow over this record, along with an almost Cradle-like gothic drama. ‘Patterns in the Chaos’ is an evocative, windswept piece that showcases My Life’s Despair at their mournful best.
The delicate acoustic touches, the glacial clean guitar in ‘No Hope for Tomorrow’; all subtle touches that put My Life’s Despair ahead of the pack for this kind of atmospheric gothic doom. Sure, they’ve had 20 years to get it right, but they’ve found their style and perfected it. ‘Invoked With Passion and Pain’ is a monolith of grey melancholy. A blend of early Paradise Lost with some orchestral flair and some black metal style atmospherics, and you’ve got My Life’s Despair. Recommended.