In the late summer of 2014, bandmates Brett Barrett and Ikaika Cox set out to make a record that they felt truly represented them. GEIST, released on Panic Records in November, formed from the embers of the previous incarnation of the band and marked this next evolution of Despite Despair.
GEIST is a raw and fearsome record, inspired by experiences that were violent, traumatic, and everlasting. It is contradictory—dredging up the negative and flooding it with light, uncompromising in its affirmation. There are many themes in GEIST: the recurring crux of existentialism, death’s inevitability, rejection of sedentary and reactionary nihilism in favor of wide-eyed exploration into freedom and responsibility; positing an ethic of morality into the absentee atheistic worldview, all while remaining capable of understanding the potential for change in art. Believing in yourself to create a body of work—instead of killing yourself—in the face of the silent, unsung battles that so often consume the creative process.
GEIST is about perseverance and hard work. It is about overcoming. It is about life in a world of death. Brett performed drums and main vocals for the first time since the band’s birth, played the majority of the guitars and wrote the lyrics. Ikaika Cox played bass, performed additional guitar, and provided content editing for lyrics and composition. Randy Cordner recorded and produced the record, and provided an impromptu guest guitar spot on the ominous and crushing closing track, “Dies Irae.” Other appearances were by members of Fever Dreams, The Troubles, Temples, and many of our other friends as well. After recruiting talented illustrator-guitarist Derek Ballard, Nic Kartchner on drums, and Maclaine Lewis on guitar, the band has resurrected itself and returned even stronger than before.
Today, Ghettoblaster has the pleasure of premiering the video for “Dance of the Maenads,” which you can enjoy below.
(Visit Despite Despair here: