Canadian DIY outfit Respire, who describe themselves as an “orchestral post-everything collective,” formed in the bitter winter of 2013, a harmonious mix of self-taught and classically-trained musicians who came together via the Toronto DIY punk and hardcore scene of the early 2010s. The six-piece spent evenings and weekends honing their craft in a frigid west-end Toronto basement, blending lush, emotive orchestration with the fervour and aggression of blackened hardcore. Respire emerged with an aim to create hopeful music for troubling times.

With an army of collaborators in tow, Respire have independently released two critically-acclaimed albums: Gravity and Grace (2016) and Dénouement (2018). They return with Black Line, their most ambitious and incendiary album to date – weaving an anti-fascist narrative of redemption against the backdrop of impending global climate catastrophe. Written over two years and produced over six months, Black Line finds Respire turning away from the sickness of the self and onto the sickness ailing the world. Yet despite its towering inferno of anguish, Black Line is a call to arms – to burn away the ugliness that threatens to divide and destroy us, to reclaim agency in a world spiraling out of control, to find beauty in destruction and hope in rebirth.

“The lyrics of Black Line were written while the ancient forests around us billowed into flames, as the continued mutations of imperialism and fascism wreaked havoc on our society, our world, and our people,” explains guitar player/singer Egin Kongoli. “Black Line is about the possibility of redemption within this sickness. It’s about wanting to be better in a world constantly falling apart. About regaining agency against the backdrop of global forces far beyond our control. By its end, Black Line is about community, about taking on the fight together. A new world is possible, but only if we are willing to lay waste to the corrupt structures that have brought us to our heels. It is a call for fire. For destruction. For rebirth.”

A DIY release, the nine-song album, made waves with those with those who have an ear to the underground. Stereogum described the collection as “the kind of music that makes you feel like you’re flying and drowning at the same time,” while Bandcamp said “… their nearly operative songs are deeply felt, while the lyrics shrieked atop the myriad layers of instruments speak to sorrowful, resonant subjects…” Canadian independent label, Dine Alone Records, took notice, signing the band and re-releasing Black Line.

Respire is:

Ben Oliver – Bass, Voice
Travis Dupuis – Drums
Darren Scarfo – Guitar, Voice
Egin Kongoli – Guitar, Voice, Vibraphone, Synth, Banjo
Rohan Lilauwala – Guitar, Voice, Vibraphone, Glockenspiel, Synth
Eslin McKay – Violin, Viola, Voice, Piano


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