North Jersey Notes

DESPYRE – Shirley, NY

Metal lives with these guys out of Shirley, NY. The name of the band is Despyre and man, are they heavy! I just got done listening to their latest record Rise Up, featuring the songs “Liberate,” “Regret,” “Evil Inside,” Twisted,” and “Hell Freezes Over.” These guys are definitely on that fine line between hard rock and heavy metal, especially with the track “Evil Inside.” They almost remind me of another local Jersey band that I was close with called TRIMM. Singer Rob Malvagno reminds me of TRIMM singer Gerard DiNola and riff-wise the bands are very similar. I’m surprised I haven’t heard of Despyre sooner. 

The core philosophy that drives the quintet known as Despyre is the combination of two emotions that form their name, “despair” and “inspire.” The band aspires to encourage through driving, melodic, and hard-hitting music those who have struggled or lost hope, and have reached a point where life has lost its spark. Despyre strives to re-ignite that fire, or as they define Despyre—“To have once given up all hope, which in turn motivates or compels the passion to do something profound, prolific, and exceptional.” 

Despyre, formed in 2015 out of Suffolk County, Long Island, and quickly caught the ear of distinguished metal guitarist Joey Z. from Life of Agony. The band is made up of seasoned musicians who’ve been influenced and cultivated in the shadow of the long traditions of N.Y. heavy metal from the likes of Biohazard, Life of Agony, Type O Negative, Suffocation, Overkill, and Dream Theater, the members of Despyre tap those inspirations while creating their own unique sound of crunching guitar riffs, pounding bass & drums, and melodic vocal melodies, while delivering a balance ear piercing screams and catchy choruses. Despyre have been compared to a variety of current bands from Five Finger Death Punch, Volbeat, and even Disturbed. Despyre is currently made up of singer Rob Malvagno, guitarists Dennis Gaudio and Brad Maestro, and bassist Kevin Cassidy. Despyre recorded their debut EP Irritation under Joey Z’s direction. The success of Irritation led to opening slots for bands like DevilDriver, Death Angel, Gemini Syndrome, 9 Electric, Drowning Pool, Loudness, and All That Remains. They have also answered the call for metal showcases hosted by my brother, Don Jamieson, from That Metal Show, who has called them simply one of his “favorite new bands.” In June, Despyre released their latest record Rise Up through Pavement Entertainment. You can catch them on the road with Life of Agony this December including a stop at Starland Ballroom in Sayerville, NJ on December 21. For more info on Despyre, visit 


So, apparently, my bros, Roy Brunston and Phil Beam from Resurge have teamed up with my bud, Rory D’Lasnow, to create a new project they are calling Black Rose Revival. Roy, who is also playing bass for this project, assured me that Resurge has not broken up. This is merely a side project performing a different style of music than Resurge would ever play. He compared it to Taking Back Sunday and The Used. He said, “This style of music is something I’ve never done before. That’s why I am interested in the songs. They are really good and catchy.” Well, I’m definitely curious in this new project as a fan of Resurge’s and Rory’s work. Rounding out the band is drummer Sergio Arsenio. For more info on Black Rose Revival, visit…. I know these guys are not really an unsigned band, but they are local enough to mention them! Has anyone seen the new Life of Agony video, “Lay Down”? I love it! Joey Z. and the LOA gang have a brand-new record coming out on October 11 called The Sound of Scars featuring “Lay Down.” I can’t wait to hear more of this album! For more on the new Life of Agony, visit…. And finally, my dudes from Common Wealth are finally getting ready to release their long-awaited debut album, Never The Less. The first single off the new record is “Caught In Between” and it is pretty bad ass and features Black Label Society bassist JD DeServio on bass! Common Wealth promises many other special guest musicians on this 11-song record including former Coheed and Cambria and The Dillinger Escape Plan drummer Chris Pennie on drums for a cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Saturday Night Special.” Some other songs on the album include “American Dream” and a song called “We’re Not Alright.” Singer Christian Carson told me that some of the record was tracked at Bob Pantella’s studio and some at Trax East in South River. For more info on the new Common Wealth, expected to drop in October, visit 

That’s all for now! If your band is from North Jersey, and you want some exposure, send your press kits to Arts Weekly, c/o Tim Louie P.O. Box 1140, Little Falls, NJ  07424, or you can email me at, where you can also let me know where you’re performing next! 

Just remember…. We’re all in the same boat, so every little bit of exposure counts! 

Tim Louie is the Author of S**t Happens.