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shEver : Rituals

There are moments of brilliance and sparkle in ShEver's new effort, but you would like it to be more ghastly, more bewitching, even more crushing.

Hailing from the forests of Switzerland crawl shEver, delivering their latest slab of Sludgy Doom. Having witnessed their live performance some 7 years ago, and already owning íThe Mirrorí demo and promo cd, I was greatly anticipating this new album, albeit I missed their previous self-released EP and full length released in the last few years.

shEver are an all-female doom outfit Ė letís get this out of the way from the start. There is nothing exceptionally unique about women creating music, in fact I get frustrated with the fuss and disbelief by some to the fact women are able to create excellent extreme music. Women have always had an ability to create intuitive, emotional, empathic music Ė whether it be through the lineage of Blues/Jazz, the likes of Janis Joplin, or even those Extreme Metal acts around now. An album should exist in itself, regardless of gender or genre, a collective of artistic minds.

Things kick off very positively with a crushing introspective riff, heavy, with twisted vocals and pounding rhythms. As the album progresses the crunching riffs continue, in a Crusty Death Sludge fashion that any Doom-monger would be pleased to hear. There is a Celtic Frost feel to some of the auditory carnage. Yet, shEver add plenty of variety within their music which helps keep an interest, for example in track three there is a slow sludge stoner riff that takes me straight into a Kyuss/Sabbath trance.

The vocal delivery throughout the album is varied Ė and pertains to be one of the key elements by which this brand of Sludge will live and die by. There are some awesome Death Metal growls, akin to Acrostichon, mixed in with plenty of Sludgy-shouted vocals, alongside some cleaner lines. The interplay between each styles is interesting, especially when the vocal tracks are layered over each other. Unfortunately, the different kind of voices donít always work for me, especially the cleaner parts where the notes arenít held as truly as Iíd hope.

There are moments of brilliance and sparkle, but Iím generally waiting for it to be more ghastly, more bewitching, even more crushing Ė and the album lacks that something which raises it from just being good. This isnít helped with the mix, which leaves it feeling a bit empty and hollow. I must add that the artwork is rather disappointing as well, I've seen that kind of picture too often before.

shEver are a good band Ė and this album is definitely worth checking out. Yet, having listened to their first efforts, Iím not getting the progression I was hoping for. Throughout the album I am, too often, wanting something more. On an individual basis some tracks verge on excellence Ė but in its totality the album, although solid and emotional, lacks a certain finesse and inspiration.

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Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
Ritual Of Chaos
Je Suis Nee
Souls Colliding
(you are) The Mirror
Tha He Na Te

Duration : Approx. 50 minutes

Visit the shEver bandpage.

Reviewed on 2012-07-21 by The Caveman
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