Having been in existence since the early Noughties, Switzerland’s shEver have produced several self released albums and put in a good account of themselves at the usual festivals like Roadburn and Doom Shall Rise before joining the Totalrust Music stable to release this year’s full length ‘Rituals’ and hope to bring their unique brand of Doom to a wider audience.
Despite the unassuming intro ‘Ritual of Chaos’ builds to an incredibly atmospheric track full of sinister whispers and subtle notes before crashing into a huge plodding mammoth of a track capped off with strangled, guttural howls.
This monstrous atmosphere continues at a snail’s pace with the monstrous ringing tones of ‘Delirio’ which manages to marrying haunting melodies with stop/start dynamics and ends with a huge stomping riff that will have even the most cynical fan banging their heads at the pure unadulterated greatness of it all.
‘Je Suis Nee’ brings another slab of distorted guitars, throbbing bass and crashing drums that will have fans of My Dying Bride, Cathedral and Black Sabbath celebrating with joy at the bluesy down tuned slabs of distortion, whilst ‘Souls Colliding’ augments the powerful instruments with moments of tender Cello and beautiful clean singing.
For those reading this thinking that this is just A.N. Other Doom band, shEver do throw the odd curve ball with moments like ‘(You Are) The Mirror’ being almost reminiscent of Alice In Chains style vocal harmony’s and menacing tones. Which kind of reminds me of American female Grunge Metal band Drain STH although this is possibly just a nod to the fact that shEver are also an all female ensemble, which I left to this point because honestly, it was a fact I didn’t really pay attention to, as Alex’s vocals cover the range from clean, melodic, beautiful intonations to howling in a way that would make Jeff Walker proud. I actually thought they had two vocalists until I read the notes properly.
Backed by three extremely competent musicians, these six tracks are aggressive, heavy and extremely listenable. They have clearly developed their sound to invoke the pagan, black stormy side of the Doom genre and their excellent understanding of atmospherics makes this an enthralling journey that any Doom fan should be lining up to hear.
Rituals is a strong release and should see the band building on their wealth of live experience as they carve out a piece of the Doom landscape for themselves.
Scribed by: Mark Hunt-Bryden