After six years of existence the continual non-veneration of Shroud Eater is a source of some confusion and consternation for me. I mean have you people actually listened to them? Seriously, we’re talking world-class here, and yet they’re still to be picked up by the mainstream metal press, snapped up by one of the larger labels and given the exposure that they so richly warrant or given the opportunity to annihilate audiences in far-flung corners of the world??
Life, she is a cruel and bewildering mistress.
However, provided enough attention is focused on the pair of smashers on this new digital/cassette/soon-to-be-a-seven-inch-also jam from the deadly Floridian filthmongering heshers I don’t see why isolated tribes in Papua New Guinea won’t be worshipping graven idols of guitarist/vocalist Jean Saiz, bassist Janette Valentine and relatively new drummer boy Davin Sosa by this time next year.
Kicking off with a sample of James Mason dialogue from the classic TV adaptation of Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot – one of my favourites and one that still creeps me out and makes me jump, even though I know what’s coming and when – Face The Master itself punches in firing on all cylinders as Saiz generates churning guitar filth and bite-your-face-off vocal attitude, ably backed by the tumbling percussive battery of Sosa and the low-end heft of Valentine with absolutely nothing held back. As things kick up a notch, Sosa goes for a brutal 4/4 pummel and Valentine backs Saiz’ throaty balls-out yell up with aplomb before Saiz gives us one of the finest Tom G style death-grunts that has been my privilege to hear in many a year. Kicking the chair out from under us, the tempo crawls right on down for the final stretch as Saiz and Valentine switch to bewitching entwined melodic drone-singing, ala Alice In Chains atop a slow-moving avalanche of blown-out muck, pushed from the rear by Sosa, and then, BAM, we’re done in under three minutes with a venomous MO-THER-FU-CKER from Saiz.
No meandering hanging chords or overwrought drone sections that overstay their welcome, just a solid, muscular attack delivered like a breezeblock through a jewellers window and then off with the goods. Goodnight.
Second track House Of Endings gallops in on a loping classic-metallic rhythm with Hurricaine Saiz wailing up blue murder from the outset and a shift of gears suddenly giving way to bulldozer guitars, bass and drums, punctuated by ringing single guitar notes that eventually mutate into a decidedly tasteful, decidedly psychedelic guitar solo floating high above the roiling dirt of the main track. Once again Valentine provides lung-busting support on backing vocals and Sosa thrashes his cymbals into oblivion whilst Saiz’ ghostly, mournful guitar vanishes into the aether at the close.
Now, whilst it has been over a year since Shroud Eater‘s last record, the well-received Dead Ends EP, a lot of water has passed under the bridge for the band since then – the departure of original drummer Felipe Torres, illness, surgery, everyday life, all that jazz – but whilst you may be forgiven for thinking that a mere two new songs in that space of time feels a little slack, you have to listen to them and realise how much has gone into both. What the band has given us with Face The Master and House Of Endings is pure, alchemically refined Shroud Eater – the very definition of ‘all killer, no filler’ – everything that the trio do so well pared down to six and a half minutes with zero fucking around.
Sit the fuck up, pay attention and see if you’re not drooling like a hungry hound for the next record after listening to this pair of diamonds.
Scribed by: Paul Robertson