TheSleepingShaman.com about “Rituals”

28th July 2012
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

http://www.thesleepingshaman.com/reviews/album-reviews/s/shever-rituals-cd-
2012/

RingMaster about “Rituals”

Posted by RingMaster on September 14, 2012
There has been some impressive doom and heavily weighted sludge driven releases this year and
right up there with them is the storm of sonic destruction Rituals from Swizz metalers shEvers. The
six track album is colossal, a tempest of death spawn tar thick doom aggression to consume and
erode the senses.
Formed in 2003 by guitarist Jessie and original drummer Melanie, with bassist Nadine joining soon
after and vocalist Alex the following year, the all girl band unleashed their first demo The Mirror in
2004 as well as playing numerous shows across Switzerland including a show with Place Of Skulls.
Two years later their debut album Ocean Of Illusions was unleashed with the current line-up coming
together with Sarah replacing Melanie on drums in 2007. Across the years the witches of venom have
played with bands such as Jex Thoth, Esoteric, Amenra, Saturnus, Ahab, Esoteric, and Obelyskkh,
successfully played many festivals, and released the well received EP, A Dialogue With The
Dimensions in 2009.
The band recorded Rituals in 2011 with its CD release this year coming through Total Rust, the label
having already approached the band about releasing their debut at the time though it never came to
be, and Svart Records for the vinyl release. It is a consumptive assault of tempestuous sounds and
oppressive shadows which envelope and smothers the senses mercilessly and constantly. The
sounds overwhelm and constrict the air sucking its energy into the malevolent mire of intense and
thick ravenous energy. It is not all death and decaying shadows though as the band infuse squealing
and incendiary sonics throughout to ignite the passions fully.
The opening Ritual Of Chaos is a crawling hateful slab of metal, its haunting atmosphere spliced with
intrusive insanity enforced by the excellent rabid bestial vocals of Alex. It is sinisterly tense and
dramatic, the riffs towering and their crushing presence impossible to defend against, though why
one would want to avoid such a compulsive and welcome violation that the band lay upon their
victims is unimaginable.
The outstanding and best track on the album Delirio feasts next with its equally suffocating ambient
mass and provocatively engaging melodic charms. The song is beauty in its every form, the decayed
breath and deathly atmosphere as glorious as the synapse burning sonic imagination and hungry
predatory basslines. As with the majority of the album everything comes at a lumbering dragging
pace and intensity but the effect is a mesmeric trance inducing weave though the meditative result is
of nightmares rather than splendour. The song evolves into a delicious sludge riot for its climax to
again unveil the strong invention and imagination of the band.
The following tracks like the hypnotic bruising that is Je Suis Nee and the stunning Souls Colliding
with its plunging disturbed soundscape simply leave one in total absorbed bliss, suffering at times
but welcoming every intrusive manipulation and caustic rub. The second of this pair really is majestic,
the merging of the blackest pit and strongest sun a perfectly merged clash of extremes.
shEver – rituals
The Ringmaster Review
url: http://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2012/09/14/shever-rituals/
Closing with the almost grunge fuelled sludgefest of (You Are) The Mirror and the punishing crawl
that is That He Na Te, the album is an immense and fully satisfying violation upon the senses. Rituals
is one of the best genre releases to eat the senses this year whilst placing shEver as one of the prime
doomers around.

shEver: Rituals

TheObelisk.net about “Rituals”

Arriving some three years after their self-released A Dialogue with the Dimensions EP, the second shEver full-length, Rituals, lives up to its name. It doesn’t feel out of line to assume the band’s name is a play on the word “shiver” meant to emphasize that all four members of the Swiss outfit are women, with the odd-capitalization in their logo making the point even clearer, but more interesting to me than their gender is the scope of doom and darkened sludge shEver cover. The first-name-only lineup of drummerSarah, vocalist Alexandra, bassist/violinist/backing vocalist Nadine and guitarist/backing vocalist Jessica wind their way through a bleak and often dirge-minded atmosphere, but there are looks in the direction of ‘90s-style doom that show up in tracks like “Delirio” to change up the approach, and screams intermingle with cleaner vocals in ambient parts while the band reels before unleashing their next assault. Rituals, which is released through TotalRust Music, is thoroughly doomed despite any variations/deviations that occur in style. Riffs lead the way almost exclusively, backed by Nadine’s thick bass and punctuated by the crash ofSarah’s lowly-mixed cymbals. The album is under-produced. Those cymbals are part of it, but I have a hard time imagining both the bass and drums don’t also come across thicker live, and that Alexandra’s screams, which sound muted here as “Je Suis Née” reaches its nonetheless punishing apex, aren’t fuller in another setting. Still, the rawness helps quitter stretches feel all the more dismal, and for the parts of Ritualswhere shEver are more directly sludge in their approach, it makes it that much nastier. The six extended tracks of the 50-minute offering are more consistent as well with that line drawn between them.

In case you were wondering exactly what kind of Rituals the band was thinking of when titling the album, opener “Ritual of Chaos” makes it plain, with malevolent whispers and quiet creepy parts trading off with screams, growls and clean backing vocals all at once. It may be that the band is throwing everything out there at once, but if so, it’s effective in conveying the breadth of the album overall. There are few surprises in store afterwards, but the fullness of the atmosphere that “Ritual of Chaos” constructs is affirmed in the other tracks, which are doomed enough to make early Paradise Lost blush and righteous in their heaviness despite whatever already-noted production issues persist. Before the opener is through, shEver have moved from ambient guitars to double-kick drumming, and done so smoothly while also challenging the listener to follow them. A major strength of Rituals is its challenging side, and “Delirio” – which also tops eight minutes – works quickly to enhance it with death growls and vicious higher-pitched screams atop a lumbering riff that persists loud for the first minute before moving into a more ambient incarnation of the same progression; an effective loud/quiet tradeoff and not the last to come. “Delirio” gradually rebuilds its crash and subsides again, once more hitting a satisfying peak as the song comes to a close,Jessica changing up the guitar to subtly add a shot of adrenaline. The following “Je Suis Née” is the shortest track on Rituals at 7:17 and dedicated largely to interpretations built around one riff and one tempo. Needless to say, its plod is substantial as a result, and though by now they’ve well established their pastiche, shEver move into probably their sludgiest territory yet – that riff is a beast and Alexandra’s screams are the stuff of damaged vocal cords. As with a lot of sludge, they run into trouble winding the track down, but when in doubt, drop everything else out and let the guitar ring out into a fade. Works like a charm.

“Souls Colliding” is perhaps the most satisfying blend of ambience and crushingness shEver have on offer with their second album. Even in its quiet beginning minutes, the sound is fuller, and the use of melodic vocals both enriches the atmosphere and adds to the build. The song is basically divided into three parts – an initial opening quiet stretch until about 2:45, louder riffing over which screams/growls are introduced until about eight minutes in, and then a cello-topped outro for the last 90 seconds – but though shEver have shown little concern for the trappings of verses and choruses throughout Rituals, “Souls Colliding” leaves a stark impression with its linear movement. Not quite engaging, but impressive anyway for its lack of capitulation and for how well it leads into the more straightforward “(You are) the Mirror,” which features more well-used clean vocals and a tortured riff that would be positively agonizing if there were anything positive about it at all. They push the track into extreme metal in the second half, punishing growls and screams joining together for an abrasive onslaught driven by more double-kick drums and a faster rhythm, and if closer “Tha He Na Te” brings anything new to Rituals while also being its final statement, it’s a palpable tension throughout its nine-plus minutes that finally gets paid off nearly eight minutes into the song. Prior to that, “Tha He Na Te” is stomach-churning, but shEver do are long since acquainted with that which discomforts their audience by now. The closer never really explodes as it otherwise might – thanks in part to the low drums, which would really be what drives that change – but Rituals ends satisfyingly nonetheless with incantations of the title line from Alexandraand an unraveling of the instruments behind her. Ultimately, there’s not much about shEver’s sophomore album that’s groundbreaking, but for residing in a genre, the band also feels comfortable moving from one side of it to another, and the interspersed clean and harsh vocals do an excellent job of keeping the songs from seeming redundant, which they might otherwise, moving between similar stretches of quiet and loud.Rituals won’t be for everyone, but good doom never has been.

shEver, Rituals: The Doom of Exclusion

Temple Of Perdition about “Rituals”

After a 1st full-length in 2007 + an ep in 2010 (both autoproduced), ‘rituals” the sophomore album
of shEver finally just came out through Total Rust rds – one year after its recording…
Existing for about 8 years, the musical style of this (all-female) quatuor from Switzerland has
consistently matured over the years; this is certainly not just related to their developped musical
abilities but from a rather basic Funeral Doom/Death at their beginnings, they have nicely gone
through something thicker with more atmospheres and variations.
Sure the pace is still very slow, extremely heavy and despaired , plus songs are long, but I now hear
more basis taken in Trad’ Doom (“you’re the mirror” especially) or eventually Sludge than anything
obvious dealing with Doom Death Metal à la Mythic (often cited previously, which was an easy
comparison considering the type of line-up but not really exact otherwise) or MDB and shit that’s
cool !!!
While the sludgy bass is maybe more omnipresent and crushing (“ritual of chaos” and “je suis née”)
and guitars sound more piercing (“souls collinding”), the overall is definitely more menacing at the
same time, not just by the scary vocals of Alexandra which are reaching excellence when turning
agonizing like on “ritual of chaos”(it’s impressive how she seems to be strangled here… brrr !) but
also by solemn, colder atmospheres which erased a great part of the monolithic aspects from
previous stuff, for something still heady but fairly rich and soaring.
I’m really not sure that the label Death/Doom is still appropriated to the band, no offense to anyone
but this style is pretty outdated for many people (including me), while the music of shEver is NOT
outdated at all and is far more catchy than what this generally implies… If there’s some bands to
think about when listening those doomed ladies then Thorr’s Hammer, Grief, St Vitus,Neurosis and
Wooden Stake (for the creepy vocals and witchy moods) should give you a better picture of how
amazing this band sounds…
shEver is a DOOM band, eying more or less seriously on some of its related genres that’s a fact but in
the structures and moods they are DOOM to my ears ! so forget all the boring cliches you could
read or hear about them and give them all the attention they deserve …
Posted by STEPH LS

http://templeofperdition.blogspot.ch/2012/06/rituals-by-shever-one-of-heaviest.html

TeethOfTheDivine about “Rituals”

Lurking somewhere between the doom stylings of It Will Come and the sludgy hues of Mares of
Thrace, Swiss all female act shEver released their second full-length album, Rituals, earlier this year
and it instantly gives a shot in the arm to all female bands, breaking away from the current trend of
smoky voiced ‘vest metal’. Heavy, beautiful and fully capable of going toe to toe with their male
counterparts (even vocally). Rituals is an album full of moody, murky, churning sludgy doom that
never tries to conform its femininity, and just focuses on the music.
At the forefront of the band is vocalist Alexandra who growls and screams with the best of ‘em, while
guitarist Jessica occasionally provides some understated, clean but mournful backing vocals (used
most effectively in “(You Are) The Mirror”). The music is a monotone, hazy doom/sludge that whines
and rumbles with the odd hypnotic sway here and there. It’s all very steady and precise with a mostly
consistent pace throughout, as the album starts with standout opener “Ritual of Chaos”, and rarely
deviates from the course through languid closer “Tha He Na Te”. All of the 6 songs are pretty long
ranging from 7 to 9 minutes and with the earthy guitar tone and pacing, it all creates a rusty, somber
atmosphere with the steady, podding dirges.
The album’s middle track, “Je Suis Nee” is another of the album’s better tracks, though the album is
pretty consistent throughout. There’s no real interludes (though some haunting acoustics and singing
are sometimes used to start a song, such as the eerie, violin laden “Souls Colliding”) or peak or
climaxes just this deliberate, steady rumble and lope. And while that results in none of the tracks
truly clinging into your memory, taken as whole, Rituals‘ dense, but haunting sounds will leave you a
little more gloomy after a few listens. It’s perfect fall/winter music, in part why I’m reviewing this
several months after its May release.
Rituals offsets the weird Botanist release and shows that Total Rust music still does have a knack for
uncovering some cool and unique doom bands. ShEver is one of them.

Written by E. Thomas

shEver – Rituals

Stormbringer.at about “Rituals”

29. Oktober 2012
Hinter dem schlichten Albumtitel „Rituals“ verbirgt sich die Formation SHEVER, welche ihre Musik
gerne als Witch-Doom betitelt. Seit der Bandgründung im Jahr 2004 können die Schweizer neben
Tourneen mit namhaften Bands wie AHAB auch einen Auftritt am legendären Roadburn-Festival
vorweisen. Neben dem kraftvollen Debüt „Ocean Of Illusions“ (2007) und der EP „A Dialogue With
The Dimensions“ (2009) stellt das vorliegende Album einen weiteren Meilenstein am Wegesrand der
jungen Bandgeschichte dar.
Am knisternden Lagerfeuer wird mit „Ritual Of Chaos“ das doomige Zeremoniell eröffnet. Langsam,
gemächlich und fast unbewusst baut der Longplayer eine geradlinige und unzerstörbare Härte auf,
welcher schließlich durch den drückenden Bass und die schweren Vocals Ausdruck verliehen wird.
Keiner der sechs Songs unterschreitet dabei eine geradezu magische Sieben-Minuten-Grenze, aber
diese Zeit braucht es auch um den erst allmählichen Songaufbau gehaltvoll zu vollziehen. Folglich
wirkt bei SHEVER kein Tempowechsel überstürzt, kein Chorus voreilig und Hektik wird ohnehin nur
sehr behutsam als wirkungsvolles Stilelement eingesetzt. In „Delirio“ reihen sich beispielsweise
zurückhaltende Passagen neben brachiale Stimmausbrüche. Die rhythmische Gleichmäßigkeit ist
dabei einerseits nachdenklich und meditativ, wird aber an den richtigen Stellen durchbrochen, um
Aufmerksamkeit zu generieren.
Inhaltlich erzählen die Musikerinnen eher minimalistisch vom Schmerz der Einsamkeit und der
Notwendigkeit des Chaos. Textlich hingegen machen sie Riesensprünge zwischen Englisch,
Französisch („Je suis nee“), Portugiesisch („Delirio“) und non-verbalem Ausdruck („Tha he na te“).
Trotz der Langatmigkeit des düsteren Sounds wirkt „Rituals“ weder überladen noch zäh, sondern
überzeugt durch eben diesen heillosen Mix aus Besinnlichkeit und innerer Wut.
Seitdem unlängst Basstin Nadine ihren Ausstieg bekannt gegeben hat, geht die Combo zwar nicht
mehr als All-Female-Projekt durch, für 2013 darf man aber trotzdem auf eine Split- EP mit den
befreundeten SPANCER (D) und einem gewissen Chris am Tieftöner gespannt sein.

http://www.stormbringer.at/reviews.php?id=8811

Stereoinvaders.com about “Rituals”

Voto
7,5
Scritta da Alessandro “Jena” Gionta
Devo essere sincero: quando ho letto di quattro ragazze che suonano doom-death, ho storto non
poco il naso. Purtroppo su alcune questioni ho dei pregiudizi, perchè così come i ragazzi hanno una
certa attitudine a giocare a calcio e a suonare metal estremo, così le ragazze hanno questa attitudine
per la danza e per il canto “dolce”. Non è sempre così per fortuna, altrimenti non sarei qui a elogiare
l’ottimo lavoro svolto da Nadine, Jessica, Alexandra e Sarah (shEver) con “Rituals”. Dunque queste
signorine cosa ci propongono? Niente meno di un buonissimo doom-death con una spruzzata di black
metal qua e là che ha fatto presa sul sottoscritto. Prodotto sotto la label Totalrust Music, “Rituals” ha
esattamente tutto ciò che un fan esige dal doom-death, genere sperimentato e partorito dalle geniali
menti di Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride e Anathema nei primi anni novanta: riff pesanti e monolitici,
tempi lenti ed ossessivi, aperture arpeggiate e malinconiche, cantato in growl e in screaming
padroneggiato in modo esemplare da un’ispiratissima Alexandra, intervallanto da qualche mistico
sussurro. “Rituals” presenta sei brani con queste caratteristiche per una lunghezza media di otto
minuti a brano, in perfetta sintonia sia con il genere che suonano sia con le loro muse ispiratrici. Da
notare che oltre ai classici testi in inglese di “Ritual Of Chaos”, a mio avviso la migliore delle sei
insieme a “(You Are) The Mirror”, il quartetto femminile ci presenta due ottimi brani, uno in spagnolo
(“Delirio”) e uno in francese (“Je Suis Nee”). La chiusura spetta alla spettrale “Tha He Na Te”. Tutto il
complesso, compreso l’artwork, è splendidamente avvolto da un’oscura e maligna atmosfera, che
tocca le vette più alte quando entra da protagonista la demoniaca voce di Alexandra. “Rituals” è la
parola chiave di questo disco, poichè in ogni traccia c’è sempre spazio per una sorta di ‘chorus rituale’
che impreziosisce ogni brano di un certo misticismo. ‘shEver’ è un progetto da prendere seriamente

http://www.stereoinvaders.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7706:
shever-rituals&catid=1:cd&Itemid=16

SeaOfTranquility.org about “Rituals”

Shever, or shEver, hails from Switzerland – the homeland of the metal legends Celtic Frost – and they
represent the genre of doom metal. Rituals is Shever’s second full-length, and, on this album, the allfemale
doom quartet explore the bleak, yet groovy, universe of sludge doom.
What characterizes this album is primarily a bleak minimalism which is engendered in the form of
simple heavy drum beats and guitar figures which are mesmerizingly simple, yet very powerful. This
minimalism is especially prevalent in tracks like ‘Delirio’ and ‘Je Suis Née’, the former of which
features a strangely aggressive and simple coda which is repeated considerably many times, while
the latter builds on a number of crushingly heavy and groovy, but simple and bleak, doom-laden riffs.
Amidst the bleakness, warm and almost pleasant guitar leads pop up, as in the case of one of the
passages in ‘Delirio’. Indeed, almost everything about this album is cold – even the clean-guitarred
intros of ‘Ritual of Chaos’ and ‘Souls Colliding’ send chills of despair down the spine of the listener.
And, of course, the more classic doom metal oriented riffage in ‘(You Are) The Mirror’ capture all that
is good about doom metal.
The production has almost the same sort of steel cold bleakness to it as Darkthrone’s golden age
releases, probably because of the use of reverb with the guitars. Interestingly, however, Shever’s
bass actually has a warm sound to it, which provides a nice and heavy bottom which, in my opinion,
is perhaps one of the most important aspects of Shever’s sound on this album.
While emphasizing minimalism, Shever are by no means poor musicians. In fact, their ability to really
build up songs and gradually increase the intensity, as in the massive ‘Souls Colliding’ reflects their
instinct for writing compelling, yet scary, doom metal. The vocals are primarily harsh, but at times
the growls and screams are supplemented with an almost introspect 70s psychedelic rock type of
singing which, needless to say, suits the atmosphere of the heavy and doom-laden, repetitive music
on this album.
In the more sludgy and deliberately unpleasant end of the doom metal spectrum, Shever’s Rituals is
not for everyone. But, if you like your doom metal bleak and truly doom-laden, then chances are that
you will really enjoy this album – especially, the three last tracks are no less than phenomenal.
Added: December 1st 2012
Reviewer: Kim Jensen
Score: 5

http://www.seaoftranquility.org/reviews.php?op=showcontent&id=13766

Schwermetall.de about “Rituals”

Stil: Doom
Label: Totalrust Music
Punkte: 12/13
Spielzeit: 49:55
Frauen sind ja nun als aktive Musiker äusserst rar gesät, zwar entdeckt man in der Doom-Szene öfter
das weibliche Geschlecht als Instrumentalisten, trotzdem war ich überrascht nun eine reine Female-
Doom Band entdeckt zu haben.
“Rituals” ist also die zweite Platte des schweizerischen Hexen-Quartetts, mit einer Spielzeit von
knapp 50 Minuten. ShEver beweisen damit auf jeden Fall, dass sie es verdient haben aufgrund ihrer
Musik positiv erwähnt zu werden.
Es beginnt schon mit einem äusserst atmosphärischen Intro, welches recht einfach komponiert ist,
den Hörer aber in den tiefen Sumpf der schwerfälligen Passage führt, die im Anschluss folgt. Das, was
den Doom eben auszeichnet. Auf seiner Reise durchs Album begegnet man neben den eben
erwähnten schwerfälligen Passagen ebenfalls rhythmischen Riffs die sofort die Nackenmuskeln
ansprechen. Ebenso dringt eine Ausgewogenheit an klarem und verzerrten Gesang, sowie die Klänge
einer Violine in den Gehörgang.
Zuletzt bleibt zu erwähnen, dass die Aufnahme der sechs Stücke die Erwartungen erfüllt, die für eine
solche Scheibe angemessen sind. Leider ist die Website der Band momentan im Umbau, ich
persönlich würde mich freuen, wenn ShEver mich demnächst auf einer Tour in Deutschland auch live
überzeugen können!

Sascha Bose „Iwalt“ / Schwermetall.ch

http://www.schwermetall.ch/cdkritiken/kritik4046.php

RockBox about “Rituals”

Arriving some three years after their self-released A Dialogue with the Dimensions EP, the second
shEver full-length, Rituals, lives up to its name. It doesn’t feel out of line to assume the band’s name
is a play on the word “shiver” meant to emphasize that all four members of the Swiss outfit are
women, with the odd-capitalization in their logo making the point even clearer, but more interesting
to me than their gender is the scope of doom and darkened sludge shEver cover. The first-name-only
lineup of drummer Sarah, vocalist Alexandra, bassist/violinist/backing vocalist Nadine and
guitarist/backing vocalist Jessica wind their way through a bleak and often dirge-minded atmosphere,
but there are looks in the direction of ‘90s-style doom that show up in tracks like “Delirio” to change
up the approach, and screams intermingle with cleaner vocals in ambient parts while the band reels
before unleashing their next assault. Rituals, which is released through TotalRust Music, is thoroughly
doomed despite any variations/deviations that occur in style. Riffs lead the way almost exclusively,
backed by Nadine’s thick bass and punctuated by the crash of Sarah’s lowly-mixed cymbals. The
album is under-produced. Those cymbals are part of it, but I have a hard time imagining both the
bass and drums don’t also come across thicker live, and that Alexandra’s screams, which sound
muted here as “Je Suis Née” reaches its nonetheless punishing apex, aren’t fuller in another setting.
Still, the rawness helps quitter stretches feel all the more dismal, and for the parts of Rituals where
shEver are more directly sludge in their approach, it makes it that much nastier. The six extended
tracks of the 50-minute offering are more consistent as well with that line drawn between them.
In case you were wondering exactly what kind of Rituals the band was thinking of when titling the
album, opener “Ritual of Chaos” makes it plain, with malevolent whispers and quiet creepy parts
trading off with screams, growls and clean backing vocals all at once. It may be that the band is
throwing everything out there at once, but if so, it’s effective in conveying the breadth of the album
overall. There are few surprises in store afterwards, but the fullness of the atmosphere that “Ritual of
Chaos” constructs is affirmed in the other tracks, which are doomed enough to make early Paradise
Lost blush and righteous in their heaviness despite whatever already-noted production issues persist.
Before the opener is through, shEver have moved from ambient guitars to double-kick drumming,
and done so smoothly while also challenging the listener to follow them. A major strength of Rituals
is its challenging side, and “Delirio” – which also tops eight minutes – works quickly to enhance it
with death growls and vicious higher-pitched screams atop a lumbering riff that persists loud for the
first minute before moving into a more ambient incarnation of the same progression; an effective
loud/quiet tradeoff and not the last to come. “Delirio” gradually rebuilds its crash and subsides again,
once more hitting a satisfying peak as the song comes to a close, Jessica changing up the guitar to
subtly add a shot of adrenaline. The following “Je Suis Née” is the shortest track on Rituals at 7:17
and dedicated largely to interpretations built around one riff and one tempo. Needless to say, its
plod is substantial as a result, and though by now they’ve well established their pastiche, shEver
move into probably their sludgiest territory yet – that riff is a beast and Alexandra’s screams are the
stuff of damaged vocal cords. As with a lot of sludge, they run into trouble winding the track down,
but when in doubt, drop everything else out and let the guitar ring out into a fade. Works like a
charm.
shEver – rituals
Rock Box
url:
http://psychocydd.co.uk/details.php?id=9e6aad5870cd0204f41403ef2f63b7a14a8cd842
“Souls Colliding” is perhaps the most satisfying blend of ambience and crushingness shEver have on
offer with their second album. Even in its quiet beginning minutes, the sound is fuller, and the use of
melodic vocals both enriches the atmosphere and adds to the build. The song is basically divided into
three parts – an initial opening quiet stretch until about 2:45, louder riffing over which
screams/growls are introduced until about eight minutes in, and then a cello-topped outro for the
last 90 seconds – but though shEver have shown little concern for the trappings of verses and
choruses throughout Rituals, “Souls Colliding” leaves a stark impression with its linear movement.
Not quite engaging, but impressive anyway for its lack of capitulation and for how well it leads into
the more straightforward “(You are) the Mirror,” which features more well-used clean vocals and a
tortured riff that would be positively agonizing if there were anything positive about it at all. They
push the track into extreme metal in the second half, punishing growls and screams joining together
for an abrasive onslaught driven by more double-kick drums and a faster rhythm, and if closer “Tha
He Na Te” brings anything new to Rituals while also being its final statement, it’s a palpable tension
throughout its nine-plus minutes that finally gets paid off nearly eight minutes into the song.
Prior to that, “Tha He Na Te” is stomach-churning, but shEver do are long since acquainted with that
which discomforts their audience by now. The closer never really explodes as it otherwise might –
thanks in part to the low drums, which would really be what drives that change – but Rituals ends
satisfyingly nonetheless with incantations of the title line from Alexandra and an unraveling of the
instruments behind her. Ultimately, there’s not much about shEver’s sophomore album that’s
groundbreaking, but for residing in a genre, the band also feels comfortable moving from one side of
it to another, and the interspersed clean and harsh vocals do an excellent job of keeping the songs
from seeming redundant, which they might otherwise, moving between similar stretches of quiet
and loud. Rituals won’t be for everyone, but good doom never has been.

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