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