Shevils – The White Sea
Armed with a sharp guitar tone, clanging metallic riffs, buzzing bass lines and propulsive rhythms, Norway’s Shevils succeed in crafting a truly rambunctious album with The White Sea. At the core of Shevils‘ sound beats a driving post-hardcore heart that never ceases to pump aggression throughout its veins. On its outer shell, the band’s sound subtly takes pages from mathcore and noise rock and melds them all into one explosive package. Spearheading these frenzied compositions is vocalist Anders Voldrønning, whose angst-ridden yells will remind one of Refused’s Dennis Lyxzén. The follow-up to 2013’s Lost in Tartarus begins with galloping harmonics on “I Wear the Skies”. The short track explodes into tremolo picked chord assaults draped in layers of atmospheric guitar leads that walk hand-in-hand with barreling bass and bombastic drumming towards its apocalyptic end. Jarring, rhythmic bursts of brittle chords elicit furious headbanging on “We Could Leave the World”, while twitching, grunge-fueled riffs bring blood on the catchy yet punishing “One Thousand Years”. As the album progresses, the Norwegian punks subtly begin to experiment with other styles. Straightforward, acidic hardcore rears its ugly head on the unyielding “Shivers”. Towering chords march beneath a cloud of shimmering leads and effects in a parody of hard rock on “Black Summer”. “Fireflies” and “Wordsmiths” showcase the band at their most chaotic, what with their atonal riffs, affinity for dissonance and corrosive breakdowns. Shevils succeed in experimenting with different sounds and styles without losing their identity in the process. The White Sea is their most varied and most solid release to date and only points towards even greater things in the future.
Graben – Graben
Following a three-track demo released in 2014, Graben return with their blistering, straight to the point full-length debut. Hailing from Cologne, Germany, these noise makers combine d-beat, crust, death metal and a Boss HM-2 distortion pedal into an unhealthy concoction that Southern Lord Records faithfuls will be enamored with. In just 32 minutes, Graben pull out all the stops to make sure the listener leaves with a decent amount of bruises and scars. Blackened, metallic guitars collide head-on with tumultuous drumming and scathing vocals throughout this debut. The guitars conjure pummeling, crusty chord progressions that covered in grime and filth. These chords usually morph into tremolo picked, gore-soaked death metal riffs dedicated to sending listeners to their graves. Slower, sludge-ridden beasts (Graben #1) and groove-laden death and roll (“Schuld”) also crawl out of the murk to provide some much needed crushing moments. But other than a Gothic-tinged, piano-lead instrumental (“Unheil”), Graben play it rather safe on this record. It doesn’t stray far from the path that their contemporaries, such as Baptists, Trap Them and Black Breath, had laid out before them. It’s a solid record for its style, but Graben could benefit more from writing outside the box.