posted on 11/2012 By:
I aimed to start a review on Halloween and was feeling kinda cheesy, so I decided to scan my ‘Recent Adds’ playlist for anything with “witch” involved. Since Witchcraft is already reserved for review here, my eyes quickly scanned over to shEver’s genre tag: witch doom. It’s funny — for all the years you spend covering heavy music, every so often a band throws you a curveball like that.
Although shEver provides sweet estrogen-fueled doom with a vicious edge, striking a strange balance between the wide-eyed depravity of Monarch! and the heavy-lidded dreaminess of Ides of Gemini. One direction is typically favored over another, but the hybrid is positively nailed on tracks like “(You Are) The Mirror”, where frontwoman Alexandra repeats “The world’s reflecting in your eyes” as guitarist Jessica and [now former] bassist Nadine weave a dense tapestry of deliberate riffs and enthralling three-part harmony.
Despite the band’s Swiss origins, they also sing in Portuguese (“Delirio”) and French (“Je Suis Née”), though mostly intone in English. They shade with not only this multilingual approach, but additional instruments, like Nadine’s violin across the concluding 99 seconds of “Souls Colliding” — fast becoming my favorite during full spins.
The main caveat with music like this is always the same: When do you listen to it? I understand that shEver feeds particular gloomy moods, and this ain’t music for doomsters of all stripes… much less your average metalhead… and much much less than your average dinner guests. But this is fucking artistry, where accessibility and commercial gain are anomalous.
I still wish more of these tunes stuck in my head, but the ones that do keep me in arms-crossed-and-downturned-smiling glee. The ladies implore “Follow us into a witch’s dream / Follow us into the endless green” on opener “Ritual of Chaos”… and perhaps we’re never meant to return, but move ever forward. What frustrates me is the subtle stuff, like how the word ‘chaos’ feels so out-of-place amongst methodically trudging doom metal; shEver doesn’t lurch around, they plod on — with a 7+ minute song length on the low end, no less.
Perhaps most importantly for the future, there just needs to be greater musical dynamics. Their thick, rich reverbed tone envelops every time, often ascending toward magical, mantric heights. But shEver will no sooner caress your face than box your ears, and Alexandra’s growls are the culprit. She has solid pipes for sure, but further exploration and stronger control would benefit the band immensely overall. Swiss doom is rare, and there may yet be room for shEver to hone their own obelisk.
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