Shitshifter’s sound is a blizzard of raw emotion, vicious intensity, and a rage as primal as the dirt at the centre of the earth. It also breeds a bewilderingly contagious energy and incitement aligned to persistently fascinating and unpredictable imagination. It is devastating aural liquor that ensures the German band’s album Intruders is one hellacious and invigorating proposal. This is a release and artist which certainly is not for the faint-hearted or for those needing a safety net with their music. For all who have an appetite to bleed from the ears, delve into toxic emotions, and go places which the Geneva Convention would like to cover if it could, Intruders has the attributes to be a punishing revelation.
It maybe should be no surprise that Intruders is as vicious and compelling as it is with its founders other projects including I Am the Bayonet, Hungry Lungs, Twinesuns, and Nvrvd; bands which have offered plenty of brutally creative treats, the last two in very recent times. The trio of drummer Tobias, bassist/vocalist Stefan, and guitarist Christian, formed Bielefeld based Shitshifter in 2012, fusing the fiercest, most inhospitable strains of death and sludge metal with hardcore viciousness bred on raw crust/d-beat causticity. It is a mix which is unafraid to dip into varied flavours and inventive detours at times, but primarily is cultured to corrupt the soul with pestilential enterprise whilst lyrically tearing into religion.
Worth It and invasive smog of sonic confrontation is the album’s first touch, this soon joined by heavy footed, predatory rhythms alongside the rasping venom of Stefan’s vocals. From here on in, music and voice spew toxicity with every note and throat searing squall, never relenting even as the carnivorous and scarring tones of bass pace sludgy tendrils of guitar, their union creating a barbarously addictive swagger as the senses are scorched by the tempest of intensity and sound. The track’s gripping qualities continue with Kings And Queens, the second song evolving from the final sonic intrusion of its predecessor into just over a minute of even more corrosive and gripping enmity. There is no mercy given or wanted as guitars vein the track like lava and rhythms somehow craft an anthemic nature to the mass onslaught.
Again one scourge of sound and invention slips into another as The Demagogue takes over, the track almost skipping into ears and psyche before unleashing a cancerous cacophony of sound and intent equally as barbaric and skilfully addictive as offered as the last song, though with again no breath allowed between, it gets outgunned and shone by its successor. Far From Eye, Far From Heart stalks air and listener with a rapacious glint in its creative eye and a doom pungent atmosphere which grudgingly drips onto a melancholy soaked canvas. The harrowing but elegant landscape has its own moment to provoke and inspire the imagination too as the hordes of sonic hostility holds back for a passage of haunting calm before they converge on ears again with arguably more restraint but greater threat.
For once there is a break, a couple of seconds of nothing between songs before the outstanding Loyal Dog brings its predation into view with a punk inspired prowl and cold post punk toning to the melodies dripping from the guitar of Christian. Stefan’s bass is simply carnal in tone and touch, tempering the chilling but inviting embrace initially offered though by half way that too is spilling rancor and insatiable ferocity. The track epitomises the Shitshifter sound, its merciless intensity and creative gall but also the always present adventure of invention and styles woven into the excruciating storms if they are at times overwhelmed by the fury.
Igod is another minute plus tirade of sound and ire, and another violation easy to get addicted to whilst Nothing In Common in similar form and barbarity just pummels existing wounds with its metal framed emotional bedlam and bitter hardcore contempt. The pair forcibly light ears and appetite before the closing ShitShepherd ensures the union of band and listener ends with a lingering trespass physically and emotionally, and arguably the album’s pinnacle, though many tracks have a case to claim that.
Song and album just hit and violate the sweet spot, though obviously Intruders or Shitshifter will not be for everyone, with you can imagine many barely lasting a couple of minutes of torment, but if filth infested hardcore/death metal crossovers or indeed the band’s other projects, though openly different, are for you, then bliss could be in the volatile air.
The self-released Intruders is out now.