Anticipation for the new album from Norwegian hardcore band Shevils has been eager even bordering on rabid for us, especially after the temptation and hinting of impending glory which came with the already released singles from it, We Walk On Shattered Glass and Black Eyes. The songs showed perfectly why the band has bred a fervour clad following for their distinctive and adventurous sound and why Lost In Tartarus could be the trigger to the widest deserved recognition for the Oslo quartet. The ten track fury of invention and passion is a monster of a release, a brutal yet ingeniously sculpted confrontation which equals the heights suggested by the singles and surpasses the promise set by previous releases. The band has an adventure and exploration to their sound which not only sets them apart from most hardcore bands but puts them on the frontline of the genre, the evidence being rife and rampant within Lost In Tartarus.
Shevils first made a richly promising and attention luring entrance with their debut album The Year Of The Fly of 2011, the release coming a year after the band’s formation. It made a strong impression, receiving enthusiastic responses and acclaim, as did the following single Is This To be (Our Lives)? the same year. The foursome of vocalist Anders Voldrønning, guitarists Andreas Myrvold and Christoffer Gaarder, and drummer Anders Emil Rønning (expanding to a sextet live), continued to build their stature and sound through live performances, which has seen them to date play with the likes of Man The Machetes, Social Suicide, Overthrow, Barren Womb and many more, and the excellent Necropolis EP of 2012, that release receiving its uncaging in Indonesia early this year to incredible acclaim and greedy attention. As mentioned the two singles released in 2013 has triggered a hungry appetite for the band’s second album in a great many, all rewarded and more by the sonic riotous alchemy of Lost In Tartarus.
Opener Is This Where We Are At?, as maybe expected barges through the ear from its first breath, riffs and rhythms striking hard whilst squalling vocals from Voldrønning and band bring a causticity which Shevils is so good at making distinct to themselves. The band brings multiple flavours and ideas to their songs, styles which flirt and run amok within the hardcore heart of their songs, and the first easily shows how effective and inventive it is. Grooves and hooks conspire to seduce whilst the energy of the band bruises with unrestrained intensity as an unleashed melodic acidity colours the fury. It is an invigorating and incendiary mix which with a want, maybe need within the band to experiment is irresistible.
Black Eyes is a trap quickly sprung by the passions, its rhythmic swagger and challenge an addictive enslavement and the frame for the antagonistic vocals to launch their tirade upon. The guitars equally lure with virulent scythes of sonic temptation from the off which ignite into a burning fire as the throaty bass prowl and ferocious energy of the band explodes in hot crescendos of attack. The track is an intrusive and unbridled contagion, creating a stunning maelstrom of adventure best described as Coilguns, Kunz, Man The Machetes on a rampage with a lighter punkish feel of Baddies. That description applies to numerous exploits within the album but all tracks are pure Shevils in their potency and ultimate sound.
The heavy bass stroll provided by Marcus Forsgren brings Timelines purposely and pleasingly into focus next, another rich enticement laid as the band combines to stomp and lurch around the ears with another epidemically riveting punk brawl. Offering a persistent stalking, the song ripples with attitude and antagonistic intent musically and vocally whilst the constant growl to the guitar riffs bring a primal intimidation which only reinforces the confident prowl.
Both Sorely Fucking Provoked and These Walls Are Coming Down exploit lustful passions for the album further, the first a rapacious tempest of rhythmic combativeness and sonic pestilence honed into a tantalising yet menacing aggressor, group shouts and energy driving it forcibly home whilst its companion led by a crawling bass examination expands into a ridiculously captivating fascination of spellbinding melodically touched grooves and scathing sonic imagination.
We Walk On Shattered Glass soars to the highest pinnacles of the album next, the song still as scintillating as its first appearance as a single a few months back. Intensive rhythms barrack and massage the ears first, a bass growl their delicious companion to be soon joined by the sonic web of noise from the guitars and the ever impressive vocals. Incredibly hungry in its reserved yet ravaging voraciousness and unstoppably infectious in its maelstrom of ingenuity, the track is a titanic persuasion, easily one of the songs of the year and soon rivalled by State Of Regret. Once again bass and drums ignite the senses and passions to set up the frame for a canvas of vocal scowling and skilfully grooved sonic teasing to play out their intentions, the result another quite hypnotic creative frenzy.
The relatively straight forward hardcore attack of Blizzard Beach, which reminds a little of Irish band Gacys Threads, adds another brief but powerful element to the album whilst the excellent perpetually evolving Destroy All Villains and the closing storm of Young And Restless impressively concludes a quite exhilarating slab of breath-taking invention and adventure. Shevils offers hardcore something new and different and in Lost In Tartarus, an album which just sounds and gets better with each listen, one of the genre’s pinnacles of the year, of hardcore, punk, and extreme rock of any description to be honest.
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