Photo by Jørn Veberg
With a couple of singles in as many recent months setting the scene and platform for their new album, Norwegian band Shevils now unleash The White Sea, in turn confirming themselves as one of Europe’s finest hardcore incitements. It is a ten track sonic roar of hardcore aggression and noise rock imagination, easily Oslo hailing Shevils at their most addictively inventive and punishingly ferocious.
Since coming across Shevils through their single Is This To be (Our Lives)? in 2011, the year the band also formed, they have been a perpetual adventure to anticipate and be impressed by for our and their ever growing number of fan’s ears. Every time thoughts wonder if the band has hit their pinnacle, they have pushed on again, second album Lost In Tartarus a prime example as it took the strong and gripping prowess and sound of its predecessor The Year Of The Fly, and indeed The Necropolis EP before it, both also released in the band’s first year, to new heights of quality and bold adventure. As hinted at by the singles One Thousand Years and Shivers these past few weeks, they have done it again, their third full-length The White Sea digging deeper into bold craft and invention to move forward again from its 2013 uncaged predecessor.
The core trio of Shevils, vocalist Anders Voldrønning, guitarist Andreas Andre Myrvold, and drummer Anders Emil Rønning have created a twisted and angry beast in The White Sea, its nature and intensity echoing the social and political turmoil its lyrics seed their invention and fury from. With some of the songs also co-written by former member Christoffer Gaarder, the album is a voracious tempest of sound and emotion which at times becomes a writhing flirtatiously contagious predator and in other moments is an erosive sonic tempest of intensity and ire. From start to finish though, it is a gripping and ravenously compelling adventure which in one way or another exhausts and deeply pleasures in equal measure.
Produced by Marcus Forsgren, The White Sea stirs into rich life with I Wear The Skies, the opener coaxing with one, two, subsequently three and four layers of rich enticement once choppy riffs lure more spikily nagging hooks, keenly jabbing beats, and finally a groove thick bass tempting, it all uniting in an explosion of noise and impassioned vocal fire. Early hooks continue to lay down their addictiveness as the song grows, expanding their bait throughout as the short but glorious track boils to an anthemically ferocious close.
The outstanding start continues with We Could Leave The World, the bass of producer Forsgren almost skipping in its throatily pulsating prowl as again guitars stir up air with their sonic teeth posing as riffs. Band vocals roar and squall around the ever enticing lead tones of Voldrønning whilst the sweeping swipes of Rønning steer things into greater virulence, a contagion perpetually stretched and shaped by the craft and enterprise of Myrvold. Managing to eclipse the previous track, it only leads to another instant pinnacle within the album, a lofty peak going by the name of One Thousand Years. The earlier mentioned single bounds in on an inescapable rhythmic enticing, its enslaving hold matched by the grouchy blaze of guitar and vocals as well as the enjoyably predatory bassline. Sonic causticity and vocal rousing continue to collide and collude within the outstanding track; three proposals in and already The White Sea is emerging as one of 2015’s essential violating puppeteers on body and imagination.
The Death Of Silence has thick bait tempting ears from its first breath, a stroking of baritone guitar swift seduction quickly aided by a just as dark bass intimidation. Voldrønning’s mix of sandy and inflamed deliveries soon hold the reins of the song, especially as it evolves into a less imposing but similarly intensive affair with guitars melodically exploring and harmonies flaming in the surroundings of the abrasively catchy encounter. As with any Shevils track there is also an underlying drama in expression and imagination, here it boldly seeding a percussive shuffle and infectious swing helping to forge one invigorating incitement.
A rawer and more corrosive atmosphere floods Black Summer next, its textures matching the air as its hardcore heart pours passion and physical ferocity down the veins of the spiralling guitar enterprise. The track is a thickly layered and delivered protagonist, a consuming smog of sound which again has satisfaction full though it is instantly overshadowed by Shivers. As natural as breathing, guitars and bass spin a web of addictive hooks as beats slowly but forcibly batter the senses. It is a punk inferno pulsating with the band’s mighty roars and sonic ingenuity, and breeding anthemic toxicity which has limbs and voice enlisted in short time, moving on to twist and manipulate the imagination and psyche with every spin of its carnivorous inventiveness and rabid energy.
Both the vindictively prowling Wordsmiths and the transfixing Fireflies keeps release and emotions aflame, the first another defiance driven hardcore/punk antagonism as infectious as it is physically scarring. Its successor soon lives up to its name, guitars breeding glowing melodies which sonically flit across the evocative canvas of the song. Once more rhythmic imagination is as potent as dynamic tendrils of sound, uniting in an engrossing and wonderfully demanding onslaught, though a searing tapestry outweighed in spite by the hellacious When Will I See You Again?, a brutal assault tempered by catchy adventure in songwriting and individual craft.
It tempestuous tsunami is emulated by the album’s closing title track, The White Sea even more erosive and smothering as its sonic density and raging emotions devour and ignite the senses. It is the least welcoming track on the album, but no slouch in potent lures with haunting keys creeping through ears in the shadows of the crawling storm whilst a catchiness of sorts seeps into every volatile intent and trespass of riffs and scything beats.
It is a thoroughly exhausting end to the album, the band at its most creative and exploratory whilst freeing every ounce of their emotion and dark depths in a startling oppressive temptation. As their second album leapt on from the first, so The White Sea does again. It might not be as big a step on the surface in some ways but it is their most inventive one making Shevils one of the big excitements in noise invention. Like a hybrid of Cancer Bats, Refused, Sofy Major, and Melvins, this a band ready to stand aside such names whilst scarring your senses.
The White Sea will be self-released on 6th November.
Pete RingMaster 03/11/2015
Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright
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