Shevils – Lost In Tartarus by Lee Carter

Rating: 3.5/5
Released: 2013
Buy Album: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Lost-In-Tartarus-Explicit-Shevils/dp/B00G39HDWK
Band Website: http://shevils.com/
Shevils - Lost In Tartarus

Band line-up:

Anders Voldrønning – Vocals
Christoffer Gaarder – Guitar
Andreas Myrvold – Guitar, Bass
Marcus Forsgren – Studio Bass
Anders Emil Rønning – Drums.

Track Listing:

1. Is This Where We Are At?
2. Black Eyes
3. Timelines
4. Sorely Fucking Provoked
5. These Walls Are Coming Down
6. We Walk On Shattered Glass
7. State Of Regret
8. Blizzard Beach
9. Destroy All Villains
10. Young & Restless

Review:

Norway-natives SHEVILS’ sophomore release “Lost In Tartarus” presents a rather delightful quirk to a genre more associated with an unrelenting and ferocious attack. When you think of hardcore, bands such as SICK OF IT ALL, EVERY TIME I DIE and HATEBREED, spring to mind the vicious, skin-ripping aural-assault that is hardcore’s hallmarks but SHEVILS add a degree of danceability to proceedings. Odd? Certainly. Does it work? Definitely.

The diluting down to the rhythmical fundamental of hardcore seems tantamount to the success of this addition – the chunky, staccato riffs employed here meld a delightful heaviness to an upbeat and kinetic sensibility. It also implores the listener to get up and move – be that pulling some shapes or moshing around the show. Either way is acceptable. That’s not to say that this is something akin to pop-punk as the unending screech of Voldrønning atop rhythmic turbulence gives way to a raucous spectacle.

Album openers “Is This Where We Are At?”, “Black Eyes” and “Timelines” all bring forth an upbeat and energetic feel which begs for appreciation in motion (see earlier suggestions for ideas). But it is at the album’s fourth track “Sorely Fucking Provoked” where the album takes a slight darker feel – not quite to the bleakness of more extreme genres of metal but a noticeable down-turn. Cuts like “These Walls Are Coming Down” and “Destroy All Villains”, whilst still maintaining an up-tempo/energetic structure, weave a slightly more obsidian note into their craft.

It is in these latter songs where the album’s raw production comes into its own. Whilst not a garage-recording, there is a roughness around the edges that lends itself to enhancing the darker turn the album takes. The guitars have a dirty/gritty-quality to them, as does the bass, and they work wonderfully well within the confines of the album. Both the drums and vocals have a clean production (the drums sound nice and live) and the mixed is relatively well-balance. Having said that, the drums do suffer from small mix issues occasionally and mainly centre around a few cymbals and the kick – they are sometimes barely audible.

Case-in-point regarding the kick is when punctuating riffs; done well and it adds a huge amount of weight to the track, resulting in a heavier and more rhythmical piece as in “We Walk On Shattered Glass”, but there are other tracks where it seems lacking and the weight is lost i.e. “Blizzard Beach”.

Whilst the marriage of the upbeat, danceable rhythms to the intense punk rage works, the general formula for some can become a little too predictable. There are no change in dynamics throughout each track. Apart from “Destroy All Villains” where there is a little dynamic change, each track either starts quietly with drums and bass before launching into the full-on onslaught, or begins immediately. Whichever it is, neither lets up for a break. One could argue that this unflagging barrage of hardcore fury is par-for-the-course, which is both understandable and common-place but it would be offer a great turn-of-pace and added interest if there were some greater consideration to the dynamic content of each track.

Nevertheless, “Lost In Tartarus” is a balanced album and one that fans of hardcore would certainly walk away from with a smile on their face. It is a typical affair but one that has that added danceability which almost adds a degree of fun to the record – not quite so typical! The predictability is a slight hindrance and the lack of dynamics does diminish the impact this record could have, but aside from that it does the job competently and there are some genuinely good, well-structured songs to be heard. For those that like to hardcore dance (whatever that includes for you), then SHEVILS’ latest is worth a spin.

Review by Lee Carter
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