Distributor/label URL: http://www.duplicate-records.com
Buy Album [URL]: https://shakma.bandcamp.com/album/house-of-possession
Band Website: https://www.facebook.com/shakmanorway/
M. Runic – Lead guitar, vocals.
A. Runic – Drums
L. Udjus – Rhythm guitar
S. Golden – Bass
1. Blood Ritual
2. The Mummy’s Curse
3. Spectres of Death
4. Deadly Spawn
5. Midnight Mass
6. House of Possession
7. Ruthless Defiler
8. Knife of the Prowler
9. Into the Fiery Death
10. Night of the Coven
Shakma are a Norwegian thrash metal foursome, formed in 2014 and Duplicate Records will be releasing their debut album ‘House Of Possession’ on February 2018. The band recorded their premier demo ‘Night Of The Coven in September 2016, luckily just in time for the first local underground festival ‘Heavy Nights’. There, around 30 home-dubbed tapes were given away to a fortunate small group. The band spent the majority of last year composing and recording their debut, and they also played their first two concerts with ‘Sepulcher’ on the west coast. Since then, they’ve also supported Swedish thrash metal act ‘Insane’. The band’s lyrical themes draw inspiration from 80s horror B-movies and their music is based on the thrash of the same era.
It isn’t so much complexity that make this album so much fun, it’s the little things that are sped up. The crazed variations from the percussion, such as simple yet strangely appealing snare and tom fills are very well done. The changing of textures and the way the different instruments interact with each other at different pitches are also good, and so is the way everything sounds so raw and natural. Even so, the interplay could have been taken much further, as it would be nice to hear the whole range of the instruments, for maximum effect. A great opportunity has been missed. Some of the best ideas were when the bass and guitars play two different things. Even just typical low root note ideas against the higher up, wild and free strings have a curiously pleasing effect, and the occasional Slayer style harmonies are nice and dark, without ripping the band off.
Sadly, however, there is a little too much unison-heavy stuff going on with the whole ensemble. Guitar trill ideas also get tiresome, quickly. In fact, guitar riffs on the whole have a tendency to sound rather samey. In the album there are a range of tempos, from super fast thrash and to a lesser extent, mid tempo doom metal. This helps increase the variety of hooks, but what are really needed are more scale, harmony and rhythm variations. Furthermore, guitar solos are borderline amateurish and add little to the sound. It’s not as if there are any wrong notes, but the all important tone isn’t so great and therefore just isn’t satisfying. Think early Venom.
The drummer on the other hand plays his classic double time beats with just the right groove. They’re not exactly prog metal level, but they are just as effective in being right for the music. It’s his constant aggression that gets the listener going, along with the furious vocals. They are shouted, but not exactly grunted so they’re not quite death metal styled. Instead, they kind of bridge the gap between the two genres. (Think early Kreator). However, to sum up, all of that classic excitement isn’t enough to make up for the lack of variety in the album. Yes, that again; it’s a biggie. If you like old school extreme metal you will love at least parts of this album, but don’t expect the feeling to last the whole of the CD’s duration.
Review by Simon Wiedemann