Shezmu – À Travers Les Lambeaux

Rating: 3.5/5
Released: 2020
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Band line-up:

Olivier Bérubé Emond –Vocals and guitars
Marc-André Labonne –Drums
Yannick Tremblay-Simard –Bass


1. À Travers Les Lambeaux
2. Cérémonie Magique pour la Bataille de Megiddo
3. Ode À Hathor
4. Interlude -La Rage
5. Les Secrets des Ziggourats
6. L’Arrivée Des Temps Déchus
7. Lex Talionis


Shezmu are a Canadian death metal band on the French label Krucyator. They will be releasing their debut album ‘A Travers Les Lambeaux’ on 27th July 2020 on CD and digital formats. It follows their self-titled demo cassette and two successful MLP releases in 2018: ‘The Scent of War’ and ‘Breaching the Tomb’. It features some of the group’s most personal lyrics yet, which are inspired by visions of ancient history, rage, sorrow and madness. Their sound moulds blast beats, mid-tempo riffing and doom metal ideas together. 

You have to hand it to these people, they don’t stick to power chords all the time in their first track. In fact its harmony is mostly unusually colourful for the genre. However, arguably the more traditional heavy riffs are more fun to listen to. Fortunately, they dominate the rest of the album. The way plodding tempos are followed by the more expected blitzing sections is effective for the most part, however overuse of such contrasts makes some of the music sound like it’s lacking in creativity and is ever so slightly silly. The drumming may be relatively basic, but it is performed well with a very human quality. 

The production of the album is equally as natural sounding, so if you like your death metal to be more old school, Shezmu could be for you. Instrumental track ‘Interlude – La Rage’ has a bit of a ‘Planet Caravan’ by Black Sabbath vibe to it with its peaceful acoustic guitar and light percussion. The guitar parts are performed surprisingly well considering the fact the other tracks are far from flashy. Does it fit in the album, though? I’m sure the more open minded will say ‘yes’, but maybe not the kind of people who complained when Metallica first released a ballad. The clean vocal parts in ‘Lex Talionis’ sound somewhat comical. Whether that was the band’s intention or not, I don’t know but it’s hard to imagine hardened death metal fans appreciating them. Luckily, they don’t overpower the sound.

In conclusion, many people will find the first song to be a little weird and it certainly sets up expectations that for better or worse, the rest of the album doesn’t meet. Other than some of the more ineffective plodding parts, this release IS a lot of fun, however. Having said that, most slow tempos serve to chill rather than bore. Arguably it is better when the musicians don’t take themselves seriously too much and many will appreciate the fact they are not the kind to throw endless and needless flashiness at the listener. This album isn’t great, but it is highly listenable. Recommended!

Review by Simon Wiedemann