Monday, July 30, 2012

shEver: Rituals (2012)

Girly Music

Women have been making strides in the world of metal. Especially in doom, where it seems that every other new band has a female vocalist these days. But an all-female band is still quite the novelty, and most will treat them as if they need to do something extra to prove themselves.

The Swiss quartet shEver is an all-female band that's been around since 2004. Their only prior member was also a woman, so it seems that their gender makeup is by design rather than happenstance. But despite the fact that they are no doubt conscious of expectations, they don't seem like a band that feels they have something to prove. Instead, they seem quite comfortable doing what they do.

They may be a little too comfortable, in fact, as their songs follow a very predictable pattern. They start very slow, and soft, with minimal instrumentation. Gradually the songs build up power, speed, and heaviness, and the vocals shift from clean to growls. Sometimes they'll wind the song back down to its low-key version near the end, but when they do, the tempo shift can seem awkward. They're quite good at starting with little and building up to a lot, but not so much at the reverse.

The sound is a traditional doom setup with a helping of Ides of Gemini and just a pinch of Corrupted. (It sounds extremely familiar, but scouring my library I can't find a better analogy.) The growls and clean singing are both good, but not excellent, and there's nothing heavy enough to make you shit your pants. The relatively straight-forward sonic qualities and atmosphere aren't nearly strong enough to make up for the predictability.

Not bad overall, but not great either, Rituals is recommended for the die-hard female-fronted doom fan.

The Verdict: 3 out of 5 stars



  1. I've liked what I heard of this, although I suspect if I'd heard more female-fronted doom, I'd agree with your solid-but-unremarkable description. Do you have any recommendations besides Ides of Gemini? (I really liked The Disruption Writ, but haven't really gotten into their latest. Maybe it needs to grow on me.)

  2. Luckily, I tag all the female-fronted music in my iTunes library to track it. SubRosa is easily my favorite (at least their most recent one), but I think it might be more of an acquired taste. Witch Mountain is another great one, and probably more widely palatable. Rituals of the Oak is pretty straight-forward doom that's female-fronted. Salome is awesome (much sludgier and uglier). Occultation is weird. Draconian is a somewhat underrated gothic death/doom band with male and female vocals. Royal Thunder is doom-like hard rock, and Grayceon has some doom elements. If you search, you can find reviews of all of these bands on this site except for Draconian.

    Those are just the ones I've kept, though. I've reviewed or listened to a handful more that I decided not to keep. But I don't suspect you're interested in those.

  3. Thanks! I know Royal Thunder (and enjoy the hell out of them), but I'll definitely check out those others!