After a series of recent demos and EP’s Canadian Black/Death/Doom trio Shezmu, named after the Ancient Egyptian God of wine and oils, blood and slaughter – so perfect for a Metal band, are finally set to drop their debut album, “À Travers Les Lambeaux”, a crushing and often harrowing seven track, thirty two minute offering, delving once again into the lore of human history and enlightenment, exploring themes of rage, sorrow, anguish and madness, which are very apparent in both the often tortuous vocal delivery as well as the powerfully atmospheric music.
Opening with album title track “À travers les lambeaux”, this is a rich and atmospherically crushing album from the offset , the low-end gutturals echoing out from the back of the sound giving a very cavernous atmosphere punctuated buy more tortuous screams, a pace that drags one minute and races away the next with a manic burst and it’s this bonkers unpredictability that makes both this track and album such a great listen.
“Cérémonie magique pour la bataille de Meggido” is brooding and ominously crushing to open developing into a pounding monolith with midpoint lead work that hits the zenith before resuming the pounding trajectory set out in the first half.
“Ode à Hathor” is dark intense and delivered with determination, with vocal shouts breaking through the seemingly impenetrable intensity, even when the pace drops you are still engulfed by the strength and passion of this track.
….And then you reach the mid-point of the release….On your first listen through you would be forgiven for taking a surprise step back at the arrival of “Interlude – La rage”, a classical guitar and percussion instrumental by Matthew Clark (@SirSteelStrings), completely different to the tracks either side, a composition that takes you away from the anguish and torment that surrounds it, it’s serene and beautiful, a welcome breather that gives you time to reflect on the predecessors and brace yourself for the returning onslaught….
Back to the brutality again with a couple of short sharp tracks; “Les secrets des ziggourats” dark crushing but with an emerging heavy groove that is dangerously alluring with vocals that are both deranged and guttural, manifesting like a far off disturbed dialogue, with the driving brutal onslaught continuing with “L’arrivée des temps déchus”, a rapid tempo, slick switching track which leaves a haunting echo in its wake, filled by the final monster, the eight minute “Lex Talionis”. Brutal, unforgiving and only marginally unrelenting, but never long enough for you to break your mind free, this track toys with you in a menacing manner, fading out at the five minute mark then returning as a sonic force that continues to rise and fall to the close, a brutal-icious end to a crushing album.
The cover art, adapted by Dan Yang, for “À Travers Les Lambeaux” is taken from the 1646 – 8 original painting by Salvator Rosa, “La Tortura De Prometeo”, who chose to depict the torture of Prometheus in the midst of a gory disembowelment unlike the less graphic (and more boring) versions of his contemporaries, making it, 325 years or so later the perfect material for a Metal album artwork.
“À Travers Les Lambeaux” is out on Krucyator Productions as a CD & Digital release on the 29th of July.
Rating – 4.5/5