It has been said by some that if you do not like a piece of art since the very first time you hear it, you will never get to enjoy it. Well, this is certainly not the case with some bands you can find out there. Shellshock, for me, clearly belongs to this group. Reasons are not still clear to me, but since I first saw the band on stage, I could not connect with the music they did. Yet every time I saw them afterwards, I started getting attracted little by little unit I decided to give “God Save the Bitch” an opportunity. From that point on, everything just flowed. I got to understand their proposal and felt the way they perceive and evoke metal. As a result, Pestilent Queen came out, and I simply got it with no hesitation.
Its cover art shows the same character depicted on their previous EP, this time sailing in a dead-Viking sort of ship along with an Acherontic figure: a perfect premunition of the sound that is to come and the critic lyrics that could be symbolized both in the desolation of the sea and the use of the background obscure colors.
Tape spinning, such a “Majestic” way to start with a slow-tempo intro concluded with a short speech that welcomes us to the slaughter coming next: the song to which the album is named after. Thrashing drumming with certain outlandish moments of unusual rhythms, and a catchy use of riffs that go from long power chords to scalic mini arrangements. Then, Powerage stands out for the sound of its bass which complements the guitar with harmony; and the song shows a first insight into the combination of a rock ‘n’ roller touch and the virtuous gift William has. Such guitar feature is further exposed on Retro-Tap, a short yet substantial instrumental piece of tapping. Born to metalize is a hymn to the metalhead which anthemic choruses and mid-tempos will have you bang your head. Ending side A, Strangelove is for me the song I like the less, though I have to say its first riff and the solo at the end are exceptional.
Side B has such a powerful impulse. Sonderkommando entails a progression that grows from a classic palm-muted slow riff, dense double-bass to a fast thrashing speed played while the high notes of the voice yell some German words. This is followed by a calmer and wonderful interpretation of La Catedral (Allegro Solemne) in acoustic guitar: a 3/4 piece originally composed by the Paraguayan Agustín Pío Barrios. There could not be a better come back to the intended pace, 1928 (Bastard Nation) has the oddest but at the same time, best composition in the album; its rebellious lyrics, pauses, harmonics, and different musical motives are just outstanding. Last Breath ends it all in a magnificent manner: a melancholic intro -eventually outro- that evolves into a violent frenetic cut of criticism against regimes with clean choirs and subsequent root-growls such as the one that utters the very last words of the album: “time to kill”.
What you may find with this band is not ever going to be something over-produced (I hope); as its essence lays deep into the organic sound and the lack of musical make-up even to the point that there is not rhythmic guitar, but you never miss it because it is not needed! It sounds properly as a natural power trio.
On the other hand, I wish the tape included the lyrics (I had to ask for them to a friend who has the CD). With its texts the album shows a critical portrayal of many harms of society such as: hypocrisy, vanity, oppression and some insights of different topics, though I think they could be grammatically improved to be better understood. Do not take me wrong: the full-lenght musicality, rooted on classical thrash, violent speed, rock ‘n’ roll, and classical music influence; as well as its intention are more than enough to make it an enjoyable album, and a piece worth of being in your collection if you like old school traditional ways of metal outside of the generic attempts of emulating it.
All in all, this album is attaching, solid and authentic plus it has a nice interpretation in all the instruments and a well-achieved reverberated natural sound. That is one of the reasons why they have strongly made their way into one of my favorites “Bogotanian” bands nowadays.
Review made by Mandos Bauglir – Maldito Metal Colombiano – Colombia
El profe del metal: https://bit.ly/2Druu80
Alcoholik Corpse: https://bit.ly/2GBvnOw
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Morbib Skull records: https://bit.ly/2E52kBj
Digital Widerstand: http://bit.ly/2Sn6WcM
Luna wolf: http://bit.ly/2IKjlSz