Shever, or shEver, hails from Switzerland – the homeland of the metal legends Celtic Frost – and they represent the genre of doom metal. Rituals is Shever's second full-length, and, on this album, the all-female doom quartet explore the bleak, yet groovy, universe of sludge doom.
What characterizes this album is primarily a bleak minimalism which is engendered in the form of simple heavy drum beats and guitar figures which are mesmerizingly simple, yet very powerful. This minimalism is especially prevalent in tracks like 'Delirio' and 'Je Suis Née', the former of which features a strangely aggressive and simple coda which is repeated considerably many times, while the latter builds on a number of crushingly heavy and groovy, but simple and bleak, doom-laden riffs. Amidst the bleakness, warm and almost pleasant guitar leads pop up, as in the case of one of the passages in 'Delirio'. Indeed, almost everything about this album is cold – even the clean-guitarred intros of 'Ritual of Chaos' and 'Souls Colliding' send chills of despair down the spine of the listener. And, of course, the more classic doom metal oriented riffage in '(You Are) The Mirror' capture all that is good about doom metal.
The production has almost the same sort of steel cold bleakness to it as Darkthrone's golden age releases, probably because of the use of reverb with the guitars. Interestingly, however, Shever's bass actually has a warm sound to it, which provides a nice and heavy bottom which, in my opinion, is perhaps one of the most important aspects of Shever's sound on this album.
While emphasizing minimalism, Shever are by no means poor musicians. In fact, their ability to really build up songs and gradually increase the intensity, as in the massive 'Souls Colliding' reflects their instinct for writing compelling, yet scary, doom metal. The vocals are primarily harsh, but at times the growls and screams are supplemented with an almost introspect 70s psychedelic rock type of singing which, needless to say, suits the atmosphere of the heavy and doom-laden, repetitive music on this album.
In the more sludgy and deliberately unpleasant end of the doom metal spectrum, Shever's Rituals is not for everyone. But, if you like your doom metal bleak and truly doom-laden, then chances are that you will really enjoy this album - especially, the three last tracks are no less than phenomenal.
1. Ritual of Chaos
3. Je Suis Née
4. Souls Colliding
5. (You Are) The Mirror
6. Tha He Na Te