Shvpes – Greater Than (Search and Destroy/ Spinefarm Records)
Where to even start with Shvpes? The four-piece do so much that it’s barely even fair to lump them along in the metal genre, but they have to fit somewhere so they fit there.
There is a new wave of bands who are taking everyone that influenced their early days and mushing them together, and Shvpes certainly seem to be one of these.
When Pain. Joy. Ecstasy. Despair. was released back in 2016 it was a bit of a trailblazer, and the band have changed their sound again to remain ahead of the curve.
That debut was mainly based on pure rock ‘n roll. There were other elements within it, sure, but Shvpes from Pain. Joy. Ecstasy. Despair. was a metal monster. Greater Than is like cousin everyone has that gets got a crazy streak that leaves everyone saying ‘it’s always the quiet ones you have to watch out for’.
There are moments of real vulnerability expressed on this album, particularly on Someone Else – a fairly heartbreaking song about an unfaithful relationship. Making because of the anger expressed within it, it’s also one of the songs that comes closest to matching the intensity of their debut.
A variety of guest stars collaborate on the album, but the one that really stands out is Trivium’s Matt Heafy who raps on Rain. The band describe this song as a vocal gang monster, and it’s hard to argue with such a colourful description of one of the most interesting tracks on the album.
Griffin’s voice has always had an edge of hip-hop about it and Greater Than features that much more heavily than Pain. Joy. Ecstasy. Despair. But it doesn’t feel forced, it feels natural and it feels like a natural extension of the vocalist’s talent.
Closing song Counterfeit ensures the record goes out with a bang. The phone call style interlude, a deliciously groovy bass line, hint of a metalcore breakdown and vocalist Griffin’s trademark infectious energy combine to produce the most treasured of final songs: one that leaves you wanting more.
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Shvpe of things to come