SHEZMU – À TRAVERS LES LAMBEAUX (Krucyator Productions)

There’s anguish, anger, grief and lunacy aplenty to be savoured on Shezmu’s debut full-length, ‘À Travers Les Lambeaux’ – a morose slab of decidedly dark, depressive Death Metal designed to weigh heavily upon the listener. Which is fair enough; clearly all in not well in the world at present. Never has been. In a notable departure from what we witnessed on Shezmu’s pair of 2018 MLPs – ‘The Scent Of War’ and ‘Breaching The Tomb’ – the seven songs hereon are delivered in the expressive French language, in keeping with the trio’s residency in the cold fields of Québec.

This album is intense and emotional, imbued with an unsettling dose of aggression and despair. If you are looking for an uplifting or positive experience, you won’t find it on ‘À Travers Les Lambeaux’. The dual vocal attack of deep guttural growls mixed with pained, anguished screams succeeds in communicating Shezmu’s antipathy, while the music hammers home the same message: pummelling, punishing, defiant drums; buzzing, jagged, dissonant guitars full of intent; everything merging into a romping, stomping expression of uniquely harrowing and gloomy Death Metal.

A poignantly-titled interlude, ‘La Rage’, does perhaps offer some respite from the enveloping, all-encompassing doom and gloom, as perhaps does the bubbling bass but, by and large ‘À Travers Les Lambeaux’ is a jarring exercise in profound anguish and claustrophobic grief with little light creeping through the all-pervading darkness.

Evilometer: 555/666