Abaddon magazine

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Saturday, July 2, 2022

Review: Shezmu – À Travers les Lambeaux

Label: Krucyator Productions

Date: July 29th, 2020  

Nothing scares me more than birds. If you want me to review your album, never put birds in any form on the album cover! With tachycardia and with half-closed eyes, I gather strength and… Go! This will be the fastest review I ever wrote!

Another fear… In the promo material, the band is classified as doom infused black/death trio. I was like…Damn! First of all listening this genre is far from my comfort zone. Say Doom Metal to me, in my head is picture of Homer Simpson drooling in a power plant mumbling how he listens a doom metal song for three days and does not to see the end of the first verse.

Since “À Travers les Lambeaux” is Shezmu′s debut album, let’s say something more about the band first, than I will face my fears. Shezmu comes from Montreal, Canada, and in for years long history, they released one demo (“Demo I”, 2017), one compilation album (“Promo MMVIII”, 2018) and two EPs, both released in 2018 (“The Scent of War” and “Breaching the Tomb”). “À Travers les Lambeaux”, as already said, is their first full length album. It contains seven songs packed in nearly 33 minutes.

Although I never liked labeling bands and putting them into drawers, I would say this album is more than anything death metal. Old school death metal with focus on atmospheric riffs. Now you see why I do not like do discuss about genres.

The first spin and I am already confused. This is 90% old-school death metal, 10% doom and if I am not deaf, there is no black metal at all. The production overall drags to dark/raw Swedish 90’s death metal. If we are talking about doom metal, yes, there is doom metal if you consider 4th song, “Interlude – La Rage”, dark ambient instrumental that somehow does not fit in the whole album concept. What else does not fit? For my ears that is clean vocal. But,as we already know, my ears obviously hear something others don’t.

Now, when I have finished some of you might consider negative sides, let’s see the positive.

Album concept. As the band states:

“While still using visions of ancient history as the lyrical basis, the songs explore themes of rage, sorrow, and madness.”

Now you got my attention!

Since Shezmu is an ancient Egyptian deity with a contradictory character, maybe I can understand this mess with genres.

Lyrics written in French, absolutely logical if we know where the band comes from. My French is really poor, so I had to put them through translator, and what I have got, I have to admit, I liked. A dose of poetics that only Baudelaire has is interwoven through the verses. Metal has no limitations, so even if you do not understand the language the band chooses for lyrics, that brings complete work to another higher level and has a special charm.

Overall: interesting album. It is dark. It is brutal. It is intense. It is inspiring.  You might need some time to digest it, but it is worth of pain.