Shvpes - 'Greater Than' album review
'Greater Than' finds its feet in its bravery to switch things up, to dip its proverbial feet into a couple different genre pools. Shvpes shape things up well on their sophomore project.
Replay Value9.2
8.4Overall Score
Reader Rating: (1 Vote)

Raw yet coherent, explosive while controlled, Birmingham based metallers Shvpes execute excellent musical balance above all else. With ‘Greater Than‘ they pack quite the audible punch while weaving in catchy melodies very well.

The opening chords that begin ‘Greater Than‘ are eminent of a ticking time-bomb in my mind, and as they develop into the momentous beginning track ‘Calloused Hands‘ which sees the detonation occurrence leave a lasting blast-stain in your ears, it is clear this is a more than worthwhile project that keeps your intrigue largely through boiling up at points throughout the project to result in a fiery and direct eruption of rage.

Other album singles ‘Undertones‘ and ‘Afterlife‘ come in quick succession, making for a damn strong start to the project. ‘Afterlife‘ is for me an offender for bringing the most infectious hook-and-chant mix to the table, you’ll struggle to refrain yourself from wailing along, while also being taken by the riff punctuating this total anthem.

Greater Than‘ exists as being a dynamic album that is as diverse as it is exciting, showcasing a knack for experimentation as the band season their accessible and chorus-centric metalcore with splashes of r&b, the faintest ‘Undertone(s)’ of electro elements here and there and most notably is the hip hop influence which can be heard on the majority of tracks. They are a group striving to defy genre, and in ‘Greater Than‘ there is great evidence of this: Tracks like the slow, smooth and piano-based ‘Two Wrongs, No Rights’ that is a heart-plucking r&b melody and the eerie, spacey ‘I’m Stuck‘ are perhaps the greatest individual examples of straying from what one might expect from them.

One of my favourite moments on the album begins with the brazen juxtaposition exhibited in the follow on of ‘Rain‘ from ‘Two Wrongs, No Rights‘, as after you’re lulled into a seducing, relaxed couple of minutes of chilled tones, you are spearheaded viciously with the explosive punch-you-in-the-gut thrashing of ‘Rain‘, which features this maniacal spot from Trivium frontman Matt Heafy, but not as you would assume – he pulls of a quickfire, rap style delivery. The chemistry and interplay of Heafy with Dickinson is nothing short of glorious, all illuminated with some technical riffage and again the song is structured very pleasingly.

The tendency for a soaring hook is compounded well and has resulted in an array of songs that one minute have you compelled to bang that damn head, and the next come up for air in a sweet and memorable singalong. In this sense I have high praise for the structuring apparent in the tracks; strong and captivating verses supplemented with heavy breakdown nodes and a real feel of climax as you arrive at the catchy hooks.

Another big strength of the project is laid in the vocal chords of frontman Griffin Dickinson, (something tells me he may just have inherited some family genes…) has a solid vocal range, from his commanding clean sung delivery and catchy-as-hell melodic choruses, he effortlessly switches up into a throat wreaking, granite scraping guttural scream that is truly piercing and melds with the powerful and tight instrumentation the band conjures. Griffin also excels when dabbling with some quicker evoked and more of a swaggering rapping approach in areas, in a manner of flexing his dexterity and braveness – ‘Greater Than‘ proves his willingness to step outside of a comfort zone.

An album full of metal so aggressive it actively seeks to destroy your speakers is all well and good, but often can be easily kinda forgettable – you may have a couple of songs you really vibe with but it’s tricky concocting an album full of memorable moments and songs that can stand well on their own. ‘Greater Than‘ finds its feet in its bravery to switch things up, to dip its proverbial feet into a couple different genre pools and seasoning its meal exotically. A lot of the tracks as well as linking well together making for a coherent project, are strong independent entities that will gain attention their own. There is a line on ‘Renegades‘ that I feel accurately sums up how the group approached this project; “we’re sick to death of playing safe” and I’m damn glad they felt this way.

As much I would solidly commend the efforts of Shvpes in their experimental endeavours, I wouldn’t go as far as to call this a groundbreaking project. That does not negate how much I enjoy the album, as after a few weeks sat with it I am still indulging heavily in their very attractive proposition and predict that ‘Greater Than‘ will certainly please any pre-exisiting Shvpes fan but also gain them a hefty bunch more admiration.

Greater Than

Greater Than‘ is out now via Search and Destroy – click here to order it!

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