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Shovel — Shovel

by Shea Higgerson at 31 July 2022, 4:12 AM

 The sweet strange sound of sludge flows in swiftly and all-consuming in SHOVEL’s self-titled release, which is their first full-length album. There’s something about the doom and sludge subgenres that puts me in an almost trancelike state of mind when I listen to it and that’s what I love about it. It’s heavy music that is kind of chill and relaxing. I felt this especially while listening to the fifth song “III. The Fall of the Sun.” There’s somewhat of a sense of desperation in the music and vocals.

The immediate takeaways from listening to the first song are that this album is full of aggressive vocals and chunky riffs. The music is very much a mix of doom and sludge, but the vocals are more like hardcore in the way of KNOCKED LOOSE. But it fits. It works. I wasn’t sure how I would like it at first, but as I kept listening, I found I really enjoyed it. These guys are also talented musicians and it’s brilliant when they show that off, especially in the instrumental section toward the end of “V. Mære.”

Another thing I feel about this album is that there is a lot of noise. But in a good way. It’s experimental and they aren't afraid to throw in some of those weird spacey sounds doom is sometimes known for, which is also what I like about this type of music — it feels like a journey and an exploration. I feel like this band incorporates the perfect mix of speed and chill into this album. It’s never too slow or too fast. This is definitely one of those albums where the more you listen to it, the more little details you start to notice and I love that about it.

The ending of “IV. A Case Against Optimism” gives off a manic type of energy that creates a real sense of urgency. The music speeds up faster and faster and the vocalist comes in screaming eventually and it’s very chaotic for a little bit. But finally it goes back to regular pace and the song ends. The final song “II. The Lake” begins very calmly as if none of the chaos in the previous song ever happened. But then there are some harsh, weird sounds thrown in the mix of all the calmness just before this song speeds up a bit too. I think this song is perfect in that it’s a very fitting song to be the last one on the album. It feels conclusive. Overall, I thought this was a super fun album to listen to and I’m positive I will catch myself listening again.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 6

4 Star Rating

1. VII. Havoc
2. V. Mære
3. VI. Scars of a Dark Past
4. I. The Void
5. III. The Fall of the Sun
6. IV. A Case Against Optimism
7. II. The Lake (feat. Vassilis Avgoustakis)
Kostis Benning - Guitars and Vocals
Yorgos Anagnostopoulos - Guitars and Vocals
Pier Favia - Bass
Fotis Logothetis - Drums
Record Label: Argonauta Records


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