TITLE: GREATER THAN
WORDS: AMY ALBINSON
SHVPES have left the expectation of being ‘just’ a metal band far behind them as they send their sophomore album ‘Greater Than’ out into the world. After the positive reception of 2016’s ‘Pain. Joy. Ecstasy. Despair’ the band have gone from strength to strength, playing sold out shows alongside the likes of metal giants Trivium and While She Sleeps and they’re showing no sign of slowing down.
Their latest offering arrives brimming with energy as they deliver heavily distorted vocals and visceral drum beats spanning genres in their infusion of jazz and hip-hop. Album opener ‘Calloused Hands’ gushes anger as vocalist Griffin Dickinson cries out his frustrations with working life. Repetitive couplet ‘cannibalise / capitalise’ grounds itself as an attack on the ethics of capitalism as they take an aggressive stance from the get-go. From their lyrical boldness it’s easy to see the appeal of the band as Griffin demands ‘get a grip, calloused hands are only feeding the bank’ setting a tone of an ‘us v them’ type fight that is an undercurrent throughout the record.
“Their latest offering arrives brimming with energy as they deliver heavily distorted vocals and visceral drum beats spanning genres in their infusion of jazz and hip-hop.”
The band’s aim to experiment with genres has found a home in ‘Two Wrongs, No Rights’, a song that strangely might be more at home on a Jaden Smith album. As the shortest track on the record it feels distinctively out of place with its jazz-inspired, downbeat and romantically melodic nature, the polar opposite of SHVPES’ usual musical style. Following it is what is undeniably the heaviest song on the record. ‘Rain’ is an explosive, effect-laden track with cutting vocals and a heavy bassline. Shattering the soft dream world of the previous song with a scream, anger is once again overflowing and flecks of spit are borderline visible. As Matt Heavy of Trivium, one of their biggest inspirations, takes to vocals it’s clear SHVPES have dragged him from his comfort zone, layering him across a slower, trap-style section as they continue to fight back against the metal label their last album positioned them within.
Closing track ‘Counterfeit’ sees the band entering a dystopian future as an automated voice drones ‘hello and welcome to PayPal’, taking on a sinister, heavier undertone as can be expected from the band as the voice continues ‘for more options or to kill this motherfucker press star’. Griffin’s harsh vocals cut through, returning their sound to something more familiar, whilst the need for experimentation is evident.
“….they continue to fight back against the metal label their last album positioned them within.“
In the creation of this record the support of the band’s fans has undoubtedly been a crucial factor in the trajectory of their music with ‘Greater Than’s release as a complete album stemming from the overwhelming reaction to first single ‘Undertones’. Originally the record was to be in the form of multiple mixtapes as the band feared they lacked the fanbase to release a full album. But following the single’s reception they scrapped the already prepared artwork and dived into a traditional release, a decision that won’t be regretted.
With dates already announced for shows with Bullet for my Valentine followed by their own headline tour the band are set to see the year out at full-speed.