Trembling and Shorn


SHABTI delivers black metal in a more technical fashion on "Trembling and Shorn", though one […]
By Max Elias
April 22, 2019
Shabti - Trembling and Shorn album cover

SHABTI delivers black metal in a more technical fashion on "Trembling and Shorn", though one which preserves the desolate, demonic aura of black metal perfectly. With an Egyptian-derived name, their music has certain expectations attached to it, and I am happy to confirm that the many tremolo passages and dissonant interludes-even on the first track alone-live up to the exotic connotations of the band's name. In particular the interlude a little past halfway through "Shrouded and Veiled" is amazing, melodic, and sinister, lifting spirits as effectively as it chills them.

Black metal seems like an inadequate moniker to ascribe to these guys, as the many moods contained within songs and technicality on display in the creation of these moods pushes the album into more progressive and death-metal inflected territory. Certainly as much as there is atmosphere there are also riffs, precisely executed and crystal-clear in the mix-which also is a trait not commonly associated with black metal. The vocalist sounds as if he pulls more from death metal than black, meaning he favors barks and growls over screeches. The variety that SHABTI are able to pack into songs without seeming to force it is most evident when considering that on "Seven Billion Souls" I was having such a good time absorbing myself in riffage that I didn't notice when more than five minutes had gone by. Also noteworthy is how catchy some of these melodies are; the intro riff of "Sanctify" is one I'll be humming for days, and then that idea gets expanded on. It all feels very smooth. The catchy triplet riff introduced around two and a half minutes in also never fails to get my head banging and fingers dancing.

Blending atmosphere with catchiness is something SHABTI show here that they are masters of. Not a lot of music can take you on a journey that is so disparate yet unified, but this can. And they don't need long songs to do it either; "The Oracle and the Architect" is only three minutes and forty-two seconds long, but it weaves atmospheric and melodic riffage together in the same expert manner. After everything cuts out and the drums pound out a few fills, the guitar lines that follow are heavenly in their biting yet comprehensible character. Despite being so short, a small solo happens in the last thirty seconds and rather than sounding pointless is something I wish could have gone on longer.

This isn't something I say about a lot of bands (ok it is, but not a lot of black metal bands), but my only issue here is that there isn't more of it. Maybe it is just that incredible of an album, maybe part of the enchantment I am under with this is due to my not having ever heard of this band before, but without a doubt everything on display here seems to have been written specifically with the aim of making me happy, both as a listener and a musician. It's one of those albums where it is difficult to think of things that sound similar, but you wish that more things did.

10 / 10









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"Trembling and Shorn" Track-listing:

1. Shrouded and Veiled
2. Seven Billion Souls
3. Sanctify
4. The Oracle and the Architect
5. My Doppelganger
6. Below Deck

Shabti Lineup:

Rob C. - Guitar/Vocals
 Ray C. - Drums
Brendan H. - Bass/Vocals
Dave Kaminsky - Keys
Jordan Guerette - Guest Solo #2 on 'The Oracle and the Architect'

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