Album: The Five Stages of Grief – EP
By the time we’ve reached this stage in our lives–I’m assuming that if you’re reading this, you’re past adolescence—we have all experience some sort of loss and the overwhelming sensation of grief that comes with. If you haven’t—and by all means, good for you—then sit down and buckle up, because Midwest nu-metal turned metalcore act Sheevaa are about to teach you the ins and outs of the grieving process. Combining the metallic and alternative flair of bands like System of a Down and Slipknot with hints of flesh-melting aggression and downtuned heaviness a la modern metalcore and hardcore, Sheevaa bounce and groove their way into the listener’s head with their debut EP, The Five Stages of Grief, a conceptually-driven voyage that accompanies the listener through the ins-and-outs of coping with anxiety, depression, stress and anger—all in five furious, ferocious nu-metalcore anthems that serve as a sturdy testament to the contemporary nu-revival.
Sheevaa expertly oscillate between bouncy, brutal grooves and breakdowns and punchy, metallic segments. The result is The Five Stages of Grief; an album that sounds sort of like someone put System of a Down, Korn, Barrier and The Plot in You all in a blender and let it rip. From the first seconds of “Denial,” Sheevaa’s dedication to the album’s overarching concept is apparent; with vocals that sound strung out and stressed atop a chaotic and frenzied musical canvas that floods the listener’s blood with adrenaline in seconds flat. The sensation continues—as “Denial” progresses into “Anger” and even fades into “Bargaining,” the same rambunctious energy persists–much in part to the chaotic candor of Sheevaa’s percussion and the beefy interplay with the bass guitar that follows with. With thick, punishing drums and dense, groovy bass serving as a foundation for the band’s musician efforts, Sheevaa have little issue transitioning from grisly grooves into gutwrenching breakdowns and catchy choruses at the drop of a hat. Where their drums and bass form a low end, the guitar follows, building off of the low, rumbling ruthlessness as if it were a scaffold. “Denial” and “Acceptance” are highlights of the album’s heavier moments–as is the conclusion to “Anger.” However “Depression” and “Bargaining” see more diverse fretwork—with fast-paces riffs that pop into heavily alternative and nu-metal influenced choruses. It’s tracks like “Bargaining” especially where Sheevaa liken themselves to yesteryear’s nu-juggernauts like Slipknot or System of a Down—and this becomes especially apparent with the consideration of the song’s diverse and unique vocal approach.
To say that Sheevaa are all over the map vocally would be an understatement. With songs like “Denial” coming across as a relatively straightforward example of metalcore’s heavy/soft dynamic, the listener is lulled into a false sense of security that lasts throughout “Anger.” While of well-above-average quality, Sheevaa’s use vocal dynamics on the opening two songs is little more than standard—a notion that is thrown out of the window as soon as “Bargaining” begins. Here, Sheevaa’s worship of traditional nu-metal (especially Korn and System of a Down) begins to shine through; with half-chanted passages of oddly sung clean vocals that sound almost as if they were an enchantment, Sheevaa invade the listener’s mind. As “Bargaining” gives way to “Depression,” it begins to sound as if Serj Tankian himself is featuring on Sheevaa’s record. By the time the group get to “Acceptance,” it fees almost as if the listener is hearing a completely different band than the one on “Denial,” as the vocals are both bizarre and completely catchy—making even non-fans of traditional nu-metal inclined to get down with Sheevaa’s unique sickness.
In a time where the nu-metal revival is in full swing and many bands find themselves grasping at the same straws as their peers, Sheevaa are unique. While The Five Stages of Grief is a little too short for its own good—and the last song seems to “lose” the concept the other four tracks club tightly to—it is immersive and engaging for its entire duration. Whether it’s the stuttering breakdowns in “Denial” and “Acceptance” or the off-the-wall nu-metallic and groovy stylings that fill the interim, the listener will be hooked from the first syllable to the last groove—with Grief truly kicking in once the EP has come to a close.
For Fans Of: Barrier, VCTMS, System of a Down, Korn
By: Connor Welsh