Shrezzers are a progressive metal band from Saint Petersburg. They’ve been kicking around Bandcamp since 2016, with single “Vivacious” popping up in July of that year. Following several more cuts (and a cover of XXXTentacion’s “Sad”); they’ve finally unveiled their debut album, Relationships.
First off, I have to say that I adore that cover art. As with Rook’s Shed Blood (yes, I’m still talking about that), it’s the kind of artwork that commands attention. Show me an uncanny, biopunk-esque image, and you’re already well on your way to taking my money.
But what about the sounds beyond it? I have to confess that I haven’t really taken much interest in any metal for quite some time. My frames of reference feel dated or deeply embarrassing and regrettable (I was a nu-metal kid during that hideous era).
Progressive metal is something I have very little experience with. For years I’ve been told to listen to Coheed and Cambria, but alas I still haven’t. However one sub-genre I am very familiar with is post-hardcore (or emocore – because honestly; nothing can really be nailed down).
I lived for bands like InMe, Fightstar and Funeral For a Friend back in the day. And Shrezzers sound is pretty comparable. Intricate fretwork, thrashing chords, and creative beats are all present and correct. And Issam Arrag’s effortless transitions between emotive, melodic vocals and raw throat really fit the bill.
These elements hit you immediately on “Mystery,” but we should back up a little. As intros go, “Foreword” establishes the group’s irreverent side. Two douche-bros complain about relationships before getting stuck in an elevator, with only the album itself to distract them. It’s a curiously apt way of kicking things off, because Relationships is about perspectives; and it’s certainly memorable.
Anyway “Mystery” really kicks some. It also introduces Shrezzers truly unique selling point: Artyom Subitchev’s saxophone. He’s a true virtuoso, whose skills are as equally jaw-dropping as guitarists Vyacheslav Kavlenas and Vitalik Molokanov’s. His contributions add something special to the mix – a lighter, funkier counterpoint to the general tone of every track he’s featured on.
It works especially well on “E.M.O.J.I.Q.U.E.E.N.” This one is undoubtedly the album’s most upbeat track, with an exciting, fresh dance vibe to it. If I have one true criticism of Relationships, it’s that it does feel repetitive in places. But tracks like “E.M.O.J.I.Q.U.E.E.N” and “Spotlight” really unleash the potential of their signature sound.
Closing out the album is “Relationships” (or “Relationshits” as its listed on Bandcamp). “Foreword” distinguishes itself by being deliberately, but somehow appropriately, obnoxious. By comparison, “Relationships” distinguishes itself purely through its arrangement.
Beautiful keys, a mournful violin, a building rhythm and an eloquent passage performed in French – it’s so rich and wonderfully conceived. “Relationships” signals that there is a deeper vein of inspiration that Shrezzers will likely mine in the future.
In terms of releases, 2018 took a while to heat up. Thankfully Shrezzers have kicked off this year with something unique and exciting. So here’s to 2019; and hopefully many more acts as inspiring as them to come.
You can find Shrezzers in these places: