One of the many benefits of calling Moshville Towers home is that the postman regularly brings rare new gems for us to feast our eager ears upon. Dutch blackened deathsters The Shiva Hypothesis are rightly labelled in this category and having never had the pleasure before, I was looking forward to listening to their debut album Ouroboros Stirs when it arrived.
First impressions are that of the striking cover art depicting a serpent wrapped around the earth, consuming its own tail (Ouroboros). It prompted me to discover that the band’s moniker relates to an astronomical theory describing how meteors and comets collide with the earth on a predictable and cyclical basis (roughly every 30 million years or so!), causing mass extinctions. Not your average death metal muse then but would the music be equally unique?
Well, after a first listen I can tell you there is nothing mundane or ordinary about the guys’ musical output either. Atmospheric opener “Enkindling” sets an eerily cosmic tone before leading straight into catchy follower “Ananda Tandava” which blends a glorious deathly crunching guitar tone with more traditionally black metal elements from its galloping and atmospheric main riff to vocalists MvS’s blackened howls, which are a driving presence throughout this platter.
This is a young band who are clearly not scared to experiment and show off their technical proficiency as the remaining tracks on the album really do highlight. “Maze of Delusion” and the excellent “Carrying of the Effigy” twist and turn, fusing the band’s black-metal core with more thrashy/deathly elements to great, foot-stomping effect.
The band indulge their clear love of the avant-garde on acoustic tracks, “Build Your Cities on the Slopes of Mount Vesuvius” and final track “With Spirits Adrift” which encompasses classical guitar, keyboards and clean vocals, closing the album as perfectly as it started.
Ouroboros Stirs is both interesting and accomplished in equal measure, even more so when you consider it’s a debut album from these relative youngsters. Very impressive and well worth checking out.
Ouroboros Stirs is out now on WormHoleDeath Records.