Suffering Servant – Shamash E.P. Review

It’s not everyday when new bands arise within such a saturated industry, especially when it comes to the metal genre, that seems to just keep growing with many facets of the branches out of this genre of music.

Malaysia is a country that no matter how small it is, with the current population reaching at 32.5 million people, there is no shortage of metal bands for the locals to delight in, with the 3 most popular played genres currently in the country are thrash, death and black metal.

One of Rottweiler Records latest products Shamash based in Malaysia’s capital of Kuala Lumpur, have recently just released their debut EP “Suffering Servant” through the label last month. Initially the recording process and artwork had been completed prior to the bands signing last September, featuring Andre Chiang (Necromanicide), Alexaander J. Martin (Army of Three) and Darren Teh (An Honest Mistake).

The EP begins with “For Unto Us” which threw me with the clear vocals, that sound very close to ICS Vortex (Borknagar, Arcturus) during The Archaic Course (1998) era style vocal that carries extremely well with the bands melodic approach towards their craft, which hints of an avant-garde and folk metal element that warms up to the professional production created to this incredible bombastic driven delivery.

This continues into their next track “At The Throne”, as the band use more black metal like keyboards and gruff death metal growls, while still maintaining the clear vocal that compliments the song structure with such ease and technique. “Spiritus Sanctus” follows suit with the straight ahead black metal take of the band. Personally not a favorite of mine. As a listener myself, I find it to be all over the place vocally with the shrieks and growls that unfortunately, don’t compliment the music whatsoever. I really feel that Andre vocally runs out of breath with the growling and the shrieks don’t really hit the mark, even the techniques used musically seem to change at odd times and to me is not really complimenting the sound they are trying to achieve. On a positive note, the production and consistency of the overall sound is still top notch.

Titled track “Suffering Servant” strikes back from their previous track, as the EP comes back to the clarity vocal aspect that had made the first two tracks very enjoyable. The growling vocals here are used so much better within this song, as I find it compliments the clarity of vocals, which also reveals the melodic transparency of the band which they present to the listener. Symphonic keys and tranquil essence certainly creates a stronger single that really gives the overall authenticity of the band, in which I know they as an outfit can really achieve moving forward.

Closing the EP is their song “The View Inside My Soul” which is a mix of all their previous tracks, as they combine all the elements with their melodic, blackened and thrash genres, in which I find they have done extremely well. A nice touch is the mini guitar solos shown on two occasions, that really sets the pace and captures the musicianship perfectly as they deliver the strengths that have been displayed throughout their entire release.

Shamash are a quality band which have a bright future within the metal circles and through Rottweiler Records. There is more positives then there are negatives towards their debut EP, with their level of professionalism and knowing what they are after with sound and making the right choices with mixing and production.

Christian Sullivan 6/10 – The Metal Onslaught Magazine