The UK metalcore scene is a strange place with bands coming and going and, in the case of some of the rising young stars of the scene, ditching the old and starting afresh. As was the case with fellow UK group As Lions, after five years of touring as Cytota, this bunch of highly-rated Brummie shredders decided a fresh start was needed and morphed into SHVPES. Listening to their new album though, Pain. Joy. Ecstasy. Despair, it would seem that, while the band felt a new start was needed, the influence for their sound is firmly rooted in the alt-metal scene from the early part of this century.

Easy to digest, Pain. Joy. Ecstasy. Despair sees SHVPES take that polished anthemic metal sound popular with the usual metal/metalcore suspects like Avenged Sevenfold, Bullet For My Valentine and mix it up with, well, a bit of everything really. There’s some huge-sounding hard rock, a bit of Djent, a bit of metallic hardcore and a bit of nu-metal and, like most bands who tried to mix up the metalcore format with other elements, there are moments where it all locks into place while others where it doesn’t quite hit the target.

“Tear Down The Walls”, for example, owes as much to Hybrid Theory-era Linkin Park as it does Bullet For My Valentine thanks in part to singer Griffin Dickinson switching his vocals up between screams and cleans. “Two Minute Of Hate”, on the other hand, has that kind of funky undercurrent you could hear on bands like (hed)p.e.

Elsewhere, the title track is a four minute slice of radio-friendly arena metal whereas “State Of Mine” sounds like SHVPES have been listening to plenty of Rage Against The Machine. For me, I think the thing that lets Pain. Joy. Ecstasy. Despair down is that, while there is no doubt that SHVPES are a band with plenty of big ideas in the tanks, there are just too many times where you feel like you’re just listening to other bands.

Pain. Joy. Ecstasy. Despair Track Listing:

01. Bone Theory
02. State Of Mine
03. Skin & Bones
04. False Teeth
05. Smoke & Mirrors
06. Breaking The Silence
07. The Otherside
08. Two Minutes Of Hate
09. Pain. Joy. Ecstasy. Despair
10. God Warrior
11. Tear Down The Walls

Run Time: 38:36
Release Date: October 14, 2016

Check out the song “God Warrior”


I have an unhealthy obsession with bad horror movies, the song Wanted Dead Or Alive and crap British game shows. I do this not because of the sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll lifestyle it affords me but more because it gives me an excuse to listen to bands that sound like hippos mating.