Review Summary: Posi-vibes
Saint Petersburg, Russia-based band Shrezzers used to be called Shredding Brazzers (yes, seriously), the band logo is based on the Brazzers logo for that reason. With that very valuable information out the way, the band came right out the gate with a big statement in mind for Relationships
: metalcore is too bleak and needs an injection of happiness, you sad ***s. It's the band's debut album and it's simply staggering to believe this is their debut, as even a band such as Intervals had a rough first couple of outings before finding their sound on The Shape of Colour
. Shrezzers' sound consists of progressive metalcore and djent quite similar to your average metalcore band, but what sets them apart from the pack are purely positive vibes (with the exception of the intro which is particularly cringy but I can ignore it).
The track Mystery with its soaring guitar and vocal passages is indicative of the positive vibes that define Relationships
. The rhythm of this track is extremely upbeat, and very easy to groove along to, making it definitely more palatable than something from the likes of Silent Planet (a harsh modern metalcore band that doubles down on heaviness with every chance they get). Guitar chord shapes are often in the major scale with the rhythm of the song largely inspired by a combination of both math rock and djent stylings. While very intricate these riffs never go off the deep end to the point of guitar self-indulgence.
Vocalist Sam Arrag with a similar vocal style to the likes of Tilian Pearson from Dance Gavin Dance, things are equally as great. Sam's smooth vocal timbre is arguably less grating to listen to than Tilian's literal chain-smoker for 40 years-sounding voice (not too hard to beat in all honesty). Looking into a vocal hook like the aforementioned "Mystery", it's a great impassioned performance that is both memorable and captivating. There are some hip-hop vocal sections (not too many but a few) that may deter metal fans as well. While certainly not favorite sections of mine either, they are most definitely well done, despite small qualms. Harsh vocalist and drummer Mark Mironov (it's very impressive he can scream while playing drums at the same time) has a strikingly similar timbre to Jon Mess from Dance Gavin Dance as well, their harsh vocalist respectively that definitely giving a well needed contrast from Sam's cleans
On the production side of things, an over-production argument can be had, everything is extremely saccharine in execution, from the vocals to the drum mixing to the guitars. This is nothing new for modern metal at this point, as the likes of Animals as Leaders, ERRA, and Spiritbox all sport this type of sanitary production. Though this can put some off and think is all too polished for its own good: it's not a huge factor, personally.
The guitar solos are absolutely fantastic, providing incredible articulation and phrasing throughout. Very tasteful bends and slides among numerous other guitar techniques are on full display. I've mentioned Intervals once before and for good reason as their guitarist and principal member, Aaron Marshalls features on the track Neglect with marvelous results. While most tracks are not the heaviest: Anaraak is very reminiscent of bands such as Shokran and Born of Osiris, consisting of pummeling, cascading, djenty riffing. Packed to the brim with energy at blistering vital speeds, this is most definitely one of the most technical tracks in terms of riffing.
Along with a myriad of guitar soloing, one must not forget the saxophone that is laced all throughout this too. Saxophone is nothing new in metal at this point, but it can't be ignored how well it is integrated. Importantly, the saxophone only shows up when its most fitting. Sections such as the outro portion of Emoji Queen are great for breaking up the pace of the constant riffing that dominates most of the record's runtime. This sensual outro really caps off things wonderfully and comes to a great crescendo which is really one of the finest moments offered.
Metalcore bands are focusing a lot on more pessimistic, angsty, depressive undertones in their music as of late (see: Currents, Invent Animate, and Loathe for examples), and this has proven to be a unique spanner in the works to that rather played out formula. In the grand scheme of things this band is an anomaly; Shrezzers sound really different from any other metalcore outfits out there and I can see someone enjoying this band even if they don't particularly enjoy metalcore in general. Striking a balance between a lot of different styles from ERRA (with the metalcore aspects), Intervals (with the guitar virtuoso aspects), and Dance Gavin Dance (with the post-hardcore aspects), while Relationships
hasn't been proven to be a big influential player in the genre of metalcore as a whole, it's definitely deserving of more credit than what it currently receives.