Shvpes’ debut album, Pain. Joy. Ecstasy. Despair, established them as a band with a disregard for genre boundaries. Their enthusiastic, multi-pronged attack was fiery and won them fans in high places, not least Trivium’s Matt Heafy, who provides backing vocals here on the metalcore- and hardcore-influenced Rain. Unsurprisingly, this, their second album finds the band with equally itchy feet.
Quickfire rapping remains a vital element of Shvpes’ DNA and they let their hip hop influences shine through on two interludes, Two Wrongs, No Rights and I’m Stuck, which are just frontman Griff Dickinson laying zig-zagging rhymes over skeletal beats. There’s a nu metal bounce to Someone Else and Counterfeit, the latter containing a pretty clunky Fred Durst-esque moment where Griff spits: ‘Just so we’re clear, your mother should’ve swallowed you…’
That grim instance aside, though, Greater Than is a step forward for Shvpes on two fronts. They’ve already proved they have a talent for concocting infectious melodies, but here there’s a stonking chorus everywhere you look. The album revolves around them, hammering home a memorability that burrows through the whole album and could well end up being this band’s bread and butter. Secondly, it appears the time they spent on the road with Trivium, watching, learning and picking up vocal tips from Matt, has paid off. This feels like the record that marks Griff out as an incredibly versatile singer as he jumps from rapping, to breathless screams, to dizzying cleans. This time around, everything feels bigger. You only need to look at the opening three tracks to see exactly where Shvpes see themselves heading. Opening trio Calloused Hands, Undertones and Afterlife are polished, Letlive-esque whoppers, backlit by electronics and aimed at much larger venues. Greater Than will certainly help to get them there.
For Fans Of: Letlive, Bullet For My Valentine, Stray From The Path