Shokran – Exodus (Self-Released)Sunday, 13th November 2016
Some lofty expectations come into play with an album like Exodus. Coming off the buzz of 2014’s Supreme Truth, the Russian progressive deathcore act Shokran shifts focus from the ancient Eygyptian themes towards, well, The Book of Exodus. Of course, this means that their Middle Eastern influences still have their place within the music, and serves to expand their sound past the sometimes constricting borders of deathcore.
With progressive deathcore being a fairly vague descriptor, it’s safe to say that Shokran takes influence from bands like Born of Osiris. But on Exodus, there’s equal pull from more progressive acts like Between the Buried and Me or Orphaned Land. It’s clear the band is expanding its horizons and the outright progressive moments (and technical musicianship) is a hallmark of the album and does not fail to impress the listener with ability. Songs like “The Swarm” and “Revival of Darkness” provide some of the most memorable occasions with this regard, with intricate riffs merging with powerful vocal moments to create a strong atmosphere. Speaking of which, new vocalist Andrew Ivashchenko also helps to expand the band, with a large range from growls and rasps to impressive clean vocals that may have some recalling Leprous in their nature. Some may be weary of the djent influences and there’s no lack of groove on the record, but it’s wrapped around a number of different progressive influences that make for a more varied listen. They also use the Middle Eastern sprinklings in a way that makes them feel more compelling and seamless instead of “being there for the sake of it.”
Taking influence from multiple genres and weaving in Middle Eastern influences, Shokran has elevated their status with Exodus. At a mere 35-minutes, it’s a densely packed listen that one will come back to often to unwrap more of the layers beneath the surface. A strong effort from a group that could very well be on their way to being progressive metal leaders in a few years.