Shibboleth – S/T

By Ola Mazzuca

In Sam Dunn’s debut documentary, Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey, the anthropologist describes his hometown of Victoria, British Columbia as the land of the “newly wed and nearly dead”, an anecdote that resonates with the city’s primitive black metal practitioners Shibboleth.

There aren’t any somber, atmospheric introductions on the band’s self-titled record as an immediate escalation of pummeling blastbeats and screech vocals ensue as soon as the play button is pressed on “Malorum”, which makes for a good change amongst the style of new BMers in the scene today. Some death-infused elements appear on “Relinquishing The Dross Of Ideology” (whatever that means) and “Bereft”, supporting the rest of the tracks with suitable contrast.

Though Shibboleth stick to a blistering pace and a pitch that hardly alters, interlude-esque breakdowns find themselves a dark, cozy spot on the heaviest of tracks despite instrumentation and structure that is anything but different from a standard black metal sound.

If there’s one track that stands out, it’s the extreme closure of “Choleric”, the adjective possibly reflective of curmudgeonly seniors and an irritable newlywed couple who cant operate their new dishwasher because of too many metal knives.

(Black Raven)

Sean is the founder/publisher of; he has also written about metal for Exclaim!, Metal Maniacs, Roadburn, Unrestrained! and Vice.