19 Sep 2021
UsernamePassword

Remember Me? | Join | Recover
Click here to sign in via social networking

Shapeshifter - Album Review: Rituals

17 Aug 2021 // A review by Gareth Heta
Shapeshifter (affectionately known as ‘Shapies’ by fans) are a New Zealand music institution. With over 2 decades of live shows, 4 EPs, 5 full-length studio albums, a handful of music awards and a reputation as the best live Drum & Bass act in the world, they’re both revered locally and ambassadors of the sound worldwide. Recorded across Aotearoa before COVID took hold, their new offering Rituals had a difficult birthing process due to the chaos of lockdown, but the result is a stunning addition to their already impressive discography.

The opening trio of tunes sets an uplifting vibe: Found In You leads with plucky guitars and sparkling piano; Life features more jazzy guitar riffs and soul-inspired backing vocals; pre-release single Lightspeed builds slowly before settling in to a stomping beat and warbling synth line. Title track Ritual (Under Your Spell) is an early standout with its 80’s synth, shuffling drums and soaring vocals, a formula replicated on the bouncy Embers.

Album centrepiece The Roxxy has become a firm favourite in their live show and it’s easy to see why, a metal-influenced stomper with a host of truly gnarly synth riffs and thudding amen breaks. Similarly the rock/metal-tinged Futures is a highlight with its jangly chord progressions, soaring guitar solo and massive, chuggy breakdown, a satisfying fusion of genres showcasing the band’s impressive mastery. Rounding things out, Ricochet brings more darkness with a spooky opening riff morphing into a snarling, thrashing workout, while closer The Brave ends things on a triumphant, hopeful note.

While most Drum & Bass is synthesised entirely digitally, Shapeshifter bring their instrumental prowess to primarily live compositions, resulting in a raw, organic power. Long-time engineer/mixer Tiki Taane, alongside band member Sam Trevethick on production duties, ensure the album’s sound is massive while retaining clarity for the all-important melodies and lead-man P Digsss soulful voice and lyrics. With shades of both light and dark, dancefloor stompers and more meditative tunes, the result is an album that stays true to their past while also showcasing their musical progression.

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )
 

About Shapeshifter

New Zealand's best live act is an extraordinary spectacle you can't miss.

Shapeshifter has been heralded as a musical phenomenon on their ground breaking live shows and unique blend of heavy Soul/Drum n Bass. Their reputation as pioneers of modern music was built by an unique approach to Electronic music which had previously been restricted to computer based studio musicians and has earned them widespread critical and commercial acclaim.


Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Shapeshifter

Releases

Rituals
Year: 2021
Type: Album
Stars
Year: 2016
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape
SSXUB
Year: 2014
Type: EP
Delta
Year: 2013
Type: Album
System Remix
Year: 2011
Type: Album
The System Is A Vampire
Year: 2009
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape
Shapeshifter Live
Year: 2007
Type: Album
Soulstice
Year: 2006
Type: Album
Riddim Wise
Year: 2004
Type: Album
Styles
Year: 2003
Type: EP
Been Missing / Relocator
Year: 2003
Type: EP
D.N.A.
Year: 2001
Type: EP
Realtime
Year: 2001
Type: Album

Other Reviews By Gareth Heta

Hotel Death Star - Single Review: The Daylight
10 Sep 2021 // by Gareth Heta
Hotel Death Star are a relatively new duo, finding life in 2020 when singer-songwriter Phil Stoodley collaborated with composer-producer Andreas Arianto to craft their interpretation of melodic deep-house blended with more traditional songwriting elements. Fans of electronic genres will find plenty to like here, but crossover appeal might be limited.
Read More...
Gig Review: Shapeshifter @ Christchurch Town Hall - 30/07/2021
02 Aug 2021 // by Gareth Heta
Back on the road after a few months of downtime, Shapeshifter return for a national tour in support of their seventh studio album Rituals. Kicking things off in their hometown Otautahi, the Christchurch Town Hall was host to another explosive, uplifting performance by one of NZs most treasured and traveled live acts.
Read More...
Truth - Album Review: Acceptance
23 Jul 2021 // by Gareth Heta
Low-tempo maestros Truth return to their Deep, Dark and Dangerous imprint with a long-player of sublime electronica. Billed as their most personal album to date, Acceptance captures the duo at their most introspective, a response to a world in crisis evoked as nostalgia-inducing reveries and cavernous meditations.
Read More...
Anna Wild - EP Review: WOOL
22 Dec 2020 // by Gareth Heta
WOOL is the first project from Wellington-based artist Anna Wild, and it comprises 3 ambient/electronic instrumental tracks in conjunction with a 10 minute short film providing visual accompaniment. This visual EP was created to go hand-in-hand; while the music can certainly be absorbed on its own, it’s through the film (directed and animated by Taizan Yamada) that the depth of meaning shines through.
Read More...
Oakley Grenell - EP Review: Style Dem Ripe
18 Nov 2020 // by Gareth Heta
Oakley Grenell caps off 2020 with a wicked dancefloor-oriented EP showcasing a range of vocalists over bouncy, bass-fuelled tunes with a trademark reggae flair. A few years in the making, it’s another solid addition to an already impressive discography.
Read More...
J Plates - Album Review: Seven Days Of Fire
29 Oct 2020 // by Gareth Heta
2020 has been a big year for J Plates, releasing a string of heavyweight DnB alongside a side project offering ambient and lower-BPM electronic stylings. Dropping just in time for Halloween, Seven Days Of Fire marks his debut, self-released LP, and it’s a fitting collection for the spooky season - massive stabbing bass, crunching breakbeats and haunting atmospheres abound.
Read More...
Gig Review: Shapeshifter @ Christchurch Town Hall - 18/10/2020
19 Oct 2020 // by Gareth Heta
Two decades deep and showing no signs of slowing down, veteran live act Shapeshifter jetted into Christchurch on the back of a sold out Auckland show and a global pandemic causing havoc for the events industry. Showcasing their incredible musical prowess with a powerhouse performance, they created a special vibe for those in attendance in a celebration of music, dance, and togetherness.
Read More...
Biobird - Album Review: Riders
13 Aug 2020 // by Gareth Heta
Crisp production, organic drums, layered percussion and gritty, overdriven bass are hallmarks of Biobird's work: presented here for the first time in LP format, it’s a chance to draw together the specific vibe and tone (developed to great success on 2019’s Count to Ten EP) into a cohesive whole. Title track Riders opens with ominous swells before plunging into a dark, techy workout reminiscent of early-2000’s Drum & Bass staples such as Universal Project and Keaton; the second drop change-up bounces along on a half-time beat.
Read More...
View All Articles By Gareth Heta

NZ Top 10 Singles

  • STAY
    The Kid LAROI And Justin Bieber
  • PEPEHA
    Six60
  • INDUSTRY BABY
    Lil Nas X feat. Jack Harlow
  • BAD HABITS
    Ed Sheeran
  • COLD HEART (PNAU REMIX)
    Elton John And Dua Lipa
  • HEAT WAVES
    Glass Animals
  • HAPPIER THAN EVER
    Billie Eilish
  • SHIVERS
    Ed Sheeran
  • WOMAN
    Doja Cat
  • FAIR TRADE
    Drake feat. Travis Scott
View the Full NZ Top 40...
muzic.net.nz Logo
100% New Zealand Music
All content on this website is copyright to muzic.net.nz and other respective rights holders. Redistribution of any material presented here without permission is prohibited.
Report a ProblemReport A Problem