Sheavy – Celestial Hi-Fi – Review


Celestial Hi-Fi (TMC)
by Brian Varney

If any of y’all have paid attention to the increasing glut of articles written on the music being called “stoner rock,” you’ll no doubt notice the frequency with which bands try to distance themselves from the phenomenon. You’ll hear lots of quotes like, “We’re not stoner rock” and “We don’t listen to Black Sabbath very much.” I can understand not wanting to be pigeonholed and, really, it’s probably not very difficult for most bands to justifiably distance themselves from the Sabbath. Important and influential though they were, no one really sounds like Black Sabbath.

Having said that, however, there’s absolutely no fuckin’ way Sheavy could make such a claim. It’s not even that they sound like Sabbath, because they don’t. It’s that the singer sounds exactly like Ozzy. I dunno enough about recording technology to know which effects were used to give Ozzy’s studio vocals their sound, but the singer in Sheavy knows, and he uses all of ’em in the exact same concentration. It doesn’t kinda sound like Ozzy, it could be him. And, frankly, it’s kind of annoying.

Which is too bad, since the music itself is actually pretty good. There are plenty of thick, meaty, and memorable riffs to be had (especially the title track’s main riff), and the rhythm section pushes the rockers along on a bunch of nice, solid, mid-tempo grooves. There’s also a fair amount of longer songs with slower, spacier moments, which the band handles with equal aplomb. But it’s really hard to get past those vocals.

And Lord knows I have no problem with bands borrowing or stealing from other bands. If it’s done well, I think it’s usually pretty cool when a band drops a riff or a snippet from another song into the middle of one of theirs. But when you stoop to outright copycat — why bother? If I’m gonna listen to a band with a singer who sounds like that, why not just listen to Black Sabbath? And, cool tunes aside, it’s this which dooms Sheavy to being a second-tier band.