SHEZOO – Agony of Doubt
There are loads of wicked riffs with power and bombast to them scattered throughout the record and there is certainly no shortage of variety and dynamics to be found on it. The musicianship is solid and these guys have a knack for writing memorable tunes for sure. I dig the slightly unpolished production as it provides the songs with a raw vibe and the album as a whole benefits greatly from the warm and organic sound. There is something pleasant about listening to "Agony of Doubt"; something life-affirming and uplifting, I reckon. In terms of atmosphere, there is an epic quality to galloping metal hymns such as the title track and "Losing Control" that brings to mind Iron Maiden and to a lesser extent Queensryche, and it sounds neither contrived nor forced. Shezoo simply know how to write catchy tracks filled with huge choruses, face-melting riffs, melodic solos, and great vocals. The moody "No Way Back" and the melancholy "Mirror" are perfect examples of that. For some reason, there are quite a few of the ideas and arrangements present on "Agony of Doubt" that bring to mind Dio’s immortal "Last in Line" LP, which is obviously a compliment. A few of the compositions fall by the wayside and add nothing interesting to the opus as such, namely "Cradle the Dead" and "Crimson Rain", but other than that this is an entertaining and engaging listening experience.
There is nothing new to what Shezoo are doing and they are not exactly bringing anything to table that you have not heard a gazillion times before, but that does not mean that "Agony of Doubt" is not worth a listen. This one is recommended regardless of whether you are into pure heavy metal, melodic hard rock, or power metal. There is simply something for everybody to be found on this one.