Title: Vanitus Vanitatum
Release: 10″ EP / Tape / Digital
Label: Lixiviat Records, Dead Heroes, Totalitarianism Still Continues, Lärmo Records, Coxinha Records, Olga Hepnarová
Released on March 5th 2021, Vanitas Vanitatum is the latest offering from Czech powerviolence stalwarts Sheeva Yoga. After forming in 1997 (and playing in local grindcore legends Social Deformity since 1994), this release follows a whole slew of LPs and EPs over the years, most recently a split with UK thrashcorists Dog Eggs back in 2018.
If you’re not familiar with Sheeva Yoga, they play the not-so-serious kind of powerviolence that might resonate with fans of Spazz or Ona Snop, but those who like their beats fast and tracks short can still take something from this record as long as they don’t mind it getting a bit silly at times.
Lyricist and professional historian Skulda uses what might be called a tragi-comedic stance on sociocultural and political themes that the album deals with, leading to some eyebrow raising titles, like “Je suis Charlie – Je suis Voltaire” and “Hitler the Pokemaster”, which at first might seem like sensitive topics, but I am assured that the band and their ideals are strictly DIY and antifascist.
As for the music, there is everything you might expect from an album of sixteen tracks barely clocking in at 14 minutes, and some things you might not. As one track blends into the next, we are treated to a barrage of rapid fire beats and squealing distorted guitar feedback, throat shredding vocals and even some synth on “Locusthila” (which could be a tribute to or a parody of The Locust, or maybe that’s just me reading into it, either way it sounds good) and what sound trumpets (?!) before the record is over.
There are lots of starts and stops, tempo changes, comical samples, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it riffing, and, of course, the odd breakdown here and there. You get all tropes that have become synonymous with powerviolence over the years, but Sheeva Yoga manage to pull this off on a full length without repeating themselves. It’s after a few listens this record really begins to shine and leaves you looking forward to relieving its many highlights.