Way of the SHVRIKEN: Forging metal, samurai style

Way of the SHVRIKEN: Forging metal, samurai style
SHVRIKEN

Cebu’s very own SHVRIKEN has emerged victorious at the Wacken Metal Battle Philippines on June 16, 2024, at MetroTent Convention Center, Pasig, setting its sights on the grand stage in Germany from July 31 to Aug. 3. This milestone marks a significant achievement for the band and places Cebu on the international metal map.

SunStar Lifestyle had the privilege of chatting with the Cebu metal band members to delve into their journey, musical influences and their upcoming plans for the Wacken Open Air Festival.

From humble beginnings to a monumental victory

SHVRIKEN’s story began in 2016 with vocalist Shawn “Shin” Talacero and guitarist Dave “Gyobu” Orat. Initially, the band performed Metalcore and Nu-metal covers, drawing inspiration from Japanese culture and anime. The band underwent several lineup changes before solidifying its core in 2022 with bassist Pormz “Katsumoto” Porminal and drummer Jom “Kai” Perpetua. Earl “Tenzen” Borres joined the lineup in 2023, further enhancing their sound and stage presence.

“The former members of the band consisted of various members from Three Legged Men, shout outs to them since some of them started SHVRIKEN,” shared Shawn, “Our name, SHVRIKEN, reflects our fascination with Japanese history, especially the era of samurais and shinobi. We wanted our music and image to embody that spirit.”

Despite not making it to the finals in the 2023 Wacken Metal Battle, SHVRIKEN persevered and clinched the grand champion title in 2024.

Winning the Wacken Metal Battle Philippines is a monumental achievement for SHVRIKEN, making them the first band from Cebu to win it all the way at this prestigious event. The band members expressed their excitement and the immense pressure they feel to make their country proud.

“It feels glorious, but the pressure is real. We are honored to have this opportunity and aim to make Cebu proud on the international stage,” said Jom.

Music style, creative process

SHVRIKEN’s musical style is a fusion of modern metal with a touch of progressive elements, characterized by extended-range guitars, groovy riffs and high-energy performances. The band draws inspiration from international acts like Meshuggah, Monuments, Periphery, Veil of Maya and Born of Osiris.

To truly appreciate SHVRIKEN’s music style, one should listen to its official entry to the Wacken Metal Battle Philippines 2024, “SEKIGAHARA.” This track is an electrifying fusion of raw power, technical adeptness and emotional intensity. It features guitar riffs that strike a balance between aggression and melody, underpinned by a thunderous rhythm section with drums and pulsating bass. The guttural growls of the vocals add a unique layer of expression, reminiscent of a berserking ronin during feudal Japan, capturing the spirit of untamed warriors in musical form.

SHVRIKEN’s music creation starts with a riff or groove, often recorded on a phone before being developed into a full song. The band uses Reaper for drum programming and collaborates closely to finalize its tracks.

“Everyone in the band has a specific role,” said Shawn. “Jom is our tech chief. Pormz handles merch and our stage look. Dave and Earl are the main songwriters. I focus on lyrics and graphic design. Decision-making is always a collective process.”

Influence of the Cebu Metal Scene and looking ahead

Despite the challenges posed by a divided local metal scene, SHVRIKEN sees this as motivation to strive harder. They hope their success will inspire unity within the Cebu metal community.

“Being a Cebuano musician is tough due to the discerning audience, but it also makes us better,” said Pormz.

Fans can expect an electrifying performance from SHVRIKEN at the Wacken Open Air Festival. The band is set to release two new songs, “Hellwalker” on June 28, and another shortly after its return from Germany. As for special surprises, they prefer to keep those under wraps for now.

“Keep doing what you love. Who cares about the people who doubt you? Just keep at it,” shared Shawn for aspiring metal bands.

“Practice, practice, practice. Even when you don’t have gigs, it’s vital to keep honing your skills. Research and invest in gear that suits your vision” added Dave.

As SHVRIKEN gears up to represent the Philippines on the world stage, their journey serves as an inspiration for aspiring musicians. Their dedication, passion and resilience have paved the way for a promising future in the global metal scene.

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