I expected something much heavier of the new Shapeshifter album, but what they’ve produced is an album that is more subtle than their previous offerings. The System is a Vampire offers a grandiose sound that focuses more on the melody rather than the drum and bass side of their music. Smoother and softer than previous works, the band still manages to keep a sense of edginess in their third full-length studio effort.
First track of the album, ‘Dutchies’ leads off with a slow crescendo of percussion and synthesizers before Paora ‘P Digsss’ Apera comes in with powerful vocals that finish the build up into one of the heavier, faster tracks on the album. The full body of Apera’s voice resonates over the music like smoke above the dance floor all the way through to the end.
Tracks like ‘Lifetime’ and ‘Warning’ sound almost as if they could be played in an alternative jazz lounge, keeping with the mellow style of the album but straying away from anything remotely drum and bass. ‘Twin Galaxies’, however, stays closer to what Shapeshifter are known for, with a faster beat that signals the high point as far as tension goes on the album.
The System is a Vampire offers a blend of sounds that are still familiarly Shapeshifters, yet are unique in their presentation. This is not a drum and bass album but rather soulful dance music that transcends other genres, leaving you unable to really categorize it under any one label.