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Shields: Life In Exile (2018)

Written by: Kev Rowland

Although London-based band Shields have been around since 2012, prior to this they had only released two EP’s, and this their debut album is the first new material for three years. They have been touring a great deal, but given the reputation they have been building it is something of a surprise that it has taken them so long to get this together. What we have here is a metalcore mess of influences, as the band move from almost Muse-style soundscapes into Meshuggah, throwing djent into doom, synth smoothness into raucous riffs, pop into brutality. In many ways it is quite a hard album to listen to as there is never the opportunity to really settle down with Linkin Park being taken into areas they never expected to visit.

There is a great deal of emotion through the album, and a venom that is palpable – the way that Joe Edwards manages to switch his vocal style throughout is certainly impressive. He always seems in control, whether it is a more melodic style or if the band are channelling their inner Slipknot, downtuned and in the groove. It is a dark album; there is a little in the way of light within it, and this makes it incredibly intense throughout. There is plenty of crunch when it needs it, but I did feel that while it is a strong debut it doesn’t real have the spark that makes it stand out. The band have been through a great deal recently, as guitarist George Christie took his own life in January, but hopefully with this release now available, they can put that behind them and move forward. A good as opposed to great debut, metalcore fans will still find this of interest.

Rating: 6/10

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Tracklist:
1. Intimacy
2. Black Dog
3. In The Grey
4. Upside Down
5. White Embers
6. It’s Killing Me
7. Delilah
8. Love Is Dead
9. Mother
10. Sibling
11. N35.E138
12. Aokigahara

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Links:
https://www.facebook.com/Shieldsuk/
https://www.facebook.com/LongBranchRecords/

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