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Shihad decided to throw a hint of nostalgia in with their ninth studio album ‘FVEY,’ (pronounced ‘Five Eyes’) opting to work once again with Killing Joke frontman Jaz Coleman, who produced the band’s debut back in 1993 ‘Churn.’
The result sets Shihad in their element, where they really have always been: big rock riffs, building song structures and aggressive yet melodic vocal lines. Opening track ‘Think You’re So Free’ recalls the ‘Alive’ time period with front man Jon Toogood singing over rough razor like riffs that cut with stabs and a solid drum line carrying the whole thing.
As the record continues on with its title track, it becomes clear that Toogood seems a little paranoid about being watched by the higher powers these days and these anarchistic messages are sprinkled like frustrated reminders throughout the entire album.
The album’s bio will have you believe, and we quote, “FVEY sounds unlike anything Shihad have done before,” and this could not be further from the truth. The person that wrote this bio either didn’t listen to the record or doesn’t know Shihad because this sounds EXACTLY like everything they have done before, in this case however it’s not a bad thing. Shihad have been around for nine albums, that’s actually quite a lot, and in that time they have branched out every now and then and experimented with different sounds, here on ‘FVEY,’ it feels as though they have taken all of that experience, and applied it to writing down-the-line, quality hard rock songs, and it works.
The hard chugging pal mutes of ‘The Big Lie’, which open up into a huge chorus, the grating distortion of riff heavy ‘The Living Dead’, Shihad are giving you something with balls that you can bang your head to while singing along equally. The album steers clear of too many “nice” sounding moments, which is a slight shame as Shihad do these well, opting to instead drive everything with sinister sounding guitars and plenty of groove.
Horns in the air people, Shihad, like always, have your rock covered. These guys have been doing this consistently for over twenty years without ever becoming boring or irrelevant, and ‘FVEY’ is as worthy of becoming something special to the current generation just like ‘The General Electric’ was to the one before it.
1. Think You’re So Free
3. The Big Lie
4. Grey Area
5. The Living Dead
6. Song For No One
7. The Great Divide
8. Model Citizen
9. Wanted In The West
10. Loves Long Shadow
11. Cheap As