For Fans Of
It seems that bands the world over are running out of nouns to add the plurals to for their band moniker. Eventually we’ll probably start getting metalcore bands with names like Shoes, Doors, Volumes and Structures and – oh, yeah. Well in any case, even with a stock standard name like Shields, this U.K. group have some potential to them, it’s just a shame that the delivery is pretty generic and average.
See, their new EP, ‘Guilt’, sounds and feels like so, so, so many other metalcore releases out there at the moment, and while the band pull off the sound well, they don’t have anything particularly remarkable surrounding them. That is, of course, not really their fault, but goddamn, with so many bands playing this brand of music, you really have to get the song-writing just right to capture people’s attention quickly and effectively, and Shields come close. Oh, so tantalisingly close that they’ve got their face squashed up against the glass in a depressing, yearning fashion.
The band have clearly gone down the checklist of their genre when writing these songs. Breakdowns? Tick. Drop tunings? Oh yeah. Dual vocal style of cleans and screams? You betcha. Couple bass drops? Uh-huh. Injecting progressive elements into their sound? You had better double tick that shit right away.
Even when the band aim to go heavy, it still falls a little flat. ‘No Hope’ is arguably the heaviest song, but it becomes a bit dull towards the end, and maybe that’s because it just feels repetitive and heavy for the sheer sake of it. The titular track thankfully has the scope and the energy to revitalise your ears, and it comes at just the right point before you press stop. But that in itself isn’t the best compliment to give. ‘Jordan’ does hint at something more musically ambitious as it progresses, and its more personal subject matter is easily the strongest part of the track, which in turn makes it the best track of the EP and really the first reason you should be listening in.
The second reason why you should be listening in is because of the final track. Now, if you can’t see the correlation or connection of the EP’s opening and closing tracks, ‘I’ve Dealt With Worse’ and ‘But This Feels Worse’ then maybe logical thought just isn’t quite your strong suit. The former is a decent start to the EP but it never really goes anywhere, whereas the latter is a snow-balling, melodic, ambient number that reaches epic proportions. It starts with some atmospheric, clean guitars coupled with throaty screams to great effect, and then about mid-way through, it hits with some real punch when the band come in together for what is arguably the best single goddamn moment of the EP. Then it fades away to reveal soft clean singing in a brief, but very effective closing section.
The batting average for Shields is pretty average, but every now and then they hit a home run that gets the crowd up off their disenfranchised feet. So hey, three out of five of these songs are the dog’s bollocks, and that’s great, but that leaves 2 pretty average songs holding down what could have been a really solid release. Still, ‘Guilt’ isn’t the worst EP of the year and well, this is what iTunes playlists were made for.
1. I’ve Dealt With Worse
2. No Hope
5. But This Feels Worse