I first encountered Shields back in 2013 while surfing YouTube. I came across their jam “I Just Feel Hate,” which is a quite the bouncy tune, in case you have yet to spin it. A few years passed, and the band suddenly started to pop up more and more frequently in my newsfeed, since one of my Facebook friends, George Christie (RIP), had begun working with them and later performing with the group. Always fond of George’s compositions and production style, I immediately caught up with everything that I had missed. Life In Exile, a twelve-track banger from these Brits, is everything I love about metalcore and hardcore smashed together.
The first track, “Intimacy,” begins abruptly and morphs into an industrial, metal, Mortal Kombat amalgam, much like any intimate moment, I suppose. It gradually grows and eventually decelerates into a beatdown featuring one of the most disgusting, high screams I’ve ever heard. I was lifting when I first heard it, and I nearly became incontinent. Yeah, so… might want to put down the burrito.
Every song delivers some serious punishment, and the melodic development that ties it all together is refreshing. Take “Upside Down,” for instance. The riffs are merciless, yet the turnarounds are so well thought through that that the music seamlessly moves between harmonically-driven moments into further motif development, not to mention the perfectly planned spin down. Something I really admire in the vocal delivery and writing is the back and forth between clean melodies, pitched yells and various screams, like a layered cake of vocals. The lyrics also strike me as some of the most memorable in a while. “I am afraid of dying, but I’m not scared of Death” – like… yup. Same. That part hit me so hard in the feels that I’m sore.
Well done, guys! Life In Exile is everything I could have hoped for. The live performance of these songs, fellas?? Must be bonkers.
Life In Exile Track Listing:
02. Black Dog
03. In The Grey
04. Upside Down
05. White Embers (feat. Spencer Charnas)
06. It’s Killing Me
08. Love Is Dead
09. Mother (feat. Joel Heywood)
Run Time: 43:18
Release Date: April 20, 2018
We’d tell you to beware of the “Blag Dog,” but that would be utterly mental.