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Shihad - FVEY Album Review

20 Aug 2014 // A review by CEOMong

I don’t know if it’s all in my head or not, but Jaz Coleman’s influence lends a certain classic element and a brooding depth to this album that breaks away from what has become, in recent times, some would say too radio-friendly jams. There’s a satisfying depth to the album the louder it gets – when isn’t that true for Shihad though, I suppose?

The whole album is very energetic, intrinsically angry about the state of the world and powerfully dark, though there’s a feeling of a certain tameness somehow. It’s a great album, as a whole – but I can’t help but feel there’s something off … perhaps it’s because it sounds so gritty and classic, and yet so crisp? A matter of 15 years of hard rocking and growth I guess. In any case, I can’t stop listening to it, and the more I do the better it sounds!

This album was described to me by a friend as a return to the ‘good old days’ – to a certain extent I agree, it’s definitely harder than more recent albums, but to me it feels more about the band doing what they want, not trying to satisfy or … ahem … pacify anyone (sorry – I couldn’t resist).

Anyhow, enough of the cheese, here’s what I found …

Think You're So Free – hook to the face to start things rolling … then straight raw power chords. Lovely. I like the swagger of this track, and the aggression of it all. A great start. You’ve heard this one on the radio though, so let’s just carry on, shall we?

FVEY – the albums’ title track is melodic and very catchy. I especially like the hook – got the head banging. Very elegant chorus – drop on Five Eyes Looking Dooooowwwwwwnnnnnn … rolls into a chasm … and the chute pops open as the tempo abruptly changes – mashing the drums and thrusting heady gax, before coasting back for another run. Very nicely done. Somehow the pace and body of the track gets bigger and fuller, without crowding itself – so powerful and massive. Love it.

The Big Lie – I don’t know how to describe the feeling of this one, somehow bluesy, very … British? This song perhaps of all of them, to me anyway, epitomises the whole sound of the album, a really big sound, laden with ponderous ebbs and flows whilst staying really heady. See what I mean? Hard to describe. I like it, despite being muddy yet powerful. Odd but lovely, like a hot cousin. Perhaps that’s the lie …

Grey Area – here’s some classic sounding Shihad riffs, grinding and powerful, ruthless drums. Love the hook!

The Living Dead – beautiful riff on this track, I was desk drumming every time I heard it. Favourite track so far, rhythmically if nothing else. Nice drops and bridges and a full atmospheric feel. Nice to have cranked up especially when that chorus hits – man I got chills, I tells ya!

Song For No One - strong melodic track, I quite like the slow build to the chorus and massive cathartic singalongability potential. Awesome.

The Great Divide – mint intro, the easily missed hoots and cat-calls did it for me – check it out, guarantee it makes you grin. Bash hook at 30 sec, flows into a plodding riff that transforms nicely into the chorus, before falling into a grinding bridge around 4 mins. Love the feeling of this track – another favourite.

Model Citizen – rhythm heavy, just as powerful as the preceding tracks and as aggressive.

Wasted In The West – tweaky gax intro, reminds me of Arctic Monkeys, weirdly. Carries on the theme of the album quite nicely, playing on the same harmonics and steady riffs before dropping into a nice chewy chorus echoing smoothly back to the next verse. Nice outro to finish off, with a sweet wee solo entangled in there.

Love's Long Shadow – a slower pace presented here, which swoons nicely into the chorus which in turn lends itself nicely to a bit of a singalong, and a resting solo. I can easily imagine a packed arena screaming this anthem …

Cheap As – boot stomping intro, wicked wee progression and pace where the atmos builds up … another epic tune, ripping on all that’s ill in the world. Another sweet anthem – and not just for the opportunity to scream ‘fuck’! Well-paced and audible vox make for an entrancing listen, this of all the tracks I think demonstrates the feeling and theme behind the album.

All in all, a great album that gains depth and generally just gets better with every listen. I can’t wait to see this material live – it’s going to kick ass and breed a while new generation of stadium anthems I reckon.

… and over and over and over and over and over … do you think we’ll wake up?


About Shihad

Picture this… 1988, Bob Hawke is Prime Minister, Australia dumps $600 million bucks of tax payer cash on Expo 88, Home and Away hits our tellies for the first time, Triple J launch the Hottest 100, Nintendo release the Game Boy, free University education is no longer an option, and over in Wellington NZ, the Southernmost capital city in the world, Jon Toogood and Tom Larkin are busily creating a heavy rock band…. A monstrous band that would end up becoming one of New Zealand’s most loved, respected and successful exports… Kia ora Shihad!

Fast forward to 2020… Jon, Tom, lead guitarist Phil Knight (who they found through a music shop notice board ad in 1989) and bass player Karl Kippenberger, who joined the band in 1993, (from being a fan) have released nine studio albums (five of which went to #1 in NZ). They survived a name change propelled by Jihad becoming a staple negative reference in the global vernacular thanks to 9/11 (Shihad became Pacifier, and returned to Shihad), personal triumphs and tragedies, travelled all over the world with endless tours, selling out headline shows and sharing stages at major local and international festivals, and touring with musical heroes like Motorhead, Metallica, Faith No More and AC/DC to name a few! In 2010 they were inducted into the New Zealand Music’s Hall Of Fame. And just like Neil Finn, Russell Crowe and every other successful person or idea to come out of NZ… Australia quickly adopted them as our own, showering them with ARIA nominations, adoration and ownership of their global success.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Shihad


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