28 May 2020
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City of Souls - Single Review: Shimmer

27 Feb 2020 // A review by Kris Raven

The time is drawing ever closer to the impending, highly anticipated release of NZ Prog/Alt Rock Metal legends City of Souls debut album Synaesthesia. Off the back of several (SIX) epic single releases in the last five years, we received not one, but two brand new singles this week, the beautifully haunting White Ghost and the groove inducing heavy banger Shimmer, which is out today! (with an out of this world music video), all ahead of two huge festival shows in Auckland this weekend. 2020 is a big year for City of Souls and an even bigger year for their loyal fanbase.

Shimmer is the latest single to be released. Beginning with a droning sonic landscape of guitar shrilling noise, imminent riffing and galloping outer snare rim hits, Shimmer launches with a big chunky nu metal-esq riff, designed to get bodies jumping in the pit. In true COS form, the intro isn’t traditional, building up and then pulling back, then re-launching even bigger with huge guitars, speaker right and a bigger speaker left. A massive groove ensues but not without some sneaky little double kicks thrown in courtesy of drummer Corey Friedlander, his drumming always of an exceptional standard, he adds such tasteful kick and high hat work within the mix while maintaining a solid rhythmic foundation with bassist Dan Insley, who I think we can all agree has one of the best bass tones out there, huge but so, so crisp. The verse passage carries a straighter beat, keeping the momentum and pace, pumping along with the chunky palm muted guitar with bass following suit. Vocal powerhouse Richie Simpson’s voice caries so much weight and depth, in the verse his vocals begin a little restrained, building anticipation with every vocal passage, ‘change is coming, change is coming’, such an emotionally controlled force.

The verse then drops into half time before launching into a more progressive-esq pre-chorus, movement fluctuating but well in control and Simpson's vocals escalate, ascending higher and more powerfully. The chorus vocal melody reminds me of a post punk 80’s type vocal, the way its sung and phrased is so different and makes the song and vocal melody so much more interesting and exciting to vibe too. When the second verse hits, its right back into the half time groove and it feels slightly different to verse one. It takes me back to 1997 Deftones, that palm muted chug, the Stephen Carpenter like tone reminiscent of songs like Lhabia, the combined force of Marcus Powell’s Jackson and Trajan Schwencke’s Ibanez make for a heavy set, dominant guitar sound. All the while Steve Boag is creating soundscapes on his guitar, playing beautiful intricate guitar melodies, adding further flavour and syncing with Simpsons incredibly powerful and euphonious voice. They always make use of the three-guitar assault, mixed with ambient tones and textures.

The bridge takes us through various rhythmic changes, off beat drum patterns, with Boag's lead guitar weaving in and out of those heavy groove laced guitar riffs, while Simpson's vocals move like waves-shimmering, ‘let the sun shine down’ echoes with distant harmonies. The song ends with the hooky and somewhat mesmerizing melodic guitar piece heard throughout the bridge. A brilliant composition, well-crafted and executed, plus within the hands of production wizard Forrester Savall, we knew this song would always be next leveI. I found this song grew on me with every listen and I found something new every time. (and yes, I could go on and on). Enjoy Shimmer! and keep your eyes and ears peeled for the new album!

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )
 

About City of Souls

Hype,

It is a word that Auckland six piece City of Souls were bound to deal with from their inception. Boasting members from bands that have etched their mark on the local and international hard rock and metal scene such as Blindspott, Blacklistt, 8 Foot Sativa, New Way Home, Cold By Winter, In Dread Response and Solstate, City of Souls was set to stir some interest, and stir they have.

Too often when something is hyped it is followed with disappointment, yet the first City Of Souls single Sleep arrives unashamedly explosive, touting emotive energy juxtaposed with a certain calm which will become this band’s signature. Recorded between Dreadstorm Media Auckland and Roundhead Studios, it was mixed by legendary engineer Clint Murphy, and mastered at Sterling Sound in New York.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for City of Souls

Releases

Synaesthesia
Year: 2020
Type: Album

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