Little did I know that back in 2012, Shields would become one of the most influential bands of my adolescence. Their music and the time they took to speak to me after shows, and to impart wisdom and advice during some of the toughest moments of my life were invaluable and It’s what made supporting them even more worthwhile. I knew they had the potential to become something big, and now in 2018 it seems that time has finally come.
Losing my Grandma in November 2017 was devastating and affected my mental health in such a ruthless manner, but Shields‘ music continued to help me and teach me whilst I came to terms with this loss.
This post will be indefinitely be the most important review I will ever write, a cathartic release of emotion in response to the most raw, venomous and potent album I have ever heard since Iowa by Slipknot.
Ever since their first single “Walls” all those years ago they have grown from strength to strength. And they have been such a blessing and a humbling collective that have assisted me and countless others with the music they create. They invest everything into what they do. Whether it’s on stage or off. I hope that as they read this review, they can cherish knowing that I like many other dedicated fans truly are grateful for their blood, sweat and tears and are forever in debt to them. These guys are the next big thing. I am certain of it.
I would like to send my condolences to the band, friends and family of the late George Christie who passed in January 2018, which this record is now dedicated in loving memory of. He was an inspiration, a truly brilliant and intelligent, lucid, kind human being with so much talent and ingenuity. He would be so proud of every single one of you for your display of strength, generosity and compassion as well as your determination to overcome this time of grief, prevailing with such a momentous album that defines the genre.
“Life In Exile” is Shields debut offering via Long Branch Records, who they recently signed to alongside label mates From Sorrow to Serenity and Silent Screams. The record is available on April 20th 2018, and it one of the most purest, intense strains of Metalcore infused with melodic, anthem-like choruses and punishing, groove-infested breakdowns and riffs that produce some of the most harrowing-ly brutal results.
After the release of “It’s Killing Me” and “Black Dog” – the bar was already set extremely high and also invited a lot of wander into what the record could sound like. I still have fond memories of the Guilt EP and Self-titled release from 2013 and 2015 with tracks such as “Your Forked Tongue”, “The Silence”, “Jordan” and “But This Feels Worse” – however, the band has blossomed, matured and developed into the most refined and distinguished underground band with this collection of 12 tracks. The sound they once possessed is now focused on groove, anthem-like choruses and more bile in their aggressive delivery. The savagery found on “Guilt” still remains in the DNA of Shields, but it’s more calm, and expressed in a more adult manner but with added grit and tenacity.
The contrast of Joe Edward’s tormented, raw, harsh and distinctive vocal range met with Sam Kubrick’s heartfelt, emotive, passionate cleans layered onto some of the most gritty riffs provide so many memorable moments that push the record above it’s peers and other established musicians that they draw influence from.
Tracks such as “In The Grey” and “Mother” (feat. Joel Heywood, Silent Screams – who I will say blew me away with his addition on the album) are some of the more stand-out tracks on the record with their chaotic, chuggy, hardcore hooks and punchy riffs that add a great deal of bite. The tone of the guitars add throaty distinction in cohesion with the incredible double bass footwork of Alex Rayner who continues to impress with his flourish of drum fills and patterns which add so much depth. The latest addition of Lawrence Welling on bass adds chunky, low end that rounds out the mix – making the outfit the most impressive they have been in years and seals them in a more concrete state with strong chemistry and an unbreakable bond that is very apparent. These 4 guys have the potential to change this scene for the greater good, and indirectly cause others to take notice and influence with how music should be, it is a remarkable 43 minutes worth of the greatest Metalcore you can obtain. It is honest, it is transparent and the lyrical motifs go straight for the jugular. It is the perfect album I have looked after for years.
And as I bring this to a close, I advise you pre-order this record and try and get a ticket to their Album release show on April 21st at The Boston Music Rooms, London or alternatively catch them with Oceans Ate Alaska in June/July on various UK dates and witness this monumental, monolithic record in full glory. To Sam, Joe, Alex and Larry, I am extremely humbled for all you have done and wish you the best for all that comes your way.
Shields release the perfect strain of Metalcore with their debut offering "Life In Exile". Using such aggressive and melodic soundscapes to provoke such emotional reactions. They have set the bar and standard for years to come. A triumphant battle cry in homage to their former guitarist and beloved, late friend George Christie. An unforgettable milestone for the genre and a remarkable record under the Long Branch Records name.