Album Review: Shields - 'Life In Exile'

Shields’ debut album: it’s been a long time coming.

Way back in 2013, Shields released their self-titled EP. Then came the single: I Just Feel Hate - easily their most viewed track on YouTube. It’s taken the band five years and another EP to finally unleash their debut masterpiece onto the world. Guilt (2015) was a second taster of what the band could do, but Life In Exile is a serious step above. The two initial singles from the record, It’s Killing Me and Black Dog, set the tone for the whole album. It’s heavy, melodic, and ultimately something to be proud of.

Within the first three tracks you’re presented with disgustingly harsh vocals and Blade Runner-esque electronics in Intimacy; Black Dog provides the lowest tunings on the entire album; In The Grey boasts some serious groove. It’s good to see Sam taking up some more of the scream duties alongside Joe – too often, bands have simply one vocalist screaming and the other providing cleans. Having Sam bringing the occasional baritone grit and Joe delving into the melodic-group-chorus-shout-y style shows a side to Shields that will attract new audiences from far and wide. Upside Down will have crowds bouncing with its catchy hooks both clean and harsh. This isn’t one of those albums that starts well and peters out after the fourth song or so; Life In Exile is a constant stream of head rocking, body moving and emotional outpouring. N35.E135//Aokigahara close the album poignantly – with a proportion of the content on the record relating to suicide, it would be wrong not to mention the sad passing of Shields’ guitarist George Christie at the beginning of the year. To quote the words of the band: “Don’t suffer alone, someone always cares.

Life in Exile is released the 20th April 2018 via Long Branch Records. The album release show on April 21st is accompanied by Silent Screams, Create To Inspire and Our Hollow, Our Home at Boston Music Rooms – it’s sure to be sold out so don’t hang around to buy a ticket.

Words by Rhys Haberfield