Since their formation in 2012, Shields have been grafting away with their take on modern day metalcore, developing and making attempts a
Since their formation in 2012, Shields have been grafting away with their take on modern day metalcore, developing and making attempts at perfecting themselves with every release. Life in Exile is what could be considered their long overdue debut album; promising twelve tracks of scream your lungs out anthems that could rival UK scene heroes such as Architects and While She Sleeps.
As soon as opening tracks ‘Intimacy’ and ‘Black Dog’ kick in you know how this album is going to go; it follows every metalcore trope laid out by every band of this ilk before them. Djent style riffing, clean choruses, bass drops, with occasional twinkles of technicality similar to Veil of Maya or Volumes, which is the redeeming factor here.
Life In Exile does find itself in some difficulties though. With what’s described to us as ‘Atmospheric tech metal’ yet featuring next to nothing atmospheric, unless labeling an electronic interlude between breakdowns as atmospheric is the new in thing, which quite honestly is a slap in a face to artists like Cult of Luna and Amenra, who have forged a legacy for themselves on the basis of creating atmosphere.
As much negative commentary has been spewed out here, it’s not all doom and gloom. As over-saturated and listener friendly a genre such as metalcore has become, this isn’t a bad record per say. Yes it does play to tropes we’ve all heard before, but it does them a wholeheartedly better than a lot of other bands. Yes there’s the typical clean chorus on every song, but singer Sam Kubrick belts them out with conviction. Yes there’s the typical breakdown every other section, but they're also hard as nails when done right. Even the staunchest of purist metalhead wont be able to resist nodding along to the chorus on ‘It’s Killing Me’ or the absolute groove of ‘Sibling’.
Arguably, Life in Exile is a record that gets better as it goes on, with it’s strongest parts seeming to be spread out across the latter half of the album. What Life in Exile lacks in originality, it makes up by playing to it’s own strengths, with genre staple moments done to a high standard. Metalcore fans won’t be disappointed in the slightest with this record.