“Total brutality from start to finish,” that’s how drummer Tom larkin describes Shihad’s new album, FVEY, and judging from the first sounds taken from the band’s ninth studio album – due to land 15th August – he’s not wrong.
‘Think You’re So Free’ is all low-end guitar riffage and stop-start muscular shifts, and recalls peak era Jane’s Addiction without the fancy frills and even the industrial grind of Nine Inch Nails in its densely-mixed distortion and frontman Jon Toogood’s call-to-arms vocal delivery.
But most pointedly, the heralding single from FVEY (pronounced ‘Five Eyes’ apparently) recalls Shihad’s earliest albums as wild-eyed, metal-loving New Zealand teenagers. Fittingly enough because Shihad’s latest has the same producer as their 1993 debut, Churn, Killing Joke’s Jaz Coleman after the band repaired the career-long rift between the two parties, as Toogood explains to the New Zealand Herald
“It was just the perfect meeting of what we wanted to do and having the right guy to do it with,” explains the frontman, who along with Larkin, bass player Karl Kippenberger, and guitarist Phil Knight, recorded their latest set with Coleman at Auckland’s York Street Studio in December last year.
FVEY and ‘Think You’re So Free’ pump with the veins of a songwriter tackling injustice, as Toogood explains: “I just wanted to talk about the widening gap between the rich and the poor, and the ugly conclusion of free market capitalism when it goes crazy without any constraints and how it’s a soulless and selfish, disgusting void. My intention for the record was to illuminate that for myself and just to say what was in my head rather than grumbling about it on Facebook.”
Check out Shihad’s hulking new single below: