New Zealand via Melbourne rock legends Shihad recently released FVEY (pronounced Five Eyes). Recorded in December last year at Auckland’s famous York Street Studio with Killing Joke frontman, Jaz Coleman at the production helm, FVEY is definitely a new direction of the four piece.
When frontman Jon Toogood, drummer Tom Larkin, bass payer Karl Kippenberger and guitarist Phil Knight reconvened in Melbourne during the winter of 2013 for a lock down writing session it was a natural move to conjure up a much more brutal set of songs. “Total brutality from start to finish,” says Larkin.
Toogood explained the band’s new direction “we make really good heavy metal and heavy rock and we know how to make it sound really big.” An ideology that is clearly marked by the album’s first single, ‘Think You’re So Free’.
“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.” Toogood states, as you listen to the LP you can hear that frustration with political and social injustice, a strong lyrical motif carried throughout the record. To celebrate the release of FVEY, he has given us a track by track run down of the LP.
Think You’re So Free
“The system is fixed. Our elected officials policy decisions are bought and paid for by businessmen with the most to gain from their outcome.
Our gods are material ones inspiring fear, anger and resentment in people and is a path to unhappiness, emptiness and discontent. When it’s all about serving yourself people become selfish, isolating themselves from each other.
Worship the mighty dollar! – it will set you free – that is until you have to upgrade the car because the next door neighbour just got a nicer one. Until you have to buy a bigger house because your boss just got a bigger one. The problem is that there will always be someone with more than you. There’ll always be someone better looking, more charismatic with a more beautiful partner who seems happier and more fulfilled than you. It’s a road to nowhere. Ultimately, we are all the same. We all eat, sleep, shit, live, love and then die. And we take nothing with us when we go.
What does it say for a society when a person who wants to help someone less fortunate than themselves is written off as unrealistic, a dreamer, labelled a ‘leftie’ and their attitude discredited as somehow being the way a “loser’ thinks. Why are the people who do the most selfless, important jobs in our society – teachers, nurses etc. are paid considerably less than the stock-market gamblers trading in things that keep people around the world in poverty, destroying their ecosystems and propping up even more corrupt governments.
Who’s the most selfish? – Reward them! We’re losing our humanity yet we are human. We just keep forgetting.”
“The language of modern politics is so carefully choreographed, so heavily researched, so finely groomed that it leaves no room for truth or humanity. Nothing comes out of a political leader’s mouth without having first been through some meticulous market research and simplified into a moronic, us vs. them, 24 hour news cycle sound bite.
It’s not so much “This is what I believe” but more “This is what our research told us the majority of the population would like us to say” or, if they’re trying sell something that goes against the public good you get “Look over there! It’s something scary! Don’t worry, we’ll protect you!” It’s all lies and I can’t watch anymore.”
The Big Lie
“Corporations owning armies, selling weapons, creating misery and war to make yet more money from it. The private sector influencing the public sector yet again by getting our elected officials to sell us their agendas by telling us to be very afraid and that it’s all for the greater good. It’s a great democracy, if you can afford it.”
Loves Long Shadow
“Watching my father pass away was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Watching the effect it had on my Mother was even harder. They had been married for 49 years and were best friends. With this song I wanted to explore what that must’ve felt like for her and to test out that old cliché “it is better to have love and lost than to have never loved at all” which I think is ultimately correct but makes the loss no less painful. Ultimately it’s another thing that illustrates the beautiful bittersweet balance of life.”
The Living Dead
“People are easier to control if they’re distracted. Feed them The Block, The Voice, X Factor. Give them the latest, whoever the fuck celebrity with the best fake tits and the most followers on Twitter. They’re so beautiful. Why aren’t I more like them? I suppose I’ll have to go and spend tons of money on trying to make myself more like them so I can look at myself in the mirror. So I can sleep at night. What’s that person got to say about life that’s any more important than your own experiences? Nothing is what. It’s all an illusion. It’s all distraction to keep you from realising (or even caring) that you’re being fucked over every day of your life.”
“A government collecting metadata from its own people’s digital communications giving it the ability to see what people are saying to each other in personal conversations? Sounds pretty treacherous to me. Almost Orwellian in fact. Especially considering that information can now be handed over to foreign governments if requested. If that isn’t an act of treason I don’t know what is. And the argument of “well if you’ve got nothing to hide why should it bother you?” doesn’t wash with me at all. I value my privacy. It’s part of what defines me as a free citizen and for me it’s a huge part of what it means to be human.”
“Our politicians are liars and have sold us out to big business. They’ll look the other way while moral atrocities are acted out on innocent people in our name for what I’d consider a very very small price. Meanwhile we’re told that greed is good and people with less are lazy. We’re taught to believe that money will buy us happiness and that selfishness will reward us with money. It’s a road to nowhere. It’s all lies and distractions to keep us separated while the powers that be can get on with fixing the game without being challenged.”
The Great Divide
“Humans love to have certainty. We like to think we have all the answers. It seems to be part of our genetics. We love to feel like we’re part of a team that is ‘right’ – It just seems to make this chaotic thing we call life that much easier to deal with -and to really pull this off we need other groups of people to be ‘wrong’. The lengths we will go to do this can bring out the worst in us. Racism. Murder. Torture. You name it. All this while forgetting the fact that we are all ultimately the same and that humanity is actually is one big team.”
Song For No One
“When my Dad died I realised that life had passed by really quickly for him and that the same was happening for me. It also reminded me that my life was no more or less special than the next persons and that was a great leveller for me. It didn’t depress me. In fact it made life that much more beautiful and precious.”
“When the guys who fucked the financial system are still getting huge bonuses each year while the people who’s money they gambled away are left to eat shit you know there’s something wrong that needs to be seriously addressed.”
Wasted in the West
“See all of the above.”
Tuesday 9th September | The Zoo | Brisbane
Friday 26th September | Workers Club | Melbourne
FVEY is out now via Warnet, for more info visit www.shihad.com