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Shields – Life In Exile album review

Tech-metalcore upstarts Shields find themselves in the wake of a tragedy

Shields Life In Exile album artwork
Life In Exile

1. Intimacy
2. Black Dog
3. In The Grey
4. Upside Down
5. White Embers
6. It's Killing Me
7. Delilah
8. Love Is Dead
9. Mother
10. Sibling
11. N35.E138
12. Aokigahara

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London ensemble Shields lost their guitarist, George Christie, to suicide in January, and this tragic loss makes listening to Life In Exile, their debut LP, all the more devastating. Having spent years skirting the toilet circuit being lauded as ‘ones to watch’ on the scene, the guys unleash wave after wave of rampage and visceral destruction with this release, but with the innate ability to shift between atmospheric soundscapes and uncompromising brutality. 

On the highly emotive Black Dog and lead track It’s Killing Me, Joe Edward’s nihilistic growls wrestle with guitarist Sam Kubrick’s stirring cleans, while Aokigahara showcases a triumphant encapsulation of the doom-laden defiance and brutal honesty that make up the 43-minute runtime. 

Bursting with passion and despair, Life In Exile delves into the darkest recesses of the psyche, but ultimately transcends the emotional turmoil that these guys have endured.