|a l b u m r e v i e w s|
Released: JUNE 26 / Website
Closest Relative: Journey, Van Hagar
House Of Shakira's long awaited MTM debut, their third studio album overall opens with all the pomp and splendor one could wish for. Then it just gets better.|
On III, the band step out from under the shadows of their influences and for the first time, just sound like House Of Shakira. This album sees the band mature into their own domain. Sure, there are still plenty of Journey like harmonies and soaring choruses, there are a few hard edged Led Zeppelin like guitar riffs and lots of grand Styx like chord progressions and time changes, but this really is the band's finest hour. In fact, it's their finest hour and 5 minutes!
The bands first album Lint was mainly big Journey-esque anthems and multi-layered harmonies, while their second album On The Verge was tougher and harder edge, but I thought lacked a killer punch in the songwriting department.
III combines the best of both those first 2 records. This is even tougher and heavier in places than ever before, but 100% better produced and the effort has been made to ensure every single track has a melodic hook or something to grab you by the throat with.
There is an even split between heavy rockers, pure AOR anthems, and soaring ballads. Combine that with a razor sharp sound and the band's best individual performances to date and this is not only one of the best rock albums of this year, it's one of the best of any year.
Track By Track: Pellucid Part 1 - A traditional Shakira 'tribal' intro.|
Alien - Hard, aggressive, loud and a short heavy chorus that fits the song perfectly.
Wings - Heavier again, a progressive tinged mid tempo rocker with a Led Zeppelin feel and an short, but aggressive chorus and very strong vocals.
In Your Head - An Eddie Van Halen riff gives way to a song that could fit on any Van Hagar album. A mid paced stadium rocker that has one hell of a killer AOR anthem chorus with layers of vocals! Melodic rock at it highest peak.
Nearly Orgasmic - a slightly more laid back semi-acoustic driven AOR ballad. Another soaring anthem chorus that's a little heavier than the verse. Fantastic.
Black And Blue Skies - another big aggressive rocker that fits the flow of the album well. Strong and powerful vocals.
Splitted Hairs - A totally acoustic number with an acappela chorus and sparse vocal over the top. Seemingly a little out of place, but it works well.
Miracle - More Van Hagar / classic Harem Scarem Mood Swings style melodic rock. Uptempo without being heavy, this track is another melodic rock highlight with a melodic verse moving into a totally over the top harmony filled chorus with layers and layers of electric and acoustic guitars giving the song a rich texture. The vocals are pure AOR magic.
Rainbows And Butterflies - an acoustic start that leads into full electric treatment with a solid guitar riff. More multi-layered harmonies and big vocals.
Time That Passed - a moody laid back intro as far as the first chorus, where the vocals are only accompanied by the guitar. A very powerful intro that gains momentum when the full band break in. A heavy rock ballad with one of the biggest and heaviest choruses I have heard on a ballad for a long time! A classic.
Unspoken - And again, more crashing anthem filled melodic hard rock with a vocal guitar intro that gives way to the band at full speed. Another chorus with soaring multi-layered vocals. Just unbelievable.
I Am - changing the pace a little here, just as well, I was about to completely lose it over these great anthems. This is a heavy, aggressive and somewhat complex mid-paced song that contemplates the meaning of life. Of course!
Unforgiven - more classic AOR at it's absolute finest. Most of you should know this uptempo vocal harmony dominated ballad by now from Internet previews. Brilliant, I can't turn it off.
Pellucid Part 2 - back to the complex and heavier side of the band. A song that takes several listens to get to know and like, but you will! And that ends the album for most.
Strangers (Japan) - another moody mid tempo song, a laid back chorus and good vocal.
Wish To Survive (Japan) - A hard edged guitar number that again is more music than the vocals. The chorus is layered, but not as anthemic as the earlier numbers.
Two good bonus tracks, but for sure the best numbers made the main release of the album, so don't stress if you can't get them.
|PRODUCTION: 97%||SONGS: 99%||VIBE: 98%||ATTITUDE: 98%||ESSENTIAL FOR: All melodic rock fans, especially those who love the style and feel of Harem Scarem's 'Mood Swings', Steelhouse Lane and Journey.|
DISCOGRAPHY:Lint . On The Verge . Best Of Two . III