Shihad
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Shihad

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia | MAJOR

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia | MAJOR
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Its hard to believe that the genesis for this band has been banging away for night on twenty years. 'Love Is The New Hate' sounds like a racket bashed out by teenage long-hairs raised on Metallica's 'Ride The Lightning' and ACDC's 'Highway To Hell'. And all the better for it.

LITNH is an album for those that stumbled across, and were slayed by Shihad's Fear Factory support at Selina's back in 1993. Or for the younger set, those that could barley contain themselves chanting Shihad between songs at recent Pacifier gigs. This is Shihad hammering out rock/ metal with absolutely no concession to US radio. it sits somewhere between the industrial metal of their debut album 'Churn' and its straight down the line metallic rocking career highlight (until now), that was the follow up, 'Killjoy'.

Not that they've reverted back to the dank swirling of electronic sampled wash of then producer Jaz Coleman's influenced debut. But 'Day Will Come' could have been lifted straight out of the same jagged snarling cramped corner that spawned the highlights from that release - 'Factory', 'Screw Top' and 'Bone Orchard'.

'All The Young Fascists' and 'Big Future' are pure 'Killjoy'. Snapping abrasive looping rhythms, driven into the dirt by Jon Toogood's never-sounded-better, passionately melodic vocal attack.

Importantly on the latest, Shihad still know that without space, no one can hear (or care that they) scream. Open 'None Of The Above', 'Dark Times', 'Saddest Song In The World' and the closer 'Guts And The Glory' being tuneful pop inspired escorts for 'Deb's Night Out'.

Just when they threaten to overwhelm, they drop back to respite by the succinct melancholic building progression of 'Stop'.

Somewhat surprisingly from an album devoid of duds, the stuttered riff rocker that is the first single, 'Alive' is the weakest track. 'Love Is The New Hate' is Shihad to their damn near perfect Killjoy(ing) best.
- The Drum Media Sydney


Listening to Shihad's comeback album, 12 years after they founded in Wellington, New Zealand, you can almost see the smile on their faces as they tear through some of their heaviest, most uplifting songs yet. Reinvigorated and free of the US based hassles that saw them change their name, LITNH is full of unashamedly big songs that seem designed for the band to have fun with live - songwriting, enthusiasm and delivery - Shihad have taken on board the lessons learnt from more than a decade in the music business. While there are a couple of spots that point to a professional act still re-finding their feet, this is a strong return. And it signals a bright future for a group that grow with every release. Welcome back. - Rolling Stone Australia


Shihad copped a lot of shit for changing their name to Pacifier. The story goes, that on the eve of their ill fated foray into the US, September 11 happened and the number crunchers at their American label deemed their original moniker too close to Islamic holy war or 'jihad', to be marketed to the mall-going Mid West. The choice facing the band was simple; change the name, or trade in the dream of reaching the kind of massive audience they’d always deserved. Not much of a choice, really. Who could blame them?

But now, with the American expedition little more than a sour memory, the mighty Kiwi quartet have returned reverting to their true name (c'mon, like we though of them as anything but Shihad anyway?) and emerged with the much darker, heavier album, 'Love Is The New Hate'.

Whilst 2000's seminal Shihad barnstormer, 'The General Electric', was all stadium-sized reverb, giant drums and the kind of guitar sound to die for (yes, who can forget the sound of every string ringing on that big sweeping G chord in the title track!) not to mention track upon track of killer songs, it was 2002's follow up 'Pacifier' album which suffered from overly slick American production, and somehow diluted the raw energy of the band, leaving the repertoire of excellent tune such as 'Run', 'Comfort Me' and 'Bulletproof' to be met (somewhat unfairly) with lukewarm response. Now, 2005 sees Shihad come full circle in every sense, with many of the songs harking back to the industrial and metallic roots of their earlier work in 'Churn' (1993) and 'Killjoy' (1995).

Indeed, LITNH is a violent piece of work. An edgier, and daresay, bitter return to form. It’s the sound of four men, angry at their lot, yet resolute in their craft, hammering it out tooth n' nail in a dark room. Sweaty and claustrophobic. Whatever darkness befell the band Stateside, it certainly seems to have fuelled the fire in their bellies, and honed the proverbial glint in the eyes, because they have come back from the shadows with one weighty weapon in hand.

'None Of The Above', starts proceedings beguilingly. Atmospheric volume swells, and a gently plucked guitar line, as Jon Toogood's mournful melody muses that "things don't always go as planned". Given their history, such a sentiment is something Shihad can instruct us in well.

Enter the signature Shihad wall of sound, as 'Empty Shell' erupts out of the speakers. In this instant, with the aggression of those twin guitars, the distorted pulse Karl K's bass, the metronomic pound of Tom Larkin's kit, and Jon Toogood's anguished howl, one this is absolutely clear - Shihad are back.

The band have states this is their 'metal' record, and yes, the guitar sound is significantly more abrasive as Phil Knight deploys an arsenal of palm muted slab-sized riffage. Take the short sharp shards of six string that punctuate the verses of the drum-driven 'Day Will Come', as larkin showcases some truly impressive tom-work. Then there's the spat rap of 'Big Future' and 'Traitor', with their similarly incessant guitar assault.

So to, Toogod's lyrics are infinitely more venomous. Themes of disillusionment and despair prevail, Take 'Empty Shell' and the line "Hell raining down upon you/ Wait for the sky to fall/ And life goes grinding on like a month of fucking Sundays". But fans fear not. For all these new 'heavier' aspects, the melodic strengths that make Shihad the much loved band they are, remain in abundance. Shihad have always known how to temper their aggression with hooks, and this time, while the verses will often deal in darkness and venom, it’s the sheer majesty of the chorus sections, epitomized in such a song as 'All The Young Fascists', that inevitably swoop in and flood the songs with light. For every angry rant, for all Toogood's vitriolic rhetoric, there are the massive melody lines that lift, take your heart in their fist and squeeze. The same type of dichotomy (dark vs light) fuels the anthemic 'Saddest Song In The World', and now seen in context with the rest of the album, a track like 'Alive' (released earlier on an EP to prelude this album) truly comes into its own.

Shihad have always been a band to wear their hearts on their sleeve, so when Toogood opens his throat full-tilt, in 'Dark Times' and calls out "I will start over!", then you best believe it. Shihad are back. To naysayers, LITNH, comes across like a raised middle finger. To the loyal, it’s the horned salute. Long live Shihad.
- Beat Magazine Melbourne


Having been crammed in a Tarago with a frontman who resembles John Cusack, a total lack of windows and a band craving Mexican food, SHIHAD bassist KARL KIPPENBERGER is suffering a cold after only the first week of their six loud, hot, sweaty weeks on the One Will Hear tour. BROOKE MCMASTER reports on politics, the upcoming release of their new record and the dark times of Pacifier.

Karl is in good spirits, despite having a cold and it being a rainy, miserable day. It’s the first week of their tour supporting the release of a new single on radio, reminding the fans that ‘we’re not dead yet’. Along for the ride is Melbourne bands Horsell Common and The Galvatrons; both bands have been making all kinds of noise across the country in the last year and are long time friends of the headliners.

Karl tells me what the band has been up to, and how the new material is being received as he continues to apologise for his coughing and spluttering, I remind him he has to stop those back seat snogging sessions in the Tarago with lead singer Jon.

After years of rumours, whispers and hearsays, the Kiwi expats hit back in force surprising punters playing the 2008 Big Day Out in Auckland and previewing material by doing a lap around the country with US group Evanescence. The four-piece consisting of front man Jon Toogood, bassist Karl Kippenberger, Tom Larkin on skins and Phil Knight on guitar, have embarked on a tour before releasing their highly anticipated fourth studio release with Warner and seventh album overall, Beautiful Machine. To be released over the ANZAC Day long weekend. Their single One Will Hear The Other’ has just been added to this week’s high rotation on Triple J, and heralds a return to more melodic composition, suggesting Shihad are set to deliver one of their greatest records yet.

Shihad are renowned for their interesting titles and album art, and it appears Beautiful Machine is no different. What seems to be the inspiration for this record’s title?

“There’s a song on the record called Beautiful Machine that we wrote about a year ago, which to me was the song that set it, the song about the voyage of a satellite beaming photos back from space and us to be able to see these beautiful photos from the universe.

“Also for the album artwork itself it’s more along the lines of human anatomy, the idea of the human being having the potential of being a beautiful machine as well. It encapsulates everything, the organics, the mechanics of the human body, the universe as we know it.”

In the true Shihad fashion of each album progressing from it’s predecessor, it is with great hope that Beautiful Machine builds on the rock stylings of 2005’s Love Is The New Hate, which reached platinum record sales and was the most admired material they have ever produced to date. Because the album was so successful I’m sure the band must of had its reservations about attempting to write the new record, considering the last four albums with Warner have reached platinum or gold sales status,

“No, I think we probably had more reservations doing Love Is The New Hate than this record. We didn’t really have a timeline; the priority was to give us a lot of time to write music.

“Tom, our drummer got a studio during this process so we lived in there writing music and recording demos, which was a real help. This record was a lot more relaxed to make. There wasn’t this feeling that we were angry or we’re feeling mean there was none of that, it was more like this song is huge and we’ve never done a song like that before.”

The name Shihad was allegedly derived from the sci-fi epic Dune, although reports vary as to whether it was the Frank Herbert book or David Lynch film. Following the September 11 terrorist attacks the band decided to change their name due to the similarity to the Arabic word jihad. At the 2002 Big Day Out music festival in Auckland, they released t-shirts with Shihad on them, and ‘Remote’ below, indicating that Remote was to be the new name. However, due to this name being taken already, they settled on Pacifier, which was a successful single from their album The General Electric (1999). It’s notoriously known that the band prefer not to speak of the time they were labeled as Pacifier. I would imagine that it is difficult to continue to include songs from the Pacifier days into today’s set list.

“There’s definitely some songs on our past records that we don’t go back to… strangely enough songs like Home Again and Pacifier we play them every bloody gig, but for some reason they still feel good to play and we haven’t ended up bored shitless of them for whatever reason.” Kippenberger laughs.

“It’s still fulfilling to be playing those songs whilst other songs fall by the wayside. At the moment we’re looking back at our early back catalogue because you sort of leave it behind because you’re thinking of your current project but we’re thinking of playing more songs from our first two records - Rave Magazine


Discography

Albums:

Beautiful Machine 2008
Love Is The New Hate 2005
Pacifier: Live 2003
Pacifier 2002
The General Electric 2000
Shihad 1996
Killjoy 1995
Churn 1993

EPS

Alive 2005
Blue Light Disco 1998
B-Sides 1996
Happy Families 1995
Devolve 1993

Photos

Bio

After 22 years in the business SHIHAD are still a dominating presence on the stage as well as in the studio.

This is reflected not only across their most recent tours of Australia and New Zealand where they sold out venues across both countries to rave reviews; but as well as in their album sales to date.

“Shihad stole the show … it was enough to prove that Shihad are still New Zealand's best live band. And maybe, just maybe, they might be Australia's best live band too.”
- Stuff.co.nz (Logan Campbell Centre, Auckland 7/10/2009)

2010 has been huge for SHIHAD so far, starting the year supporting AC/DC on their Black Ice World Tour and then playing Homegrown music festival in Wellington. Since then the boys have been putting the finishing touches on their highly anticipated 8th album.

SHIHAD have released the first single, SLEEPEATER, off their upcoming album. Check out the video on YouTube now or go to the SLEEPEATER website: www.sleepeater.co.nz

The highlights for SHIHAD in the last few years have included:
Three no 1 studio albums and three top 10 singles in New Zealand
Ranked equal 1st (alongside Split Enz) for most Top 40 charting singles in New Zealand
Platinum sales in New Zealand
Winners of 2005 New Zealand Music Award for Best Rock Album
2005 ARIA Nomination for Best Rock Album
No 11 Album Chart debut in Australia
Number 1 Music DVD Chart debut in New Zealand (for Shihad Live at Aotea Square DVD)
Appearances at Homegrown ‘10, Splendour In The Grass ‘05, Big Day Out ‘06, Rippon ‘06, Rockit ‘06
Sold out Australian and New Zealand national tours