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The Shiver - A New Horizon
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Written by Doctor T.   
Sunday, 06 March 2011
The Shiver - CD Review
A New Horizon
The Shiver - A New Horizon

CD Info

Dreamcell 11 /  Aural Music / Reality Entertainment

12  Tracks

English Lyrics



Well, if you read the reviews about this debut CD by the Italian band, the Shiver, the first thing you realize is that a lot of people compare them to Evanescence. Now, I guess that wouldn’t be a negative statement, Evanescence is hardly a bad direction to emulate. But, when I asked front woman Federica Faith Sciamanna (Faith) if that comparison fit, she wasn’t so sure. Not that she didn’t appreciate the complement, she just was of the opinion that The Shiver was intended to go in a different direction; in her words, "I'm into the '80 dark wave, that is the kind of music that I've always loved (Depeche Mode, The Cure, Joy Division, etc) and I try to evolve it in my songs, with the support of metal and rock guitars." And, I have to agree, The Shiver is a harder direction than Evanescence, even if there are some similarities in the vocals. And Faith does keyboards; they are in most of the work here and play a relatively significant part.

I also had a problem classifying the band, they get labels like progressive, Gothic, the usual when a band has a female singer. I wasn’t real comfortable with the Gothic thing myself, maybe progressive, assuming we can agree on what that means. When I asked Faith she wouldn’t go in either direction. She suggested dark rock or new dark rock. She pointed to the focus on melody, as other reviewers have noted, and there is that to be said about the music. The rest of the band includes Francesco Finch Russo on drums, producer Alessandro Paolucci plays bass and and Stefano Tocci handles some thundering guitars. There’s a lot to be said about the mixing here, we get some solid production from Paolucci, some real walls of sound. These Italians are not hesitant to kick the doors down and leave the house in a shambles. This is melodic music, but hard melodic music, meant to be played loud and without restraint, for the entire 41 minutes of playing time.

Again, it’s hard to get a real feel for the band without seeing something beyond the very limited words provided here. So, check this one out, it’s the "official" video, Crushing Down and you get a feel for the raw power of the band, as well as the, ahh, dare I say it, kinda like Amy Lee vocals. But, if you listen closely, you get the death metal screams from Faith that just don’t happen with Lee. There’s not a lot of it, but you get some of this occasionally throughout the CD, something Faith suggests will be a larger part of future productions.

One of the great things about writing reviews like this is we get to interact with the band, in this case, with lead singer Faith. Sometimes, you get a lot of interaction, sometimes you get nothing. If you get anything, it certainly helps when trying to humanize what this music is all about. A lot of these people are really talented, but how they live their lives can be as interesting as the music they produce. Faith sent a pretty detailed communication regarding her life and involvement in The Shiver. She’s been writing music since the age of 15, the material for A New Horizon developed out of songs she had produced for her solo career. But, when A New Horizon was born, it was a long and difficult road before things began to look up. Faith and the rest of the musicians work a number of jobs, as music teachers, as session musicians, and, in Faith’s case, as a bartender, (Coyote Ugly girl, she laughed in the e-mail). It’s not an easy road, it demands hard work as well as talent, and a solid will to succeed. And, you get a little of this in the music, personal experience has always been a staple for musical direction, and that is the case here. The afore mentioned Crushing Down actually talks about Faith’s families attempts to get her to let the music go.

They say I’m bad for how I’m living,
Nothing to tell ‘cos they’ll never let me go.
They say I’m strong, I could be better,
I just cut my veins and there is only love...

Another interesting revelation was the use of technique we call "assonance" in the literary world. Assonance is the repetition of a vowel sound in a sequence of nearby words, it’s used to develop a feeling in the written or spoken word, a trick used by many writers and poets. Faith uses it in her music. She uses the technique in the refrain from the song Nothing Left to Waste where she sings:

And so there is nothing left to waste,
Now there is nothing to forget.
You can try to blow away
While this world is dying out.

Notice the use of the vowels "o" and "e" and how they make the lyrics flow. Not bad for a Coyote Ugly girl, eh?

Faith uses another approach used by some of the best musical producers, and she uses it regularly. It’s that technique that sees a song start slowly and softly, and build into a harder direction, and, in the case of the Shiver, this harder direction can get significantly harder, as in thundering. You’ll remember this technique from such standards as Stairway to Heaven, the epic masterpiece from Led Zeplin back in the . . . well, way back. No Longer Here meets this definition, and provides one of the more haunting sounds on the CD. Faith admits the song talks about what she would say when she is "no longer of this world". Gets a little personal.

Of course, the band can do a softer direction. Through this Cold Water is one of the more Evanescence sounding numbers, although the use of the piano in spots sets it apart from the American sound. Keyboards have that effect for many European bands. But, the vocal similarity is there and not to be denied, and that is hardly something to complain about.

Leech and Flower provides one of the more representative sounds on the CD. It begins with some solid guitars, over the always present punishing drum. From there, other musical directions are introduced, additional keys, some overlaid vocals that are outstanding. Lyrically, the direction is dark, personal and unforgiving:

You can’t fall down in the emptiness I fall,
you’re too hollow, you slip away.
Just the deeper loneliness in what we live
is all that I breathe, "together" is fake.

But the guitars are a highlight, some of the best on the CD.

You can make an argument that The Shiver is at it’s best when they crank it. Feel Tomorrow’s Light starts with a keyboard symphonic, then turns the guitars loose. The background music thunders, Faith lays it on with a vocal that can turn loose the Hounds of Hell. This is metal done right, and it builds and builds, the guitars climb a ladder to Nirvana, the vocals get stronger and stronger, it’s like good. . . well, you know.

Faith asked me which song on the CD I liked best. Well girl, there’s a lot to like here, hard to make a choice. But, maybe my favorite would be the final selection, Bring Me To The Horizon. It showcases a lot of what The Shiver is all about, and adds a little extra with the keys. Not as hard as some, and I love the hard stuff. But this presents a feeling that is hard to ignore. And that may be what’s best about this CD. . .it presents a lot that is hard to ignore. This is quality material, and promises much more to come in future releases.

Bring it on.

9 / 10

The Shiver:


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