Album Review: SHIN TO SHIN – Shin To Shin

A389 Recordings – Out Now.

I did not make much of  a link to the debut release by a band called Shin To Shin when I first spotted it in my Inbox, since the name was totally unfamiliar to me and I receive numerous such e-mails on an almost daily basis.

I did become excited, however, when I saw the accompanying bio, as the prospect of having a Hardcore veteran such as ex-Integrity guitarist Aaron Melnick create music influenced by the likes of Bolt Thrower sounded quite appealing to me. Sadly, the resulting body of work entitled “Shin To Shin” did not live up to any of my expectations.

The only two elements on this album that one could perhaps attribute to a Bolt Thrower-influence would be the simplicity of the riffs on offer and the sound of the guitar which is as dirty and heavily distorted as fans of the genre could hope for.

That being the case, what is the problem with this album? Well, most of the eight compositions sound more like a collection of nice but fairly predictable riffs rather than complete ideas and, most importantly, the muddy/soulless Napalm Death styled vocals on display are too far back in the mix and totally unfitting for the mood and feel that this album wishes to convey.

Listening to the opening riff of the one and a half minute “Intro” filled me with excitement as it reminded me of the days I used to exercise my neck to the tunes of late 80s Napalm Death but, sadly, this feeling was not to last for long.

The title track “Shin To Shin” begins with an equally massive riff but rhythmical inconsistencies together with unfitting vocals and a pretty abrupt ending failed to allow the song to reach its true potential. Sadly, the story repeats itself with “Don’t Lose Your Way” and “Step Up And Shout”, leaving the more groove-laden material like “Extinction” and “Costumes And Masks” to try and balance things out, to not much avail.

In the closing four and a half minute “Maia” we have the band indulging in simple acoustic guitar harmonies of a rather atmospheric nature, throwing the listener into further confusion as to what it is that this album is trying to achieve.

I admit that in my quest to present you with new and exciting music I have come across many albums that sounded worse and were far inferior in terms of execution than “Shin To Shin”.

What I found particularly annoying about this debut release is that it has the potential to be a truly stunning piece of work, something that it clearly doesn’t achieve. Even though I doubt I will revisit this album in the months to come, I will keep my ears open in hope that their next studio album can learn from the mistakes of this time.

John Stefanis

Rating: **1/2 (2.5/5.0)

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