Monday, January 30, 2012
By Stephen Kasenda
SHY “Shy” (2011)
It's ironic and extremely sad to see a great guitarist create an awesome album that can match his peak in the 80s but then he passes away that same year. Hearts go to Steve Harris and his family for this catastrophic loss, but on a positive note SHY brought a fruitful record with a new singer, Lee Small, to replace the iconic screamer, Tony Mills, who went to their competitor, TNT.
'Land of A Thousand Lies' is an incredible start. After a long intro, the track blasts into a monstrous melodic hard rock tune with a chorus that is utterly mind blowing. SHY combines the classic style with heavy metal, as evident on tracks like 'So Many Tears' or 'Pray', which are both fantastic tunes. Lee Small caught me by surprise with his superb singing technique – at times, I slightly prefer him over Mills because there's a point that you grow tired of the glass-breaking shrilling shout of Mills.
But they also crawl back to their AOR roots. 'Only For The Night' and 'Over You', for instance, are flawless 10/10 quality songs. The uptempo 'Live For Me' reminds me of JOURNEY's classic, 'Separate Ways'. 'Ran Out of Time' and 'Save Me' aren't as good as those three, but still winners in my book.
However, there's volatility in the songwriting and I spot some weaknesses in at last four tracks. 'Breathe' is a predictable ballad, if not generic. 'Blood On The Line' isn't really interesting, 'Sanctuary' is actually pretty good but too long, and 'Union of Souls' is the weakest link. The production isn't great - you've heard lots of other albums that beat this sound.
SHY has largely accomplished a difficult mission to offer an outstanding album for the great year of 2011. I rated it 85% and placed it at #12 in my final list. A solid record and a legacy of Harris to be remembered!
Read more of Stephen’s features at MetalMusicArchives.