Released: 2011, Escape Music
I’m dedicating this review to the memory of Steve Harris who left this world in late October, 2011. The guitarist of Shy will be missed.
The tragic death of Mr. Harris could not be more untimely as the band was riding a bit of a high. It was roughly their 30th anniversary as a band and the band were celebrating a very strong 10th studio album. There seemed to be a bit of renewed interest in Shy.
The new self-titled album is their strongest and heaviest in years. I say ‘heavy’ but for this melodic Metal outfit the new crunchy guitars and tonalities are not at the expense of the melodies, harmonies and song-craft. The first and most noticeable difference is the exit of Tony mills and the very capable Lee small steps up to the microphone. I’m familiar with his work from Phenomena and his voice suits Shy very well, despite having big shoes to fill.
This 10th studio effort is a bold statement of intent. A very plain cover, a full hour of a dozen awesome songs and of course the self-titled aspect. I have never been a big fan of when a band names an album after the name of the band well into their career, but I understand why bands do it, to sort of reintroduce themselves and reinvigorate the ‘name’ of the band. Hence Shy. In this case it works.
As with every Shy album I’ve heard, the band continues to play elegant and classy, melodic Metal. Smooth vocals, sing along choruses, and world-weary lyrics about life and love float on top of layers of guitars. The songs are all catchy and written in a simple yet enjoyable style with hints of AOR. The sound is a bit more full than some of the earlier Shy albums which were more straight-ahead these songs have a slightly more Euro-prog touch, maybe like Treat or Pretty Maids.
I wouldn’t be surprised with the recent defection of Ian Richardson, the exit of Mills and the death of Harris I would be surprised if the band decided to end on this very high note.