REVIEW

ALBUM REVIEW: Shihad keep the faith with rage on Old Gods

TOPICAL: Shihad's album Old Gods is unashamedly political.

TOPICAL: Shihad's album Old Gods is unashamedly political.

BOTH the world and Shihad have changed markedly since the New Zealand alt-rock legends last released an album in 2014.

They've seen their homeland rocked by the Christchurch Mosque Shootings committed by Australian right-wing terrorist Brenton Tarrant and the rise of Donald Trump and conservative politics worldwide.

On the home front, Shihad frontman and former atheist Jon Toogood converted to Islam ahead of marrying his Sudanese wife, Dana Salih, and the couple have since welcomed two children.

All these factors blended together to fuel a furious anger in Toogood and possibly Shihad's best album since 1999's The General Electric.

Pounding riffs begin from the opening track, Tear Down Those Names, and they rarely abate.

It provides the perfect soundtrack for Toogood's lyrics to rage about the state of the world, historical and current injustices and religious hypocrisy.

On the title track Toogood addresses the colonial pain suffered in New Zealand and in his adopted home of Australia.

"You took all the names/ Of the places you stolen/ Put them in a shallow grave/ Now they're waking up."

Pounding riffs begin from the opening track, Tear Down Those Names, and they rarely abate.

The Hill Song, is a not-so-subtle critique of Evangelical Christian church Hillsong.

"God loves a winner/ God pays for dinner/ God hates all you sinners/ God loves a winner," Toogood screams.

Feel The Fire provides a momentary break from the brutal assault of riffage and negativity, and not surprisingly, it's the album shining moment. Toogood exults a sense of hope over an anthemic melody ready-made for FM radio.

Old Gods plays to Shihad's strengths. They're enraged and sound all the better for it.

3.5 stars

This story Shihad's Old Gods finds belief in white-hot anger first appeared on Newcastle Herald.