HOUSE OF SHAKIRA — XIT album cover Album · 2023 · Hard Rock Buy this album from MMA partners
4.5/5 ·
Kev Rowland
It is strange to think this band have been around for more than 30 years now, with guitarists Mats Hallstensson and Anders Lundström there since the very beginning, and while this is the fifth album since Andreas Novak (vocals) and Martin Larsson (drums) joined there has been a new bassist since 2019’s ‘Radiocarbon’ with the arrival of Per Schelander. Only Larsson doesn’t provide backing vocals, and it is the arrangements which make this band stand out as they know how to provide good powering melodic rock yet always with those wonderful harmonies. Novak is a great singer, and the result is yet another fine example of a band who are at the top of their game. It is as if grunge never happened, while thrash, death and black metal are the nightmares you scare young children with. The Swedes continue to play as if Journey are the biggest band on the planet, and unlike some acts on the Frontiers label this is not a project, but a band grown from the ground up. Last year saw the 25th anniversary of their wonderful debut, ‘Lint’, but they refuse to just look back (although the special anniversary edition is well worth seeking out) as this is as fresh and exciting as the band were when they first came to my attention with that album back in ’97.

Some melodic rock bands concentrate on the former and forget the latter, meaning the music can have way too much sugar, yet HoS get the balance just right, maintaining an edge on the guitars while providing loads of hooks and songs which all sound as if they could be released as singles and do well in the charts. They provide drama when the time is right, as with the closing title track, and anthem after anthem, ensuring the melodic rock fan comes away fully satiated. They are undoubtedly one of my favourite bands from this genre as they continually deliver, album after album, and after three decades in the business show no sign whatsoever of slowing down.

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