SOME CONTEMPORARY REVIEWS & ARTICLES


Fireworks issue 79 July-September 2017 by John Tucker



From The Dust Returned

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Shiva - Firedance (1982)

 
Every now and then you make a connection with some early piece of aural obscurity, something you've long toiled over but never quite melded with. Suddenly, the realization of genius becomes so clear, as if it were staring at you through a mirror all along. Firedance is one of situations. Far ahead of its time, and almost unheard of by anyone outside the diminishing circle of NWOBHM collectors and old metal explorers. One can only marvel that Shiva were not a raging success. After all, they struck at a time when the waters were right for progressive rock and metal, with bands like Rush and Yes topping the charts and British metal and hard rock exploding into the next big thing.

Shiva possessed both of these characteristics. One might even imagine them the perfect coupling of Rush and the American band Riot, with superb songwriting skills that put the majority of their NWOBHM peers to complete shame. But perhaps this band was just too smart for the period in which it arrived, and tragically resigned to the status of a non-entity, while bands like Judas Priest, Def Leppard and Iron Maiden would soar past them. The tragedy is that they probably gave up too soon. A few more albums like Firedance and it would have been nearly impossible for anyone to ignore them, and with progressive metal labels springing up in the 90s like Inside Out, they would have undoubtedly found a reliable home. But all we have to remember them by are a few demos, a compilation of unreleased material, and this one near masterpiece of a debut album.

Shiva
was a power trio by definition, and by that I mean each of the members possessed enormous talent at his given instrument. Chris Logan was a skilled drummer, but never over indulgent here, and Andy Skuse has a beautiful, popping bass tone that never rolls over to play dead for the guitar. Speaking of the six-strings, the true center of the band must be John Hall, who performed both the vocals and guitars, and has quite a good run with each. His tones were sweet, clear and smooth, characteristic of many peers but not so sharp or piercing as a Kevin Heybourne (from fellow NWOBHM power trio Angel Witch). No, he reminds me quite a lot of Geddy Lee from the 70s Rush recordings, and his selection of notes is always teeming with life, perfectly married to the cycle of classic metal riffing and bluesy leads that lie beneath. The result is an album, Firedance, which would appeal far beyond the core metal fan of the day, to the lover of blues, progressive rock and perhaps even folk rock. Fly By Night meets Fire Down Under? Sign me up.

Shiva never forget that they're a metal band first and foremost, and tracks like "How Can I?" and the amazing "Wild Machine" display a strength in creative, accessible riffing that moves beyond some mere mutation of Judas Priest, Sabbath and Deep Purple. Not the sinister groove that hangs at the end of the verse of "Wild Machine", before a robotic voice heralds a most glorious 'silent chorus' riff. "Borderline" shows a little more of a roadster spin, as if it were Shiva's take on something like "Living After Midnight". The vocals are superb, and they'd be alluring enough without the excellent guitars. But you are gifted with both. "Stranger Lands" journeys further into the realm of progressive rock, with a carousel of Skuse's wonderful lines. "Angel of Mons" is drifting and desperate, and "User" burns with the heat of molten, classic metal. The band's namesake "Shiva" is another impressive offering, with a crazy synthesizer break near the finale that immediately lifts the imagination above some creative percussion.

The band accomplishes all of this without the inflated, excess song structures that many prog rockers were often guilty of. This is no Tales from Topographical Oceans, it's constantly aware of its status as a hard, driving rock record, but one of a positive life affirmation more than morose infatuation. It's not so mystic as to become psychedelic, but its sure to deliver the goods that a Rush fan demands from anything that band carved out in their initial decade of output. Well worth tracking down if you fancy other prog/NWOBHM crossover acts like Saracen or Budgie, and though it nears 30 years in age, its highly enduring.

Verdict: Epic Win [9/10]
 

From YouTube Channel

wCwNeverDie

6th Sep 2010

SHIVA were a brilliant NWOBHM trio which formed in Bristol in 1979.

Unlike the majority of NWOBHM acts however, the band successfully incorporated prog-rock influences coupled with intelligent and thoughtful lyrics, setting themselves apart sonically from the pack. Their RUSH influenced sound is perhaps only comparable to that of NWOBHM compatriots Chaser and Limelight.  After early uncirculated demo sessions, Shiva signed with the legendary Wolverhampton based Heavy Metal Records in 1981. 

The band debuted with the haunting classic "Angel Of Mons" 7" in early 1982, which won them rave reviews in the Rock & Metal press.
  A second single, the more uptempo "Rock Lives On", was issued a couple of months later, and again found favour in the columns of Sounds, Kerrang! and the like.

The band's album, "Firedance", was released later in the year, and again, was raved over by high profile critics such as Geoff Barton and Malcolm Dome.  However, the critical acclaim they received sadly did not translate into sales for Shiva, and despite recording demos of material for a second album, Heavy Metal Records dropped the group, and they eventually split up in 1984, without releasing further official product.  Now rightly acclaimed as one of the most individual and musically enterprising acts of the NWOBHM explosion, their reputation has grown steadily over the decades.  In 1996 British Steel/Cherry Red Records issued "Firedance" on CD, with improved sound and the two tracks from the "Rock Lives On" 7" added as bonus tracks, and it's from this edition that this rip comes. 

This brought the band yet more accolades, both from old fans rediscovering the band, and new listeners being introduced to Shiva for the first time.
  As a result of this renewed interest, in collaboration with Shiva, Majestic Rock Records released the "Continuance" album in 2004, featuring 12 unreleased songs which were recorded during the band's '80's heyday, including the 7 songs from the unfinished second album. "Continuance", proved to be every bit as fascinating as the band's classic debut.

Both albums are sadly out of print at present.

(Note: Continuance is now available on vinyl from
High Roller Records - HRR 082)


Herman Vink - The Netherlands

What a great album, in every respect! [Firedance] "Call Me In The Morning" was the only song I new until yesterday, now I've fallen in love with all the other songs too! Thank you so much Andy for making it available!

[After a reply from the band]
Wow, am I happy to have found you! I'll tell you the story:
back in '84 or '85 I was given a cassette with songs from Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, the Scorpions, AC/DC etc. I knew most bands but there was no playlist. I played the tape for years in my car (imagine the toll on the tape!) before the tape ended up in a box, first in my garage and later, after I moved, in the attic.
A year ago I rediscovered it and started out searching for the band names and song names. I managed to come up with all the names... but one. All year long I searched the internet for a song I thought was called "Call me in the morning" (no idea then that was actually the correct name) listening to all songs by the Scorpions, Krokus, Accept, Free, Rush (I came close!), Journey etc. But I couldn't find it.
I turned to several Dutch radio stations and a friend of mine even posted (our interpretation of) the lyrics on Allthelyrics.com. All without the desired effect... Very, very frustrating! But it only made me more determined: I had to find the name of the song and the band.
And then, yesterday, I finally had my long awaited break! Having entered "hardrock" "call me in the morning" "lyrics" and "1984" in Google I found a link to nwobhmstuff.blogspot.com which put me on a lead to the Firedance album. I couldn't believe my luck!
And it was going to get even better: I found your official Shiva website from which I could download the entire album! Needless to say I did and my goodness, what a great sound (after only ever having heard the one song from a worn down tape) and what a great album! Absolutely fantastic!
I also downloaded the artwork (a pity the file doesn't include the lyrics...).
Next thing to do was create a MySpace account to enable me to share this story with you. I hope you've enjoyed reading it!
----
Quite a story don't you think!
In the mean time I've purchased both the Firedance and the Continuance album, the latter through the regular channels, for the former I had to resort to eBay sadly.
They sound so much better from CD!
I must say I really like Continuance, another great album (Questions is one of my favorites, and Eden, and Not There... love 'em all!).
And what a remarkable story behind the Continuance album becoming a reality, after all those years!
I'm so glad the artwork includes the lyrics, I really do miss them on the Firedance artwork.
[The Firedance lyrics are now available on the eSnips page]

Thanks again for giving us such great music! And what a shame there aren't any more albums. If only times had been more favourable to Shiva...

My best regards,
Herman Vink


Last Fm

NWOBHM Band of the Week - 27th March 2009: Shiva

27 Mar 2009, 20:24


Shiva
are usually dubbed "the NWOBHM's answer to Rush", but have also been compared to Deep Purple, Blue Öyster Cult, Triumph and Diamond Head.

Shiva formed in 1979 (totally unaware of what their name actually meant, by the way) as a four piece, but after one demo (unreleased until 2004) they reduced themselves to a power trio consisting of John Hall - vocals & gutar, Andy Skuse - bass, Chris Logan - drums.

Shiva's first single was 1982's
Rock Lives On for Heavy Metal Records, a short 2:49 rock song which featured some very Geddy Lee inspired vocals and an annoying robot-voice-type-thing that repeated the title a few times each chorus. Most New Wave of British Heavy Metal fans, it has been suggested, prefered the b-side Sympathy, which begins with a slow proggy intro reminiscent of Genesis or Caravan with a heavily emphasised English accent on the vocal before the slightly more rocky chorus before a return to the proggy style for the second verse. The chorus features a riff very similar to Lightning to the Nations's intro, and its almost surprising how suddenly the vocals seem to switch back to the Geddy Lee style for the chorus. There's a great slow guitar solo section lasting most the second half of the song and reminiscent of Alex Lifeson and Ritchie Blackmore.

The group's second single was also released in '82.
Angel of Mons (youtube) was rockier than the previous single, though the band's credentials as a 'metal band' were still questionable. The beat here is faster and the chords largely adopting the gallop rhythm of an eigth note followed by two sixteenth notes. Perhaps notably, the guitar solo here features some tapping that sets the style apart from the otherwise named influences. There are also some nice vocal harmonies that could have prompted the Blue Öyster Cult comparisons they have ocassionally received. There's also some prominent keyboards toward the beginning.

The b-side
Stranger Lands (youtube) might as well have been a Rush track it reminds me of The Necromancer so much. (Obviously it's much shorter though)

Both Angel of Mons and Stranger Lands were used as part of the debut album
Firedance (Catalogue #: HMR LP 6, that's right the sixth LP released by the second most important independent label of the movement).

Firedance received a measure of critical acclaim, but if it sold well the band didn't see the profits from it and Chris Logan soon left the band, unable to pay his bills. Shiva endured until '84 with a couple of other drummers but never saw another commercial release. Deciding to draw a line under the band's career the two remaining members of the band scheduled a 'last gig' at the Troubadour Club in Hollywood. They had to hire a new drummer specifically for the event and rehearse the whole set with him specifically for the one night, but they've kept their word and there has, to date, been no reunion.

Tracks from the album to have surfaced on youtube include:
(2)
En Cachent (youtube)
(3)
Wild Machine (youtube)
(4)
Borderline (youtube)
(Stranger Lands and Angel of Mons became tracks 5 and 6 respectively on the 10 track album. Possibly this would have made them strategically placed side closers and openers?)
Wild Machine is another very Geddy Lee sounding vocal performance with brief returns of the robot voice, but could be notable for a rather Black Sabbath sounding riff in the first half of the song. En Cachent also starts with a rather Sabbath sounding riff, but segues into the verse and chorus that sound more in debt to Yes and Genesis. Complete with a very Chris Squire sounding bass line and very Peter Gabriel sounding beginning to the chorus. En Cachent may just be their best track. (check out the 1902 film that has been put to it on youtube too!)

An album of demos from both before and after Firedance was released in 2004 as
Continuance among its tracks is an alternate version of En Cachent, but the other 11 tracks are otherwise completely unreleased tracks. Continuance is the only Shiva release widely available for purchase today to find the original official releases you will need to either have some luck and money on your side or resort to piracy (and even then its a struggle - their name was clearly not picked with google in mind)

Usually I give a verdict at the end of these, though it seems bizzare on the one-hand to judge a band on the 7 songs I've heard (I managed to get a pirated rip of the first single - try googling it with the word 'blogspot'), those seven songs comprise over half of their studio material (excluding the demos released on Continuance). With the exception of Rock Lives On, which is ruined for me by the annoying robot voice, the band seemed to have put out some very good music, and I would wager, were on the cusp of becoming truly great had they released a second album. Do they stand up against competition like Iron Maiden or Tygers of Pan Tang, though? Well, actually, if you like a bit of prog influence YES! Surprisingly well for such an un-touted band, though the style really is quite different from most of their contemporaries making it hard to make an "accurate", or rather "viable" or "meaningful", comparison. To be honest, I definitely want to get my hands (ears) on the rest of the album whether that be in physical cd, vinyl or pirated mp3s I don't care!

AMAZON.COM

NWOBHM....or Canadian Progressive Rock?, November 18, 2006
Reviewer: Justin Gaines "Corporate Rocker" (Atlanta, GA)

Continuance, Shiva's follow-up to their 1982 debut album is far from your ordinary New Wave of British Heavy Metal album. For one thing, it was released in 2004 - a full two decades after the NWOBHM scene redefined the metal genre. For another, Continuance doesn't sound much like the typical NWOBHM album at all.

The band actually recorded most of the material on Continuance back in 1983, but for whatever reason it remained unreleased until recently. The band, working with reissue label Majestic, cleaned up those recordings, digitally remastering them so they sound as good as anything released today.

Like I mentioned earlier, Continuance is not your typical NWOBHM album. In a scene where the dominant players were Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, and Motorhead, Shiva stands out with a sound that owes more to a pair of rock bands "across the pond" - Triumph and Rush. Shiva's sound was fast and melodic, yet had a fair share of progressive rock elements. Think "Never Surrender" meets "Signals". There is still some of the traditional NWOBHM style to their sound, but that's probably not the first thing you'd think of when you first hear Continuance.

I give this album an enthusiastic 4 stars. The sound quality is good enough that you'd never guess how old the songs are (which also says something about the songs themselves). This is a winner, whether you're a die-hard NWOBHM fan, or simply a fan of high quality hard rock. Rush fans will most likely be pleasantly surprised by this album as well.


Majestic Rock Records

Originally released in 1982, SHIVA’ s debut album for Heavy Metal Records 'FIREDANCE' is widely regarded as a NWOBHM classic. Now, twenty-two years later, comes the band's follow up release 'Continuance'.   Culled from the recordings that were begun for the band’s proposed second album for Heavy Metal Records and demos recorded at various times during that period, the album shows the band’s vaguely Rush styled hard rock in it's best possible light. SHIVA were a class apart from the average NWOBHM act - and this album proves it!


FIREWORKS MAGAZINE

SHIVA  "CONTINUANCE"

(Majestic Rock)

Remastered from the original tapes and transferred to CD for the first time, ‘Continuance’ is what should have been Shiva’s second album had they not been dropped by Heavy Metal Records. ‘Continuance’ is an instant rock classic in similar vein to stuff by Blue Oyster Cult and Rush so as you can guess it’s totally different from the kind of music made during the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal era that Shiva are so closely associated with.

Shiva formed in Bristol in 1979 by guitarist/singer John Hall, guitarist/singer Chris D’Avoigne and drummer Simon ‘Jack’ Carver who would shortly be replaced by Chris Logan, and then the band would be stable by 1981, ready to join Heavy Metal Records the following year. Their 1982 debut album ‘Firedance’ is widely regarded as classic album from that period. Chris Logan soon left and there were further changes with the drummers who would replace him as well as financial complications with their label that would drop the band in 1983 after claiming the songs on ‘Continuance’ were not heavy enough. Shiva spilt in the autumn of 1983.

‘Continuance’ is populated by really catchy songs like ‘Power Of Persuasion’ and ‘Ring Of Fire.’ The hooks are in the right place and the melodies are very enjoyable and at times smoothly polished. This is a solid, honest release that is often a joy to hear.

Neil Daniels

Issue #19 December 2004


Metal Invader

Shiva - Continuance

(Majestic Rock) Total time: 54:59

For years and years, “Firedance”, the band’s debut and only album was highly revered, as one of the best records that came during the NWOBHM era. Although the band, distances it self by sounding more rocky than metal, what cannot be denied is the bands ability to pen a catchy tune. Imagine a cross between a tamer RUSH and insert vocals that distantly would echo the melody of acts such PERSIAN RISK or SARACEN, in their mellower moments and SHIVA is the result. This was intended to be the bands second release, but the record company didn’t back them up and eventually, the band broke up. 20 years down the line, the original tapes and some material that survived only on cassette, gets a re mastering and finally a release. The band missed the train and they do not seem willing to take another stab, but the fact, that the record company didn’t want to put out this album back then, really left me scratching my head. Songs like the superbly melodic and catchy “Power of Persuasion”, “Ring of Fire”, “Eden”, the stompy but poppy “Thief” and “The Gallery” do not lack the hooks. It’s such a shame really that the band disbanded back then and it makes me wonder if the record company AR guys ears were full of strawberry jam or something?.. The sound is clear (even the cassette sourced songs are ok), the music quite refined but nonetheless sparkling and magical. Ah, if only...

Ps. Somebody please RE RELEASE the OOP “Firedance” album?cherry red ???


Reviewer: Dimitrios Fatouros

Rating:

Added: December 13th 2004


Rate Your Music

hawkfanatic
Feb 12, 2005
CD [Rating1592663]


What a surprise to discover this CD! Shiva were a band associated with the NWOBHM but were like a more avant garde, raw , exciting Rush. They released one superb album and vanished without trace. And here we are 21+ years on and we get a superb set of demos for the never released 2nd album and oddities from various sessions. Best tracks "Window on the West" and 'Eden" worst track an inferior version of "En Cachent" which was on the Firedance album.

An absolute joy of a release.... this for me is all what loving music is about .. discovering these gems!


Rated:


Get Ready To Rock!

SHIVA ‘Continuance’ Majestic MAJCD051 (2004)

Famed for their classic Firedance LP at the height of the NWoBHM, the band did actually continue and started work on a second album.

The band were promptly dropped by their label due to 'low sales' and the tracks for the second album not being heavy enough.

20 years on, here you are. The band had the tapes, and some other cassettes, remastered them and they’re out in their full glory on Majestic.

It’s come out rather well, sounding good and solid, and the music’s great too. Not that heavy and certainly not NWoBHM, but it’s a thoroughly enjoyable set.

Lots of guitar solos, some real nice polished work. Worth checking out.

***

Review by Joe Geesin


Lords Of Metal E-zine

Shiva - Continuance
 

File under Heavy/power metal

Ralph: What to do with this release? 'Continuance' of British rockers Shiva is a collection of tracks that were never released before and were left on a shelve somewhere. These tracks are over twenty years old. Shiva released one album 'Firedance' at the time which did fairly good in the NWOBHM community. Still the band did not live too long, they split up in 1986. We have British writer John Tucker to thank for bringing out 'Continuance'. Tucker wrote a book on the NWOBHM and one thing led to another. It appeared the band still had left some material left that was never released and Tucker made a deal with these guys. Here we are in 2004 and the original recordings are available for everybody. Do not expect modern things of any kind because the twelve tracks were literally taken form an attic and put on CD. Think Bad Company or Blue Oyster Cult and you know what I mean. This is mainly a fun release for people who have (and love) 'Firedance'. Nostalgic, that is what it is.


The Old School Metal Show

March 11, 2005
Friday - 5pm eastern (10pm UK) (11pm Eastern Europe) - New Show
Monday - 11pm eastern (4am UK) (5am Eastern Europe ) Repeat of Friday Show
Wednesday - 10am eastern (3pm UK) (4pm Eastern Europe) Repeat of Friday Show
 

Greetings again everyone.


This week is an all new show. All new bands that have never been played on here before...except I think Explorer I have played once but other than that, all new bands, all new songs.


Also we will be featuring the new CD from Shiva called "Continuance". We will be playing 4 songs from the cd and its a damn good cd.

Grinder


Metal Gods

SHIVA are probably among the best kept secrets of the NWOBHM movement. Loyal to the legendary Heavy Metal Records label led by Paul Birch, for which they released all their 80's material, the highly-talented trio from Bristol never followed any trends, and always went for personal style that won them a cult following throughout the years. Mixing sheer power, remarkable musicianship and a taste for odd melodies, Shiva crafted some excellent "thinking man's heavy rock", borrowing at times from prog, but still firmly planted in the metal territory. The sum of their early efforts is the now-classic 1982 album "Firedance", including some of their finest songs such as "En Cachent" and "Angel of Mons". Most notably the band has recently returned on the market with the "Continuance" album, containing a dozen unreleased tracks from the golden years, restored from old tapes.

Posted by: Goblin on Nov 04, 2004
 


The Forgotten Scroll -> Heavy Metal Database

Shiva (England)
Shiva represent the melodic side of the N.W.O.B.H.M. movement, being on the same side with bands like Limelight and Saracen. Their melancholic style and emotional tunes combined with their brilliant musicianship lead to a fantastic result. Continuance has nothing to be jealous about when compared to the magnificent Firedance.


Posted by Trampakoulas
: Feb 8 2005, 06:57 PM
 


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