The New Shining

Hedges Against The Night

Written by: PP on 23/12/2009 18:29:56

Holland's The New Shining were one of the few new bands that impressed the hell out of me last year with their debut album "Supernatural Showdown", which mimicked the Billboard Modern Rock chart from top to bottom and did so very successfully. Bands like Alter Bridge, 3 Doors Down, Creed, etc came to mind while listening to their hard-hitting mainstream rock tracks that consisted of big riffs and even bigger choruses that in many places had potential to surpass the aforementioned bands in the charts. On their sophomore album "Hedges Against The Night", The New Shining pick up where they left off and continue to write arena-sized mainstream rock tracks perfectly capable of penetrating the modern rock charts around the world.

Except for one small detail: the album doesn't sound as convincing as its predecessor, despite a couple of highlight tracks. The band has decided to soften up their sound and expand the soundscape to every direction. Consequently, if Alter Bridge and 3 Doors Down were the most plausible comparisons last year, songs like "How Does It Feel", and "Blood From Stone" now bring Coldplay, 30 Seconds To Mars and U2 into mind instead. Which wouldn't necessarily be such a bad trait if the songs had better choruses, but all too often they stumble on the verge of great and fail to include enough punch to make them memorable. One could argue they're slightly over ambitious. "No Exit" is one of the few tracks where The New Shining play off their strengths; the guitars are heavier, the vocals are delivered with more energy and emotion, and generally the atmosphere of the song is solid and thickly fills the whole soundscape like a proper alternative rock song should. "Set It Off" and "Prodigal Son" live up to this standard as well, but balladic "This Close To Heaven" is just boring, and "Leap Of Faith" drags on and on and on like many modern U2 songs, just without the majesty or the proper grandeur.

So while there are a few tracks that don't make me lose all hope for the band, as a whole "Hedges Against The Night" is all too safe and too predictable, leaving a taste of mild disappointment in my mouth after the incredibly promising debut. Maybe it's not a sophomore slump as such, but it fails to build on the momentum of the debut album, and I'm afraid after this record The New Shining will find themselves positioned right back where they started before releasing "Supernatural Showdown". I won't write them off just yet, but the third album will be key to determining the success of The New Shining in the future.


Download: No Exit, Set It Off, Prodigal Son
For the fans of: Coldplay, U2
Listen: Myspace

Release date 12.10.2009
Johnny T Records

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