|Musical Style: Blues Based Hard Rock||Produced By: Intensity Shift|
|Record Label: Independent||Country Of Origin: USA|
|Year Released: 2002||Artist Website:|
|Tracks: 12||Rating: 85%|
|Running Time: 48:18|
I might describe the self-titled 2002 independently released debut of Tennessee based Intensity Shift as acoustic laced and blues based hard rock reminiscent to early nineties Bride. Dripping with creativity and passion, the albums compositions reflect a great deal of maturity and depth on the bands part in terms of its songwriting skills. Lead vocalist and bassist Leonard Lewis contributes a strong mid-octave ranged voice that brings to mind Dale Thompson (Bride) which, naturally, helps lead to the bands comparison musically to Bride. Terry Greene's blues based lead guitar work perfectly complements the bands gritty sound, his emotional playing bringing out the best in each song with just the right riff or solo. The rhythm section of Leonard Lewis and drummer Clinton Dodson remains a tight and steady force throughout the project.
Intensity Shift stands out with a refined production job characterized by full and warm sounding sonics. The lead guitar and drums both evenly rise above the instrumentation. While the rhythm guitar comes across in a crisp sounding manner, it could have been beefed up a bit on several tracks.
After "Interesting Times" begins in to several seconds of keyboards, it stops dead in its tracks before the rhythm guitar kicks in hard and heavy. Distorted effects are added to Lewis' voice during the songs first verse before he sings in a clean sounding manner upon reaching its catchy chorus. As its title implies, "Interesting Times" reflects upon the last days:
Do not be deceived by the air of madness (It's all around)
The end is coming
God has a crown for you (if you believe in His Son)
You have everlasting life
We are living in interesting times
Yes, we are living in the last days
The one minute instrumental "Entrance" combines a clean mix of keyboards with a bit of rhythm guitar.
"Shift" jumps out of the gate to an energetic combination of rhythm guitar and organ prior to slowing upon reaching its first verse. Picking up in pace as the rhythm guitar moves to the front of the mix, "Shift" advances on a powerfully delivered hook filled chorus. Several seconds of blues flavored lead guitar work is the final piece to the puzzle.
A bluesy riff takes the semi-ballad "Days Of The Dove" through its first verse before a quietly played guitar line carries its second at near crawl. Following a few brief seconds of lead guitar, "Days Of The Dove" picks up in pace for a sweeping chorus conveyed in an emotionally charged manner. Greene decorates the song from front to back with his wonderful blues based lead guitar work.
"O, Beautiful Light" slowly fades in before it directly launches into an atmospheric chorus that continuously repeats the phrase "Can you see the Light?". The song gradually builds and gains momentum until Lewis sings lyrics taken from Psalm 23 with so much feeling it sends shivers down your spine:
When you're walking thru the valley, fear no evil
Fear no evil when you're walking in the shadow of death
Proceeding through its verse at an energetic mid-tempo pace, "O, Beautiful Light" slows as ethereal guitar feedback stands in support of Lewis' abundant voice who again directs our attention to the One true Light:
In the Light, you will find Him
Seek the Light, you will find Him
Seek the light, you will find your peace of mind
An intense sounding combination of muscular bass lines and pounding drums backed by a bit of guitar feedback introduces "In Your Hands". Subsequent to the rhythm guitar fading to the front of the mix, it immediately takes the song to a chorus delivered with a plethora of hard hitting energy. Slowing in pace during its verse, "In Your Hands" allows Greene to take center stage with nearly a minute of edgy lead guitar work. The subject matter to "In Your Hands" is self-explanatory:
In Your hands, Lord
Having the keys of hell and death
In Your hands overflow rivers of abundant life
And to these eyes, watching the tides of life rise and fall
Rise or fall, it's in Your hands
A near perfect mix of crisp acoustic guitar and punchy bass lines drives the classy melodic rock of "Western Skies" from front to back, the song picking up in pace prior to arriving at a chorus carried by vocal harmonies. "Western Skies" focuses on the Light of the world:
(Light of the world) - paint my life like the western skies
(Light of the world) - let the colors glorify Your name
(Light of the world) - shine thru Your servant's life
(Light of the world) - reveal by Your light, the life in me unbound...
Lord, who am I, that I should live and breathe
(Who am I) - by Your grace I am redeemed
The minute long "Dusk" opens to the sound of flowing water that gives way to an acoustic guitar.
After "Sea Of Dreams" moves slowly forward as an acoustic guitar exquisitely carries its first verse, the rhythm guitar fades in and reinforces a chorus with a strong commercial flavored hook. I like how the song picks up in pace for an instrumental passage opening to a blend of hard hitting rhythm guitar and keyboards that transitions to a fast paced bluesy guitar solo.
The thunderstorm opening "Storms Of Eve" gives way to a drum solo and an energetic metal flavored guitar riff, the ethereal flavored guitar line that fades in propelling the song through its first two minutes in a stylish manner. Slowing to a prominently mixed bass line for its first and second verse, "Storms Of Eve" smoothly progresses to an infectious chorus giving rise to an atmospheric feel. Great song.
The album closes to the very well done acoustic based ballad "A Day To Live For".
If you enjoy early nineties Bride or straightforward classic hard rock, then Intensity Shift comes with a strong recommendation. Proving to be one of the finest independent releases this reviewer has heard in some time, the albums strength resides in the bands first-rate songwriting: Tracks such as "Interesting Times", "Shift", "Days Of The Dove", "O, Beautiful Light", "In Your Hands", "Sea Of Dreams" and "Storms Of Eve" all stand out with noteworthy melodies. And based on the potential it displayed here, I eagerly anticipate the sophomore release from Intensity Shift.
Review by: Andrew Rockwell
Track Listing: "Interesting Times" (4:43), "Entrance" (1:04), "Shift" (4:17), "Open Door" (:17), "Days Of The Dove" (5:56), "O Beautiful Light" (5:44), "In Your Hands" (5:55), "Western Skies" (3:54), "Dusk" (1:03), "Sea Of Dreams" (5:56), "Storms Of Eve" (5:28), "A Day To Live For" (3:59)
Leonard Lewis IV – Lead Vocals & Bass
Terry S. Greene – Guitars
Clinton Dodson – Drums
Naiomi Weaver, Jeremy Ficklin & Keith Bryant - Keyboards