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Shift - "Watch It Burn" (CD/EP)

Shift - "Watch It Burn" CD/EP cover image

"Watch It Burn" track listing:

1. Stand Against
2. Into The Whites Of Your Eyes
3. The March
4. Watch It Burn
5. On The Brink
6. Water On The Sun

Reviewed by on March 23, 2012

"The ambition that went into creating Shift's 'Watch It Burn' is commendable. Unfortunately, the results often feel disjointed."

It's hard to fault Australian act Shift for the ambition shown on "Watch It Burn," an alt-metal EP that, unfortunately, never quite catches fire. Certainly, the range of styles on display here is quite impressive, ranging from the speedy thrash of "Into The Whites Of Your Eyes" to the elegaic piano of "Water On The Sun." Unfortunately, the disc never quite seems to gel into a coherent whole.

The closest the band gets is in the opener, "Stand Against," which has a thrashy feel for about two-thirds of the way through, before turning into what can almost be described as a jazz guitar solo, and then returning back to thrash mode.

Things get truly weird on "Into The Whites Of Your Eyes," with a near-psychedelic mid-section. Then it's off to "The March," which begins with a slow and beautiful electric intro, before shifting into what seems to be electric keyboards and an almost dance-floor feel that feels nothing like either of the earlier two songs.

Then it's back to metal, with the title track, "Watch It Burn," which feels almost like a Soundgarden track, with its heavy mid-tempo groove. The next track, "On The Brink," merges Soundgarden style with groovier drumming, which feels a bit out of sync. The disc ends with "Water On The Sun," a bizarre piano-laden track that features some weird timing that makes it hard to really latch on to.

That said, it's all more than competently performed, and even some of the more off-putting moments (the strange middle of "Into The Whites Of Your Eyes" and "Watch It Burn"'s quiet chorus come to mind) are interesting enough. The biggest problem I had with the EP is that, for me. the songs don't really have any sense of common identity to them. Others may not have the same issue. And, besides that, you can't beat the price of the EP, which the band is offering for free on its website. A deluxe version, which features a cover of Anthrax's "In My World" and a couple other tracks, is also available for purchase there.

The ambition that went into creating Shift's "Watch It Burn" is commendable. Unfortunately, the results often feel disjointed. That said, there are plenty of moments when the band pulls off the style shifts, and the opening track, "Stand Against" alone is worth the download.

Highs: "Stand Alone" and "Watch It Burn."

Lows: The bizarre "Water On The Sun."

Bottom line: An ambitious but disjointed alt-metal EP that's worth the download for the moments the band gets it all right.

Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls
2.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)