This album from Shihad really cemented their place at the top of New Zealand rock which is where they presently remain. The General Electric was released before any of their name change debacles that caused a lot of controversy over the band after Sept 11. (They had to change their name to Pacifier to break into the US as Shihad was deemed too close a name to 'Jihad.' Just last year however, they changed their name back to Shihad.)
The General Electric (TGE) followed an album which saw the band branch out from their heavy industrial metal influences and showed a more melodic side to them. This opened the door for TGE and huge anticipation awaited it upon release and in my opinion they delivered a masterpiece.
Jon Toogood - Vocals, guitar
Tom Larkin - Drums
Karl Kippenberger - Bass
Phil Knight - Guitar
Song by Song -
Intro - Just random electro guitar sounds which is the start to the last song on the album 'Brightest Star.' It is a relaxing start to the album and builds suspense perfectly for the explosive start of 'My Minds Sedate.' (1.04 mins)
My Minds Sedate - A single off the album and it is one of the heaviest. Contains a heavy jerky riff with the verses and has an instantly catchy chorus where Jon Toogood sings 'My Minds Sedate' over and over. A brilliant early song on the album and gets you pumping for the rest. A killer track live also.
4/5 (2.53 mins)
The General Electric - Another single and the title track. It is the longest track on the album and it my favourite Shihad track. Nothing else i've heard sounds like it. Contains a feedback intro which leads to the verses with the bass going everywhere with silent guitar and the vocals quite shreaky. The bridge is my favourite part of the song with a heavy, catchy riff leading into a chorus which releases all the tension. Jon sings "You're holding everything inside" followed by "Don't it feel good to be alive!" The song breaks down in the middle and cranks back up into the chorus and finishes with the catchy riff. Perfect stuff.
5/5 (5.45 mins)
Wait and See - Yet another single (no not every song is its just the way the tracklist goes!) This track is the first signs that their melodic/electronic movement is here to stay. It has a very electro guitar riff with a constant bassline behind it for the most part. This song took a while to grow on me but I really enjoy it now and it is like nothing else I've heard. A cool chorus which changes but I like the "Space for every boy and girl/become the acne on the face of the world" line. Also "Watch as money takes control" is a great line.
4/5 (4.34 mins)
Pacifier - The song which inspired Shihads brief name change to Pacifier. It is a very popular song which is very melodic and has very little hint of their heavy past. Starts of with the line "You feeling good today cause I got told that you weren't" which sets the tone for the song which is relaxing and kind of inspirational. Its about helping someone in need and ends with the line "Common lets take a look outside" which gives hope. Has keyboards in the background which is a nice touch. The drum beat is very catchy also.
The Thin White Line - BOOM this songs just explodes after Pacifier and gets you pumping again. Contains a riff which is similar to the bridge in The General Electric. Jon sounds quite angry on this one and the agression comes across well. It contains the first true solo of the album as the song builds to a powerful ending. A great song which would have made a great single.
5/5 (3.15 mins)
Only Time - This song is in the Wait ans See mould as it has a very evident electo feel especially with the distorted bass. I really enjoy this song especially its chorus which includes '..and you can break away till you'rve found your own way.' The first and third verses both have minimal guitar with soft drums which is a nice change. This song has Shihad blending their rock influences with the electro sound almost perfectly.
Just Like Everybody Else - This is the most punk influenced song on the album and would sound completely out of place if not for the riffs on The General Electric and The Thin White Line. There is nothing too special about this song but I still enjoy it due its catchy chorus and fast tempo. The best part is when the music stops for Jon to sing "I've got a chance to be myself just like everybody else!"
Sport and Religion - Another relaxed electro song. I dont think its as good as Only Time but it has a constant bassline which keeps the song moving and picks up for the chorus. The main riff on guitar has a lot of effects which takes a little bit of getting used to. Overall it takes a while but it has grown on me.
Spacing - This song is a great softer song which is refreshing to hear later on in the album. It starts of with soft guitar and a litlle bass tune and no drums. Jon sings 'Well I'm sad but I'm not empty, cause today it's on the cards that I'm on the moon.' The drums kick in later on and give the song a good feel into a big chorus which is amazing and makes you sit up and take note. The song breaks down in the middle and cranks up for an emotional finish. A brilliant song which wouldnt have fit on Shihads first couple of albums!
The Metal Song - The name says it all for the most part. The band is agressive again on this one. It contains a heavy, bassy riff however the twist lies in the chorus where the music gets a lot less heavy and contains the words "believe in what you want to be." The song has an inspirational bridge, goes haevy again and then finishes with the softer chorus. Its quite a unique song which contains their two styles in one!
Life in Cars - Life in cars is quite a standard rock song (which is unusual for these guys to write!). The guitars have a mainstream sound and theres no real electro sounds happening. Nevertheless its a great song with a solid drumbeat with a strong chorus and bridge.
Brightest Star - This song took a while to grow on me and for a while I would stop the album after Life In Cars. Now the song has grown on me like a few others on thwe album. The start is exactly the same as 'Intro' and leads on to vocals this time. There are no drums and minimal bass its very electronic guitars and singing and provides a relaxing, kinda spacey end to the album. I enjoy the song now and Jons voice is very strong on this.
TGE is an album which I bought expecting only to like the big songs. However this album is really solid from start to finish and is one of my favourites of all time. The electro influences they placed with their rock sound provided a good mix and produced songs that are very unique and are quite hard to describe. Its a shame because this album is not very accessible outside Australasia and I feel that if it were, Shihad would have made an impression further abroad. If your wanting to get some tracks from the band to see what they sound like, definately try getting your hands on 'My Minds Sedate,' 'The General Electric' and 'Wait and See'