Shield - Build Me Up... Melt Me Down (1994)
Shield were a Swedish hardcore band from the mid 90's. They had releases on Desperate Fight Records. They released one full length and this EP. The EP was their first release to hit the states. It is 5 of the best hardcore songs I have ever heard. I say this with conviction because I have been able to put this on for the past 14 years and still want to listen to it over and over again.
"Flow" is an amazing start off with a great riff. The reference the "relentless flow" and that is a good starting point for how powerful these 5 tracks are. There isnt a weak part to be found (though some might feel differently about the female vocal additions on "Hide"). My personal favorite has always been "The Snowman Blues", which the cover and title cheekily reference. Its starts off slowed down and slurred, like what it must feel like to wake in such cold climes, drums lagging, sounding weird, guitars lazily riffing, then it speeds up to proper speed and it feels like the sun has just opened up on the land... But this isnt post rock, this is a shredder. Of course the lyrics could be the subject of much humour. The song is written from the viewpoint of a snowman who wishes for the sun to shine its warmth upon him, to clear the winter from his heart. "Build me up! Melt me down! Please turn your face to me / I am the snowman, and I am singing, the Snowman Blues". If the song that backs these lyrics werent so amazing then these lyrics would be trampled by tougher animals. But as it is, the chops alone make you feel for the sad, frosty fucker.
So, think Swedens answer to New Age Records... Similar to Outspoken with a dose of early Lifetime melodies (early, like Backgorund early) These 5 songs give The Current EP a run for its money. And for any Outspoken fans, they know that The Current is the best Outspoken record.
I know very little else of Shield, but these 5 songs positively burn with roiling, introspective energy. I havent shown this to one person that did not like it.