Shepherd – Shepherd (demo)
Release date: February 1, 2015
Well thought out lyrical concepts, solid production quality, good melodic death/thrash, basically everything on here is what should be incorporated in a demo. My contention overall is that this deserves at least a “B” rating because it’s dark, creative, intriguing and uncompromising. It’s taken me quite a while to finally arrive at a conclusion here. What sets Shepherd apart from most bands are that the vocals make the atmospheric aura of the music more depressing than it really is. But if you read the lyrical content of these three songs, “Disaster of War”, “Dead Body”, and “Eye to the Keyhole”, you’ll know why it’s been set to have this grim voice hover over the melodic distorted guitar-work. A well produced demo as well, you can hear pretty much everything on here. It’s got a quality sound.
I’m guessing a possible influence would not only be newer bands like Vektor, but older bands like Metallica of the old in respect to guitar tonality and diversity, other bands such as old Slayer as well as maybe even Megadeth. That covers more of the thrash aspect of the band but if you see under the genres there’s actually the blend of melodic death AND thrash metal. So it’s two combined and I can tell a lot of the darker sound would reflect old At The Gates, Soilwork, even old Dismember of whom were pretty much the most melodic on their debut. But Shepherd seems to touch on their influences to mesh into their own sound and make the music work keeping it depressing and totally in the realm of the underground.
You get more than just crunch tone guitar action here–there’s also a clean portion, but the overall effort is something that’s more aggressive and uncompromising. There are bands that emulate their influences but these guys seemed to want to create their own sort of sound and not sound just like another metal band. That’s why I give them a positive rating because there are not only those two genres here, there’s innovation and unique qualities to their output. The music is pretty heavy but it’s not death metal sounding, the vocals make the sound more death-like. The music isn’t drowned out by the voice — they mainly augment the sound and keep you guessing what’s to come next. Bright future for these guys.
There wasn’t a whole bunch of lead guitar work, it was mostly rhythm guitars and you can tell that they didn’t let technology do most of the work. It was to me a talented output to say the least. These guys are going through changes in their lineup currently and pretty much most of who contributed to this demo are no longer with the band unfortunately. The main man is still active though, that’s who was the force behind Shepherd‘s music and lyrics. Just as long as that holds in place, you will have new music in the future for these guys. So yeah, I think it’s an important thing to do which is to check out and listen to this act’s demo, it’s definitely worth your time and listening pleasure!