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Thursday, February 12, 2015

LP Review: 'Stereolithic Riffalocalypse' by Shepherd

Heavy thick slabs of doom-laden riffs, primal suffocated vocals, and the most metal of metal song titles are what Bangalore, India, band Shepherd are offering in droves on their debut record Stereolithic Riffalocalypse, with one catch; once you’re drawn in, you’re stuck there forever.

The three masked men of the doom-grunge-stoner apocalypse (Namit, Abhishek, Deepak) have crafted a record which effortlessly flickers through elements of heavy fuzzed over doom, slowly dragging your corpse through the thick swampy waters of a desolate night, meteoric-sized stoner riffs that make you want to invert your face, and grunge elements akin to The Melvins being raised on Soundgarden’s teats. Opening with the darkly heavy  ‘Snake Pit’, the trio rive in a sea of ethereal despair singing “Slow unease sinks into the body of frozen blood and grinding bones”, “I’m hidden in the pit, I’m hidden in the pit of spite.” Holy hell are the riffs heavy as the song builds to its demonic climax.

The band like to have fun with their song titles, aside from the mightier-than-thou record title, songs such as ‘Turdspeak’ and ‘Black Cock of Armageddon’ can on the surface make the guys look like a comedy band, but in the case of Shepherd, it’s a band not just blessed with a sense of humour, but their tongue-in-cheek titles propel the band onto a layer of music that many other doom orientated bands are not able to reach with at times alienating attitudes to music, thinking themselves as demonic spawn; Shepherd want you to know that they are all about the music, letting everyone in to simply rock/doom/grunge out with them. In particular, ‘Black Cock of Armageddon’ has guitar shredding to match the earliest of Thrash metal, heavy doom yells for lovers of the riff, and spiteful, devastating lyrics which could be used as the last words spoken to your nemesis before the boot of Shepherd stomps on their face, forever.

Stereolithic Riffalocalypse is dark without being alienating, it explores different styles without disrespecting any, it’s heavy without forgetting its structure and flow, but above all, it is a truly awesome record, for lovers of everything that is HEAVY!

(on a side note, you have to admire that artwork, designed by Dangercat the band wanted it to "look like an ancient massive guitar amp kinda like the monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey", and you have to say it is spot on, and perfectly captures the sound of Shepherd!)

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