Allow us to introduce Shepherd! Fresh onto the scene after a rebrand, the reignition of Shepherd kicks off with their debut single “Prisoners”, which we are stoked to premiere. The band is made up of Ben Jevanath (vocals), Ryan Wilson (vocals and bass), Jordan Lalchand (guitar), Sam Devaraj (guitar), and Dan Eddison (drums).
Originally forming in 2016, the Melbourne five piece gained attention in the Destroy All Lines ‘Battle Of The Bands’ competition last year as well as Music Victoria’s GRID Series. They’ve since rebranded and restructured; determined to make 2018 a big one for the band. Shepherd are busy writing toward their debut EP planned for release later in 2018, and will be sharing a line-up with Ocean Grove, Thornhill, and Mirrors next month when they officially launch the single. The band worked with Ermin Hamidovic (Periphery, Architects) to master “Prisoners”, with recording and mixing by guitarist Sam Devaraj.
Getting to know Shepherd via “Prisoners” is an action packed 5 minutes, where intensity and stillness both speak volumes. The track begins strongly: Intricate riffs, soaring and ominous soundscapes, and brutal vocals together craft an oppressive atmosphere of being stuck and trapped in a never ending loop and fighting to break free of it. Shepherd’s vocalist Ben Jevanath echoes this impression, stating “This song lyrically speaks about being a prisoner in a metaphorical sense“.
When the defeated sense of struggle drops and things become quieter, we’re left with raw vocals; alone in ache and uncertainty in a beautiful soundscape. It’s as though reality has hit with full force in the silence and there’s nowhere left to hide except face acknowledgement:
“I am a slave to my vices”
The sound (as well as the fight for change) progressively builds again with drums that feel weighty in their struggle and striving. Lyrically and musically the track now seems like a measured assessment of the self and weighing up who they’ve become, where (really satisfying) driving riffs joining in feel like determination to be elsewhere other than where they are. Soon seeming like moving into something new, clean vocals arriving on the scene feel like a hero that’s pulling them out of dense mud with a strong rope. The expansive chorus promises that something more is possible.
The solidly unfolding track includes a stand-out interlude section, where clean vocals flow out far and wide, and gentle guitar and drums accompany. Leading into a satisfying riff of overcoming, as well as soaring vocals, there’s a distinctly moving shift in the song and both vocalists join forces toward what feels like a resolution. As “Prisoners” comes to a close, there’s quiet and calm acknowledgement of what they’ve been through.
Lyrically thoughtful and musically strong, “Prisoners” is an impressive debut and welcoming invitation to Shepherd and their sound.
More details on the Shepherd single launch here: https://www.facebook.com/events/142090463311133/