13 Dec 2018

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  • Shepherds Reign - Gig Review: Shepherds Reign @ Ding Dong Lounge, Auckland - 3/11/2018

Shepherds Reign - Gig Review: Shepherds Reign @ Ding Dong Lounge, Auckland - 3/11/2018

11 Nov 2018 // A review by Alex Moulton

It was looking to be a late night at Ding Dong Lounge with the 8:30 start time being pushed back to 9, then being pushed back even further as they waited for the patrons to make their way upstairs. Traitor’s Fate finally taking to the stage, Shepherds Reign vocalist Filivaa welcome everyone and introduced the evening with a very simple "Welcome to the Shepherds Reign party thing."

Traitor’s Fate are a three-piece instrumental group that sit quite firmly in the hard rock category. With quite a strong 80’s and 90’s influence, each track is full of little sequences that are reminiscent of the likes of ACDC, Iron Maiden, Pearl Jam, and Megadeth & Metallica. With an instrumental group, precision playing is vital as all of the focus is on the instruments, with no vocal section to hide behind.

Alex does a superb job on the guitar, shredding away and makes great use of hammer-on’s and pull-off’s, but while he has some good speed and a fair amount of variation in his riffs, the execution is a little sloppy at times. In an instrumental setting, it really stands out, especially with the live mix having his guitars overpowering the bass and drums to such a large extent. Would love to hear a bit more of a snap to the drums, and a bit more volume on the bass, but it was still a very enjoyable set, with some very talented guitar licks. Apart from stopping twice to quickly say thanks, they didn’t stop at all during their set. Practically continuous playing, each song leading straight into their next.

The second act for the night came in the form of local five-piece Close To The Bone. An interesting group, with two guitars and a bass, there is a very solid, thick sound on stage. Whether the fuzz in the tones they use, or a similarity in notes played, the first few songs in their set did struggle with the guitars merging into an indistinguishable wall of sound, that ended up making the whole thing sound very 90’s grunge rock, especially when combined with Lorenzo’s quiet, mumbling vocal style.

As the set progressed, their instrumental sound increased significantly, and their lead guitarist was in a league of his own, stealing the spotlight on many occasions. Whether it was a poor mix at the desk, or simply poor projection from Lorenzo, the vocal performance did leave a lot to be desired. Much of his lyrical content was not discernible, as it was far too quiet. From what was able to be heard, it sounded like it would be a good style that would fit with the instrumental style, very much having a Chris Cornell vibe to his voice, and a surprisingly solid abrasive scream that he pulled out on a couple of occasions. Some great manic work from the drummer, and some good heavy riffs towards the end.

Final act for the night were the headlining act, Shepherds Reign. The four-piece Polynesian heavy rock act were there to celebrate the release of their debut album, and much of the family had turned up in support. All four sporting their Samoan tooth necklaces and beginning the set with some traditional cultural drumming on a backing track, they jumped into their performance guns blazing; or in this case Gideon and Oliver had their guitars blazing with some awesome duelling guitar action.

Their sound has a thick, heavy chug to it, despite the band having yet to find a bass guitarist to join the ranks. Filivaa was relishing in the praise from the crowd, taking in all the applause with a wide grin. The boys still look a little wooden on stage, not being very animated, but of course Ding Dong is not known for having much stage space to work with. Including a few softer tracks (such as Death) into the mix the set had good variation, with most of the heavier tracks coming across with a strong Godsmack and Avenged Sevenfold vibe to it.

Legend was a cracker of a heavy track and the crowd were in hysterics from the opening notes. But without a bass guitarist on stage with them, they were unable to play through all of their latest material, so they closed off the short set with Concrete Walls, ending the night before midnight hit. There is some room for improvement in Filivaa’s breathing, as his lyrics felt rushed and shortened from time to time, but Gideon and Oliver did a brilliant job no guitars, keeping the interest throughout the set.

Photos by Chris Morgan Photography.


About Shepherds Reign

“Let the flame burn until we die”
Have you ever heard a Pātē (Pacific log drums) fused with heavy metal guitar riffs,
atmospheric rhythms and double kicks? This is Shepherds Reign and in their debut self-titled album, youʻll hear this and more. Itʻs intelligent metal, with melodic thick textures and big melodies delivered with attitude and conviction.

Shepherds Reign is a Polynesian Metal band and are, what we believe to be, a world first. The band is made up of 4 brothers who united in their passion for writing and performing hard hitting music that expresses where they are from and shares their life experiences.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Shepherds Reign


Shepherds Reign
Year: 2018
Type: Album

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