Shepherds Reign – Ala Mai Review

Shepherds Reign - Ala Mai That Metal music has turned into a global phenomenon we are all aware of, but the reach of this phenomenon – by the way, there is a UFO album called “Phenomenon” that is simply fantastic – sometimes beats us all. As my dear child of the night knows it’s my use of never say the nationality of the bands I review here for many reasons. I have to say it’s fantastic the diversity of origins we have been getting here for these seven years. You wouldn’t know. I wouldn’t either. I would never wonder to get an album from Polynesia sang in Samoan. Really. Once we’ve got a band from Kazakhstan, other from Mongolia and those are the most unexpected origins we’ve got. This Metal world is always surprising us with its music and for the reach it gets. It’s fair to say that Metal music is one of the most beloved on the surface of this sade and lonely and pathetic little planet.

There are two ways of analysing “Ala Mai” of Shepherds Reign. One of them is about their origin. It’s the easiest and there are a truck load of things to say. The other is about their music which is also very diverse. There are a truck load of things to say as well.

Ok, so first things first. Shepherds Reign are famous in Australasia for their primal performance, one which evokes many aspects of their cultural heritage and fierce Polynesian pride. There’s the enormous intimidating presence of James, a towering hulk of humanity adorned with the shark tooth necklace (as are all the band members) who demands your full attention and gets it. Then there’s the gargantuan riffs and twisting dual melodies of Voon and Leupolu, whose virulent virtuosity is undeniable. Rounding out the sound is the crushing, bombastic Rameka/George rhythm section, which gives Shepherds Reign their propulsive, dynamic metal sound.

Now the music. “Ala Mai (Awaken)” is a hodgepodge of Metal music influences from the so called Groove Metal from the initial songs to a Modern Metal verve in the last. Intertwined with all these are the tribal influences with lots of drumming and the cultural vocalizations the band does. I have to say that these are the most interesting things of the album. They are the elements that stand them out of the crowd besides, of course, to sing in Samoan. Hidden in the album there are songs in English as “Cold Summers Night,” “Finally,” “The World Bleeds,” and “Never Forgotten,” but, so sorry for this, they are standard. Shepherds Reign’s deal is tracks as “Atali’i” whose guitars mix a Death metal sonancy with a Modern grip. The song just gets fantastic. The guitars solos stand up when compared to the drumming and the other Polynesian elements. The same it’s possible to say about “Samoa Mo Samoa” except about the guitar solos. The vocals are the thing that stand out here with the strong guitar riffings.

I could write a lot about “Ala Mai,” but I will only add that I highly recommend the album. It’s really some kind of experience.

Shepherds Reign’ “Ala Mai” will be released on August 25th Golden Robot Records.

Track Listing:

    1. Samoa O La’u Fesili
    2. Aiga
    3. Le Manu
    4. Nafanua
    5. Ua Masaa
    6. Ala Mai
    7. The World Bleeds
    8. Cold Summers Night
    9. Finally
    10. Never Forgotten
    11. Atali’i
    12. Samoa Mo Samoa
    13. Mo’omo’ogo Sa

Watch “Aiga” official music video here: