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Lion Shepherd - Heat CD (album) cover

HEAT

Lion Shepherd

 

Crossover Prog

2.96 | 16 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

kev rowland
Special Collaborator
Crossover Prog Team
5 stars One of the benefits of having built up contacts over the years, is that sometimes I receive albums that I wouldn't have otherwise have come across. One day I was talking to my good friend and fellow writer Olav Bjørnsen in Denmark, and he told me that he had a duplicate of the new album by Lion Shepherd, and would I be interested in hearing it. A while later it turned up in the post, and I was impressed even before hearing it as here was fold out digipak that opened out so it formed a cross, with plenty of information on all sides, the booklet pasted into the top section, and the CD in the middle. A lot of effort and money had gone into this, and it is rare for a band to have that much spent on them unless they are quite special.

I undertook some research, and was somewhat surprised to discover that the guys were Polish, based around singer Kamil Haidar and Mateusz Owczarek (electric guitars, acoustic guitars, Irish bouzouki). They were joined on the album by Łukasz Adamczyk (bass), Sławek Berny (drums, percussion), Kasia Rościńska (backing vocals) and Wojtek Olszak (keyboards). The reason I was surprised was that musically this certainly sounds as if its roots are in the UK and the US as well as the Middle East, and I firmly expected the band to come from one of those two countries. They themselves describe their music as a "mix of world music, trance, progressive rock, blues, and Middle Eastern motifs. In addition to traditional European instruments, there is the Syrian oud lute, the Persian santur, and various Indian and Arabic percussion instruments." It is like nothing else I have ever heard from Poland, mixing and melding styles from many musical forms into something that is layered, polished, melodic and almost poppy on the first hearing, but with percussion and underlying musical motifs that transcend any particular genre or culture.

That this album is a masterpiece is never in doubt, that it is firmly one of my albums of the year is also something that isn't even up for debate. Each song brings a new delight, a new style, a new passion, and is one of those where the class and power shines through from the beginning to the very end. I knew it was special when I saw the packaging, I just didn't know how very special it was. This is essential.

kev rowland | 5/5 |

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