Exposé Online banner

Lion Shepherd — Heat
(MJM5278, 2017, CD)

by Peter Thelen, 2017-09-26:

Heat Cover art

About a minute into the first song “On the Road Again,” I thought to myself "These guys sound kind of like Azigza, but without the violin," then the heavy and crunchy Tool-like guitars come into the picture and change my perception somewhat more, and so on it went for the full ten songs here. Also somewhat interesting was the eight-fold packaging that opens in all directions featuring a map of the middle east, with a booklet featuring all the lyrics in a booklet pasted onto the inside of one of the panels. It was definitely a positive experience on first listening. Enough to make me seek out the band’s first album Hiraeth before proceeding. While the first album is a strong entry, and probably features more variety (from heavier rock to melancholy singer-songwriter stuff) and more diverse instrumentation (including harmonica, oud, and santoor), it compares like baby steps to the far more confident and directed sound of this, their second album. So who are these guys? Lion Shepherd is essentially the Polish duo of Kamil Heidar (vocals and lyrics) and Mateusz Owczarek (acoustic and electric guitars, Irish bouzouki), with Stawek Berny joining them on drums and percussion (which includes numerous hand drums, tablas, etc.). The rest of the band includes Kasia Roskinska on backing vocals, Lucasz Adamczyk on bass, and Wojtek Olszak on keyboards, the latter three all new arrivals since the first album. They are attempting to create a fusion of middle-eastern and western Asian sounds and European progressive rock, informed also by jazz, blues, and metal, and fully succeeding. While there is perhaps less variety than their debut, the result is nonetheless a more single-minded and conceptually directed effort that pulls strength and power from their many influences. This is a band with great ideas that is going somewhere.


by Henry Schneider, 2017-09-26:

Lion Shepherd is a prog-oriented project led by friends Kamil Haidar and Mateusz Owczarek. Though living most of his life in Poland, Kamil spent his early years in Libya and Syria, which brings an Arabic influence into his music. Heat is their second album, a strong and consistent set of ten progressive and psychedelic influenced songs with Syrian oud, Persian santour, and various Indian and Arabic percussion instruments adding an exotic element to the standard electric guitar, bass, and drums. In addition to Kamil (vocals) and Mateusz (electric and acoustic guitars and Irish bouzouki), they are joined by Lukasz (bass), Stawek Berny (drums and percussion), Kasia Roscinska (backing vocals), and Wojteck Olszak (keyboards). Both the CD and LP come in lavish foldout packaging with maps, photos, and inserts. The music integrates Turkish and Arabian themes with some gothic West Coast psych elements, a bit of Native American rhythms and chants, and hard rock. The final song, “Swamp Song,” even reminds me a bit of the type of song Steven Wilson would write. Kamil uses music to express his joys and sorrows, but he never relates the inspiration behind his lyrics, wanting the listener to find his or her own way. As an example then, I think that the song “Storm Is Coming” might be about a zombie apocalypse, but I could be all wrong. I find it difficult to single out specific songs, as the entire album is excellent, though I do find “Dream On” and “Dazed by Glory” to be particularly interesting. Lion Shepherd is definitely a band to watch.


Filed under: New releases , 2017 releases

Related artist(s): Lion Shepherd

More info

Latest news

2018-09-05
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more

2018-07-31
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more

2018-07-09
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more

2018-07-01
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more

2018-06-25
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Red Pocket - Thick – Fans of the wonderful Charming Hostess can now rejoice. While this is not a Charming Hostess album, it does feature Jewlia Eisenberg in a somewhat similar setting. Her vocal foil for this outing is...  (2005) » Read more

Roine Stolt - The Flower King – Its been a while since we've heard from former Kaipa guitarist Roine Stolt. This album received a lot of hype recently, and claiming to be a symphonic rock album from a member of Kaipa, I...  (1995) » Read more

Pangée - Hymnemonde – I thought this niche of the symphonic rock genre was long dead, but I'm very glad it isn't. Pangée of Quebec, Canada is strongly in the 70s French symphonic vein with heavy nods in the...  (1997) » Read more

Robert Fripp - The Gates of Paradise – Here is the next installment in Robert Fripp’s ongoing Soundscapes series, except this one is surprisingly dull. Here we have a full length disc on which Fripp explores precisely one (1) guitar...  (1999) » Read more

Mushroom - Alive and in Full Bloom – "Krautrock, psychedelic and Jazz influences” or so it states in a large orange label on the CD cover. I saw this band open for Kevin Ayers in San Francisco so I was already familiar with...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues