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(47:42; MJM Music)
TRACK LIST: 1. On the Road Again 2:37 2. Heat 4:26 3. Code of Life 4:33 4. When the Curtain Falls 4:21 5. Dream On 5:21 6. Fail 5:05 7. Storm Is Coming 4:42 8. Dazed by Glory 4:26 9. Farewell 6:14 10. Swamp Song 5:57 LINEUP: Kamil Haidar - vocals Mateus Owczarek - guitars, bouzouki Lukasz Adamczyk - bass Slawomir Berny - drums, percussion Kasia Roscinska - backing vocals Wojtek Olszak - keyboards
Prolusion. Polish band Lion Shepherd was formed back in 2014, and they made a bit of an impact in progressive rock circles with the release of their debut album "Hirateh" the following year. The band have released a further two albums since then, with the most recent of these appearing in 2021. The album "Heat" dates back to 2017, and was released through Polish label MJM Music.
Analysis. While the music of Lion Shepherd is both interesting and well made on this album, the style explored on this production doesn't have all that many connections with progressive rock, at least not in a conventional manner. The band does blend elements from folk music with rock and a bit of hard rock though, and they add a bit of world music to the proceedings too, so for those with a general interest in artists combining those aspects of music this will still be an interesting production. Just as long as a more elaborate manner of doing this isn't expected. Many of the songs develop in a fairly similar manner here. We get an opening part that comes with a world music flavor to a lesser or greater degree, with Eastern sounding tones and timbres being the main element of choice. The song will then gradually take on an increasing measure of what I'd describe as a US sounding vibe. Sometimes with an inclusion and gradual take over of the song with US style singer/songwriter arrangements with as well as without a rock music addition, on other occasions with a transition over to more roots oriented landscapes with as well as without a blues inclusion. A bit of heartland rock and classic rock US style find their way into other songs, and a more vibrant but classic variety of hard rock finds its way into a few songs. On occasion the band will revisit the world music flavors or explore songs that have more of an ebb and flow between the Eastern and the Western sounds. But a select few exceptions aside it is the western sounding elements that dominates this production. On some levels one might regard this album as a bit of a cultural bridge builder. By mixing and blending Eastern and Western sounds and sticking to music with a potential broad reach an artist will be able to build a greater cultural understanding among those who listen to this album. To hear that the exotic Eastern sounds aren't all that removed from the roots music of the US, to experience that the vibes from nations with a culture and often religion different from ours can live so naturally with the sounds you are used to as a Westerner. There is a good chance that this is more of an accidental feature of the album of course, but on occasion I do like to think that artists might think along such lines.
Conclusion. While the music on this album may not be of the kind that will inspire dedicated progheads to track down the album to add it to their collections, those with a taste for well made and well produced music should find a lot to enjoy here. The blend of world music and more US typical roots, singer/songwriter and rock music is smooth and seamless, and the rock and hard rock elements present are used to good effect to add nerve and tension to the landscapes explored. A solid album to enjoy by those with a general affection for artists that use and combine elements from world music, folk music and rock music and also fuse and blend different music and culture traditions in a seamless and appealing manner.
Progmessor: February 2023
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