Sunday 17 January 2021

SHEPHERD - First Hand (EP Review)

Release Date: November 20th 2020. Record Label: Destruent Records. Format: DD/Vinyl

First Hand - Tracklisting

Sea Cave
The West


Holden Sims (bass/vocals)
Austin Garrett (guitar/vocals)
Nate Bilodeau (drums)


First Hand is the debut EP from Doom/Stoner Rock Trio SHEPHERD who hail from Denver, Colorado. This band plays music inspired by Torche, Deftones and Mastodon where their riffs even manages to cover the world of Prog Rock and even Grunge for a highly interesting and multi-varied sound.

The EP runs for around 28 minutes and Shepherd show a lot of depth to their music and reminds me mostly of Torche and Mastodon especially on the excellent opening song Sea Cave which plays at an intelligent fast pace with progressive guitars that offer a slight Alternative Metal approach. The music is quite loud and with the band being very approachable despite the heavy grizzled and almost growl based vocals appearing.

Second song - Chariot - is a more Stoner Metal tinged affair with the Doom Metal grooves coming on very strong and the bands showing an early-era Mastodon rhythm to their vocals and the content of the lyrics. Though, Shepherd keeps things on track with their own great style of identity and grizzled psychedelic moments making this one of the standout parts of the record. The band effortlessly moves from Progressive Sludge vibes to a cool addictive Doom Metal flavour that shows their true creative power.

Third song - Wendigo - is a more straightforward affair with the band channelling their inner 
Deftones/Mastodon spirit and playing a fantastic mix of Alternative Rock, Doom Metal and Stoner Metal riffs with a delicious almost “POP” sensibility.

The second half of the EP carries on with Shepherd playing more intelligent riff-driven music across 3 tracks where we see an almost Post-Doom/Post-Stoner sensibility leading the way especially on the songs Persephone and The West.

First Hand sounds excellent from start to finish and has a similar flow and feel to some of the legendary Doom/Stoner Metal albums that Relapse Records were known for back in the day.

Shepherd are another wonderful and from the Denver, Colorado scene to check out. There’s a ton of great ideas bursting out from this record that make Shepherd a band to look out for in the future. I await their next release with huge anticipation.

Excellent and Highly Recommended.

Words by Steve Howe

First Hand is available to buy on DD/Vinyl now via Destruent Records