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Friday 9 June 2017

Reviews: Lion Shepherd, 7 Miles To Pittsburgh, Theia, Syteria (Reviews By Paul)

Lion Shepherd: Heat (Self Released)

Back in October 2015 we discovered Polish progressive oriental outfit Lion Shepherd when they were main support to Riverside at The Marble Factory in Bristol. Their debut release, Hirath, received a 9/10 when we reviewed it a few days later. The duo, Kamil Hiadar and Mateusz Owczarek are back with sophomore release Heat, and it’s just as bloody good. Containing the same uplifting mix of prog, rock, blues, trance, world music and Middle Eastern sounds as Hirath, it is a real masterpiece. The title track encourages you to jump around, such is the middle hook. Code Of Life begins gentle and subtle, with essence of Floyd mixing with impressive eastern influences in the percussion. Haidar’s vocals, nicely supported by some female backing vocals are even better than the debut.

It’s difficult and perhaps wrong to try and pigeon-hole Lion Shepherd to one genre, such is their range. When The Curtain Falls fuses the sounds of bands like Orphaned Land and Riverside perfectly, the progressive elements of the band’s sound quite magical, and the harmonies at the end of the track bring to mind elements of another prog master, Devin Townsend. Dream On is mystical, with Kate Bush type percussion amidst the kaleidoscope of sounds. Every track is different, maintaining interest. Storm Is Coming is perhaps the rockiest song on the release, superb guitar work chopping across a myriad of aural delights. A beautiful release, one which I would highly recommend you check out. Lion Shepherd are fascinating. 9/10

7 Miles To Pittsburgh - Self Titled (Suburban Records)

Although 7 Miles To Pittsburgh are a new outfit, having formed as recently as 2014, the three members have substantial collective experience between them. Bassist Martin Helmantel was the cornerstone of prog rockers Elegy for 17 years whilst guitarist Martin Elt and drummer Joris Linder have also vast experience. The result of their efforts is the self-titled debut which is as classy a hard rock album as you could wish for. Full of Zeppelin style quality, deep Hammond organs combine in a cacophony of sound with some stunning guitar work from Elt, shored expertly by the perfect rhythm section. The Dutch outfit deliver a range of styles, from the funk fused hard edged rock of Same Size Soul, the Sabbath riff filled Earth Dance and the uplifting Jambalaya. There was no point in this release where my attention wandered for a second such is the stimulus that their sound brings. I strongly recommend getting a bit of this quite magnificent release. It is superb. 9/10

Theia: Back In Line (WDFD Records)

Theia is a power trio from Burton-on-Trent. Back In Line is their second album. It sits in the Black Stone Cherry camp, with clean melodies, catchy hooks and throwaway choruses. The songs are well written, steadily performed with a confidence that belies their young age. Vocalist and guitarist Kyle Lamley has a rather generic vocal delivery but never waivers whilst the rest of the band join him to really kick out the jams on tracks like My Poison and Back In Line, both delivered with a southern swagger, whilst Just Go has shades of Shinedown, Airbourne and early Def Leppard (circa On Through The Night). The band are confident, building on their solid foundations and would be a welcome addition to any hard rock festival. Heads down, no nonsense hard rock is always welcome and Theia is very much on the invitation. Well worth checking out. 8/10

Syteria: Rant O Bot (Pledge/Independent)

Syteria first came to my attention supporting Joanovarc earlier this year. They were routine, with throwaway rock tracks that didn’t really make a lasting impression. The band contain Girlschool guitarist Jackie Graham, whose guitar work is perfectly competent but with little to spark the interest. Rant O Bot is their debut release and like their performance at Fuel, it’s a routine 35 minutes of throwaway pop rock, mainly written in a similar style, relying heavily on harmonies and repetition. Stand out track Loner allows vocalist Julia Cavo to let rip and show that she has a decent voice. The riff is catchy with a solid solo holding the middle together. The band sound better on this release than they did live. And that’s about the best I can offer. 5/10

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