Denver doom rockers Shepherd play like they’re trying to dwarf the Rockies with their riffs. Their upcoming First Hand debut is a rustic expedition through doom and stoner rock wastelands. Their mammoth melodicism evokes the harmonicraft sludge of Torche if it got lost in a dust storm. By weaving in elements of outlaw country and desert psych, Shepherd will also appeal to fans of Alice in Chains and Mastodon. First Hand will be available from Destruent Records on November 20th. But Decibel has an exclusive track (“Persephone”) to satiate your curiosity early.
If you don’t remember the myth of Persephone let us quickly refresh you: After Persephone is abducted by Hades and forced to live in the underworld, Perspehone’s mother searches the earth for her daughter. After some bullshit trickery from Hades, Persephone is forced to spend a third of every year underground. Whenever Persephone emerges from captivity, vegetation flourishes. But when she returns to Hades, her mother’s sorrow brings the weight of winter crashing down on the world.
Shepherd capture the sullen majesty of that myth in this hypnotic, evocative song. “Persephone” commences with the solemn strum and pluck of clean guitars. But that’s just a mirage. Before you can cling to the melody, Shepherd buries the quiet with a blizzard of distortion. It feels like the wrenching of a heart, and the clenching of an angry jaw.
“Our pursuit always is to make music that people can feel and move to,” the band says in a statement. “In “Persephone,” we wanted to write something straightforward with impact. The pieces fell together and we knew instantly that it was one of our best efforts.
“Persephone was born out of the malaise and the doldrums of winter,” the band continues, “when the days are short and the nights are long. A general longing for the breath of spring, and the renewal that it provides, was the emphasis for this track. The spirit beneath it all is something that calls back to pagan and polytheistic beliefs where the seasons meant life and death. Our hope is that the audience can hear the love we poured into this song and the album, and that it will take them somewhere beyond our intentions.”
Prepare for winter’s sullen reign and stream Shepherd’s “Persephone” below.
Pre-order Shepherd’s First Hand from Destruent Records on Bandcamp HERE
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