The Coldest Day

Exile on Mainstream

Shepherd is the kind of band that you will listen to after a rough day. Their music is drenched in anger, frustration, gloom and doom; the best way to accentuate your crappy mood is to put on a disc like The Coldest Day and let it all soak in.

To give Shepherd the simple “doom” tag is unfair, as they are much more than that. The band has a flair for sinister yet catchy melodies, which they play on guitars that hark back to Sabbath in their heyday. Their bass player also goes for the overdriven sound, and the combination of the two overdriven instruments sounds rather ’70s in tone. Yet, the songs do not sound dated at all. Their melodies are based in various blues structures that sound timeless and triumphant. It’s as if Shepherd’s music is the battle cry for the frustrated and pissed.

I had a hard time getting into singer Andreas Kohl’s voice. I would have liked to have heard a vocalist who sounds a bit angrier; Kohl sings a bit too much, in a strange, almost Nick Cave-esque voice. It just doesn’t mesh well with the music.

Overall, The Coldest Day takes the somewhat tiresome “doom” genre and ups the ante by adding undeniably catchy melodies and hummable hooks. While this is definitely some dark and angry stuff, it might have a bit too much sunshine in it for fans of Khanate, Sunn 0))) and Isis. You really need to appreciate strong songcraft and melodies to enjoy Shepherd. Surely, fans of Sabbath, Grief, and The Obsessed will find this album quite enjoyable.

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