Live review from Underground Heavy #10
And once more, Shepherds the Weak were with us. This time one of their number, guitarist Glenn, was missing owing to his family recently having expanded by one, but they promised to “still be loud”, and I think when someone says that, you give them a chance. It’d been a while since I last saw them, and within that time they’ve released their first album, so this put them squarely in post-album territory, and all the problems that entails. Their sound hasn’t changed much; it’s still pretty much like Metallica and Primus thrown into a blender of metalcore sound (the good kind, such as there is), and every now and again they throw in an atmosphere-t dissonant part that betrays their hard rock tendencies, or a more broody Alice in Chains-like guitar solo, or even some crazy-fast and manic parts a-la Butthole Surfers. Their new songs were good omens of the direction in which they’re heading, with Tenun Tenum being a more thrashy, Anthrax-type number, and 6/8 using the uncommon time-signature to create a hard-rocky, almost grungy sound. There are of course, glorious headbangy bits galore, and I happened to notice for the first time that one of the singers…uh, screamers, Ritchie, can scream like several people at once – which is impressive. Towards the end, on songs like Addiction and Defeated & Broken, there was actually a bit of singing which while good, sort of toned down the intensity that characterises their set, and made them sound like Linkin Park or something, and they’re a much better band than that. They too had some starting troubles, but after getting catcalled by the audience to turn their guitars up things were better. There wasn’t anything notably different about their set, except perhaps some things that I might’ve read into Glenn’s absence, so kudos to the band for being so professional about things. From bringing their own sound gear to getting excellent replacements, these guys work hard and it shows in how fun they are to watch live.
— Shashwati Kala
Live review from Piledriver and Blunt Concept “Break the Boundaries” Tour in Hong Kong:
1. Ours For The Taking
2. I Am I
3. The Lion’s Den
4. I’m Broken (Pantera Cover)
7. Defeated and Broken
Friday August 24th, The Underground at Backstage. This promises to be a night of power, with 3 titans of metal taking the stage. Pounding drums, drop tuned guitars and hard edged vocals are on the cards tonight and possibly a good old mosh…
First up are Shepherds the Weak… From the very first chord to the last drum beat of their set this band are just superbly tight. In fact they are so awesome at what they do they could easily be on stage at any metal gig anywhere in the world and be pulling big crowds… They are definitely masters of the art of metal, fuck yeah we want more of them! Any Hong Kong metal heads that have not seen these guys should be ashamed; I can tell you are missing one Hong Kong band that could make a mark on the global metal scene.
The STW set was full of powerful and well played material, even their cover of “I’m Broken” sound as good if not better than the original Pantera version. Overall STW sound like a blend of Atreyu and Hatebread, but hey that isn’t a bad thing as STW are on equal footing by my ears…
— Rob Ascough
Live review from Underground Heavy #7:
1. Gin & Tonic
2. Done and Dealt For
3. I Am I
4. Last Fight
5. Stand As One
Basking in the afterglow of their performance at Underground Heavy #7, there seems to be little that can sum up their performance better than ‘fucking awesome’, from start to finish. A brilliant performance; the kind that reminds you why live music is always better. Especially when you have a band that gets down and moshes with the crowd. Even getting the audience to mosh can be quite a challenge in Hong Kong, not that you’d know it watching STW. Throwing in a bit of Sweet Child Of Mine between songs was a surprising but welcome way to get the crowd up before the last song. And the little bit of body-slamming towards the end would have given some in the audience a few things to remember the show by.
I imagine there would be few among the metal crowd who could ask for anything more than what Shepherds the Weak delivered. Loud, screamy head-bangy goodness. If metal is your thing, I would strongly recommend that you find out where these guys are playing next and be there!
— Keenan Manning
Live review from Underground Heavy #2:
1. Gin & Tonic
2. As One
7. What it’s Worth
8. Behind These Walls
StW is one of the true heavyweights of the hardcore scene, and the set they played was testament to exactly why. Even their tuning up was noteworthy, with some stylistic forays into sounds that you never hear from a metal band. Combining their usual frenetically-paced songs, with an almost amphetamined delivery from all the band-members, their set went like clockwork, with near-segues and very smooth transitions from song to song – no shoe-leather here. They were so in control of the crowd, it was ridiculous. The revelling began from the very first second of Gin & Tonic, with the moshing getting increasingly harder as their set progressed. There was some customary making-fun-of-the-audience too, with people earning the loser-tag for knowing “the sensitive part of the song.”
In terms of song-quality, StW are unrivalled – they expertly resist the natural hardcore tendency to have a very 1-D set, with every song having its own distinct character. Having the unique ability to have not only guitarists, but vocalists play off each other, their songs foray into musical territory ranging from the weird-out rock of Primus, to the melodic strains of more “metal” bands, wrapped in good-‘ol screamed vocals. There’s even some anthemic riffs that reveal a classic-rock influence, along with highly judicious use of changes of pace. Overall, the heavy slamming and crowd-surfing (complete with bashing the Rockschool lights) spoke for itself – these guys kick major ass. ‘Nuff said.
— Shashwati Kala
Live Review from Asian Rock:
The last band of the evening was the well known local hardcore/metal band, Shepherds The Weak, which has been around for 8 years. I DON’T LIKE HARDCORE, but since I was asked to write the review I made the effort and admittedly, was surprisingly well rewarded. The music… yes, the music – definitely loud and intense, but everything was excellently delivered, every guitar chop, every bass drum kick (and there were a lot of it) was clean and distinct. Once I was over my initial prejudices I began to appreciate the care that has gone into the songs, a lot of musicians can play fast and loud, but to put it all together and make it all flow naturally and melodically is not an easy task and I believe Shepherds did that very well. In a couple of the songs there were quieter moments which definitely gave the musicians their chance to show-off their skills. The use of 2 vocalists served to add more complexity to what were already interesting arrangements. In summary I can honestly say I actually enjoyed the set, something that I’ve never said of my past hardcore experience – I realise now it was prejudice at play and I would say if you listen to the music rather than write it off up-front, then I believe Shepherds will not disappoint you.
Live Review from Underground 31:
The suspense hung thick in the air, you just got the distinct feeling that something big was about to happen. And, it did. They burst into some of the heaviest mosh metal I’ve ever heard, and the crowd simply went berserk. Explosively violent, they blasted forward with the intensity of a freight train, laying waste to everything in their path. The audience was beating the crap out of each other and loving every moment of it. The dance floor was a body surfer’s Hawaii, you couldn’t keep a beer upright there if your life depended on it. This was absolutely the most spectacular live performance i’ve ever seen. Shepherds the Weak is one of my top favorite “HK Underground” bands, simply because of their unparalleled intensity. Their technical skill made them even more amazing.