Saturday, 30 June 2018

Lion Shepherd “Heat” 2017 Polish Prog Rock


Lion Shepherd “Heat” 2017  Polish Prog Rock 
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One of the benefits of having built up contacts over the years, is that sometimes I receive albums that I wouldn’t have otherwise have come across. One day I was talking to my good friend and fellow writer Olav Bjørnsen in Denmark, and he told me that he had a duplicate of the new album by Lion Shepherd, and would I be interested in hearing it. A while later it turned up in the post, and I was impressed even before hearing it as here was fold out digipak that opened out so it formed a cross, with plenty of information on all sides, the booklet pasted into the top section, and the CD in the middle. A lot of effort and money had gone into this, and it is rare for a band to have that much spent on them unless they are quite special. 
I undertook some research, and was somewhat surprised to discover that the guys were Polish, based around singer Kamil Haidar and Mateusz Owczarek (electric guitars, acoustic guitars, Irish bouzouki). They were joined on the album by Łukasz Adamczyk (bass), Sławek Berny (drums, percussion), Kasia Rościńska (backing vocals) and Wojtek Olszak (keyboards). The reason I was surprised was that musically this certainly sounds as if its roots are in the UK and the US as well as the Middle East, and I firmly expected the band to come from one of those two countries. They themselves describe their music as a “mix of world music, trance, progressive rock, blues, and Middle Eastern motifs. In addition to traditional European instruments, there is the Syrian oud lute, the Persian santur, and various Indian and Arabic percussion instruments.” It is like nothing else I have ever heard from Poland, mixing and melding styles from many musical forms into something that is layered, polished, melodic and almost poppy on the first hearing, but with percussion and underlying musical motifs that transcend any particular genre or culture. 

That this album is a masterpiece is never in doubt, that it is firmly one of my albums of the year is also something that isn’t even up for debate. Each song brings a new delight, a new style, a new passion, and is one of those where the class and power shines through from the beginning to the very end. I knew it was special when I saw the packaging, I just didn’t know how very special it was. This is essential….by kev rowland …~


It’s Christmas! And LION SHEPHERD sounds like it could have been one of the titles given to JESUS but it’s not. Still he’s called the GOOD SHEPHERD and the LION of the tribe of Judah so there’s that. LION SHEPHERD are a band out of Poland although you would think they are from the Middle East. They use a variety of ethnic instruments giving us that vibe. It truly is an album that’s a bit of a paradox for me though. The acoustic tracks and passages with the ethnic instruments are okay although I’m just not really into acoustic music. When they become electric and more powerful they do bring RIVERSIDE to mind and I’m really into this. The vocals sound so commercial sounding, I just don’t like them except when he sings on some of the more powerful songs with reserved vocals bringing Duda to mind. So yeah a bit of a love hate with this one but overall I can’t hit 4 stars, I’m just not that into it. Too much that I don’t like. 
“On The Road Again” features a strummed ethnic instrument that’s acoustic as the vocals join in. Drums too in this catchy piece although it’s not my thing. Electric guitar before 2 minutes as I hear a hint of SPOCK’S BEARD with the vocals and sound. A toe-tapper and I like the bass around 3 ½ minutes. “Heat” again starts off with a stringed ethnic instrument with both drums and percussion. Not a fan of the vocals here. A brief electric guitar solo starts before 1 ½ minutes. 

“Code Of Life” features lots of beats with guitar as the vocals join in. Bass to the fore after a minute. It picks up big time before 2 minutes reminding me sadly of some Christian band I used to listen to. Too commercial. I do like the guitar starting before 3 ½ minutes but it doesn’t save the song for me. “When The Curtain Falls” is better than the first three songs but it’s still not that great. Contrasts between the mellow and the more powerful sections continue throughout. The harmonies late remind me of Country music. 

“Dream On” is where it starts getting good. When I first spun this album I actually stopped it after the second track and sampled the following tracks because I just wasn’t into it and wondered if it was mostly acoustic the rest of the way. It wasn’t. This is very exotic sounding with percussion and female vocal melodies as the male vocals join in. He sounds like Duda here, so much better. I like this a lot along with those female vocal melodies that really add to the sound here. It’s priceless when the electric guitar-like ethnic instrument mimics the vocal melodies that are high pitched from traditional Middle Eastern music. Pretty cool. Love the female vocal melodies that end it too. 

“Fall” has some depth to the sound which I like as my speakers vibrate. Sadly when the music kicks in with vocals after 35 seconds it quickly goes down hill because of the vocals. Catchy but too commercial sounding. Not a fan. “Storm Is Coming” opens with drums and acoustic guitar as male vocal melodies join in. Electric guitar too as it becomes more powerful before a minute. Reserved vocals and a calm follow quickly and this sounds better. 

“Dazed By Glory” is a top three song for me. Guitar, percussion, bass and reserved vocals. I like this. It becomes heavier 1 ½ minutes in. That ethnic instrument that is high pitched and guitar-like comes and goes. I’ll skip to the last song “Swamp Song” then return to my favourite song on here. So “Swamp Song” has reserved vocals and a catchy acoustic guitar melody with percussion. A full sound follows before 2 minutes but it’s still fairly mellow. Nice guitar solo after 4 ½ minutes. 

“Farewell” is by far my favourite song on here and I can only imagine a full album full of songs like this. When it begins it reminds me so much of RIVERSIDE and Duda that I feel a lot of emotion. Absolutely gorgeous. It settles back to a more restrained sound just before a minute. Love when it kicks back in hard at 2 minutes. Some emotion again 3 ½ minutes in. Electric guitar before 5 minutes and check out the ending and tell me this doesn’t sound like Duda. 
A mixed bag for my tastes no doubt. Rave reviews can be found all over the Net though so take my thoughts with a grain of salt please. 3 stars….by Mellotron Storm ….~



Heat, the newly released second album by the Polish band, Lion Shepherd, combines modern prog culture with a 90’s alternative rock sound that can best be described as creative art. The fusion of world music and progressive rock, coupled with video elements that can best be described as stunning, lend merit to the up-and-coming band’s future. The band mates Kamil Haidar (vocals), Mateusz Owczarek (electric guitars, acoustic guitars, Irish bouzouki), Łukasz Adamczyk (bass), Sławek Berny (drums, percussion), Kasia Rościńska (backing vocals), and Wojtek Olszak (keys) add some interesting instruments to the mix, such as the Syrian oud lute, the Persian santur, and various Indian and Arabic percussion instruments. 

The opening track, “On the Road Again,” sets a tone for the album that can best be described as filled with exotic and ethnic sounds. Kamil fires off with vocals that resonate confidence right out of the gate. The inclusion of a catchy lead guitar and subtle grooves from a rhythm guitar brings modern sounds to an old, familiar approach that conjures up memories of 90s bands. The rest of the band members do a great job at shining when necessary and subtly dissolving when appropriate, which adds to the cinematic feel of the song and the album. 

Among the songs that standout, the song “Dream On” and accompanying video captured my auditory and visual senses and takes the audience on a journey of peace and war. Having watched the music video first, I’m not sure I would have had the same strong (positive) reaction if I were to have listened to the track without the accompanying visual. The imagery is stunning and is reminiscent of old school animation (featuring young children) sprinkled with visuals of war-torn cities and footage that securely grounds the viewer in the story. The band notes that they included filmmakers and fashion designers in the creation process and it pays off. The track includes haunting backing vocals from Kasia Rościńska which intensify the listening experience. The vocals layer up in the chorus for a very produced, modern sound. The note phrasing and modal vocal inflection prepares the viewer for the visual conflict and ultimate resolution. About a minute into the song, the drums come in with a nice groove that opens up the bass guitar for a rhythmic Eastern melody. As a guitar player, I must say the guitar solo by Mateusz leaves me wanting so much more. If nothing else, I highly suggest watching the music video for the creativity alone.Heat, the newly released second album by the Polish band, Lion Shepherd, combines modern prog culture with a 90’s alternative rock sound that can best be described as creative art. The fusion of world music and progressive rock, coupled with video elements that can best be described as stunning, lend merit to the up-and-coming band’s future. The band mates Kamil Haidar (vocals), Mateusz Owczarek (electric guitars, acoustic guitars, Irish bouzouki), Łukasz Adamczyk (bass), Sławek Berny (drums, percussion), Kasia Rościńska (backing vocals), and Wojtek Olszak (keys) add some interesting instruments to the mix, such as the Syrian oud lute, the Persian santur, and various Indian and Arabic percussion instruments. 

The opening track, “On the Road Again,” sets a tone for the album that can best be described as filled with exotic and ethnic sounds. Kamil fires off with vocals that resonate confidence right out of the gate. The inclusion of a catchy lead guitar and subtle grooves from a rhythm guitar brings modern sounds to an old, familiar approach that conjures up memories of 90s bands. The rest of the band members do a great job at shining when necessary and subtly dissolving when appropriate, which adds to the cinematic feel of the song and the album. 

Among the songs that standout, the song “Dream On” and accompanying video captured my auditory and visual senses and takes the audience on a journey of peace and war. Having watched the music video first, I’m not sure I would have had the same strong (positive) reaction if I were to have listened to the track without the accompanying visual. The imagery is stunning and is reminiscent of old school animation (featuring young children) sprinkled with visuals of war-torn cities and footage that securely grounds the viewer in the story. The band notes that they included filmmakers and fashion designers in the creation process and it pays off. The track includes haunting backing vocals from Kasia Rościńska which intensify the listening experience. The vocals layer up in the chorus for a very produced, modern sound. The note phrasing and modal vocal inflection prepares the viewer for the visual conflict and ultimate resolution. About a minute into the song, the drums come in with a nice groove that opens up the bass guitar for a rhythmic Eastern melody. As a guitar player, I must say the guitar solo by Mateusz leaves me wanting so much more. If nothing else, I highly suggest watching the music video for the creativity alone. 
Moving on to songs like “When the Curtain Falls,” Mateusz showcases some great guitar rock riffs and leads. His use of tasty melodic runs and cool rhythms to fill the void of vocal melodies sends the song into overdrive. I always get excited to hear a bass player that can stand on his own and Łukasz Adamczyk delivers. Kamil Haidar and Kasia Rościńska are a great pairing for harmonies that add to the huge sound. I would also commend the production team for delivering a well produced song (and album) that includes so many layers of instruments. 
In regard to the remainder of the album, I would say that they are all well done and cohesive, keeping with the album’s theme and sound. However, there is some redundancy among the songs, particularly since most tracks are played in the same key and have a reoccurring exotic sound that transcends the entire album. This quality may or may not diminish the listener’s attention. Regardless, I would call it a win for Lion Shepherd and their entire band and crew. I highly recommend Heat to anyone who is looking for something exotic and unique….by…Blake….~


An album I was really looking forward to was Heat, the second outing of Polish upcoming heroes Lion Shepherd. I was pretty impressed over the band’s debut; Hiraeth (2015, see review) where both founders vocalist Kamil Haidar and guitarist, multi-instrumentalist Mateusz Owczarek added a fair dose of middle eastern music to their slightly Riverside related compositions. On their 2017 release, the dynamic duo have shown even more influences as could be heard on Hireath. Besides the base of progressive rock, the middle eastern influences have become much more prominent, but if you dig deeper, elements of trance, pop and even blues all have integrated into the worldly form of progressive rock, that might have now become the Lion Shepherd dedicated sound. Beside the duo, Heat sees the returning of drummer Slawek Berny and newcomer bass player Lukasz Adamczyk as rhythm section. Also keyboard player Wojtek Olszak and Kasia Roscinska’s vocals are added to Lion Shepherd’s line-up. 

What makes it more easy for the band, is the fact I grew up with a band called Led Zeppelin. A band that introduced subtle middle eastern influences to their bluesy (hard)rock. Much later, the release of the Page Plant album; No Quarter was a kind of highlight where east was meeting west in a very positive way. A very long intro, if you want to compare some of the tracks on Heat to this heroic album, but that is one of the references that got stuck in my head, when I listened to the opener On The Road Again or the album’s title track Heat. Only Robert Plant’s vocals have been replaced by Free and Bad Company’s Paul Rodgers. The Paul Rodgers resemblance didn’t occur on Hireath as far I can remember, but on Heat delicate hunches of Riverside’s Mariuzs Duda and Paul Rodgers desperate vocal style become sort of trademark for Kamil Haidar. The use of guests like Iranian Jahiar Irani and Rasm Al Mashan, alongside the traditional instruments give this album a very special touch. Perhaps as a sign how people can live together in peace and harmony in this fucked up world we are living in at the moment. But I don’t want to get political, for this is about music. Yeah, but if we all could only make a change….. Absolute highlight on the album is the goosebumps creating Dream On. Nothing less than a brilliant track and also the first single of the album, including a very impressive video clip, you just have to watch. Strangely enough I do hear some Rush elements during this song. Another majestic track is Fail, where I hear so many different elements that sound familiar in a way, but all elements are finalised to a perfect outcome. Talking about brilliancy, check out the guitar solo on Farewell, where technique and emotional playing are fused to one big harmony. During the same track again Kamil Haidar’s vocals go deep and touch you in your heart. Both Storm Is Coming as well as Dazed By Glory are tunes that excel; powerful parts go hand in hand alongside smoother intense vocal parts, but always accompanied by a very solid, rhythm section that adds a lot of subtle eastern percussive elements. The final track on Heat; Swamp Song is another impressive one, one that gently starts as an acoustic rhythmic track with gentle vocals and a fine bass, but towards the end the power is cranked up in a furious guitar solo, ending what I think is a more than beautiful album. 

What also has to be mentioned is the way the album is packed; a wonderful digipack that opens to four sides to reveal the actual CD, produced in matt black with nice embossing. 

My conclusion can be very short. Since I was impressed by Lion Shepherd’s Hireath, I granted that album with four and a half stars, Heat is an even better album. Musically the band has grown towards perfection and the amount of non prog influences have grown. For me that is what the spirit of progressive rock stands for. So a big five stars for an incredible gifted band. …by….Pedro Bekkers…Backgroundmagazine…..~


Some bands from the record are making great progress, they are constantly working not only on themselves, but above all on the music they create (by themselves). One of such groups can undoubtedly be our native product called LION SHEPHERD. Many can associate this unique group with concerts alongside RIVERSIDE, although there will be some who will still remember their debut album “Hiraeth” from 2015. It was on the occasion of his review that I wrote, “… I will not be surprised if it will be louder soon about this project. The right groundbait has been cast, huge potential, and what will be the effects in the future, time will show … "Now you know - my guesses have worked, and the new album (released at the end of May) is the best confirmation proudly representing its predecessor. 

I would lie, however, claiming that "Heat” is only and exclusively a direct continuation of the design of my “Hiraeth”, none of these things. Of course, common elements and similarities occur - especially when it comes to sensuality and a characteristic shell of Middle Eastern oriental ornaments. However, this time the gentlemen went a step further. They developed the wings of stylistic journeys, which resulted in the appearance of many new elements. In order not to be groundless - already opening the whole “On The Road Again” and immediately followed by the title “Heat” bring to mind the achievements of the American group DAVE MATTHEWS BAND (from the times of “Busted Stuff” and “Before These Crowded Streets”). It is about a certain lightness and maturity of the presented forms and the nature of the composition. Again, on the occasion of such songs as “When The Curtain Falls” or “Heat” (most often in the refrains) you can feel the spirit of the legendary PINK FLOYD. This is mainly due to the presence of motifs, where the choirs include female vocals - a great effect. In addition, in several places you can find explicit references to the RIVERSIDE and LUNATIC SOUL styles (Mariusz Duda’s solo project), the best proof of which may be; lively “Code Of Life” and moody “Dream On”. The second part was an animated music video with authentic inserts from war-torn areas. The team at least on this occasion draws attention to the dramas that play in areas affected by armed conflicts. At this point, it is worth noting that LION SHEPHERD also wants to convey something through the lyrical layer, carry a message. In some respects, the texts can arouse strange anxiety, alertness, generating ambivalent feelings. In addition to referring to the search, the question of life, you feel the call for a “coup”. I have the strange impression that some texts herald the coming of a new world order. Perhaps I read it wrong (or I am oversensitive), but in the current geopolitical situation, in the era of numerous conflicts on the world stage, when Europe is overtly insulting from its own heritage by renouncing traditional values, this aspect does not give me peace … that some texts herald the coming of a new world order. Perhaps I read it wrong (or I am oversensitive), but in the current geopolitical situation, in the era of numerous conflicts on the world stage, when Europe is overtly insulting from its own heritage by renouncing traditional values, this aspect does not give me peace … that some texts herald the coming of a new world order. Perhaps I read it wrong (or I am oversensitive), but in the current geopolitical situation, in the era of numerous conflicts on the world stage, when Europe is overtly insulting from its own heritage by renouncing traditional values, this aspect does not give me peace … 

Coming back to the music - it evolved clearly (and in the right direction!), Took on more vivid colors, and the ideas and solutions used became more mature. This is supported by a considerable number of supporting melodies, recognizable fragments that give compositions a catchy face, character. There was also more life, rock energy - this is a big merit of traditional instruments. The energetic and strong rhythm section works perfectly (the parts of the bass pay attention). One can not complain about the deficit of guitar solo parts, which occur not only in more vivid but more moody moments. Also vocalist Kamil Haidar often sings with a claw, which is accompanied by a characteristic vocal manner with pronounced hoarseness. This, however, does not mean that the band has given up the atmospheric face - nothing like that! Moody moments are not lacking, just like motifs richly dripping with oriental mannerism. It is rather that “Heat” is more expressive, emotionally richer than its more delicate predecessor. Feeling also increased musical awareness, strong belief in the validity of the presented ideas. This translated into the expressiveness and valence of forms as well as the fact that the premiere material is more convincing, richer and energetically more intense. In addition, “Heat” has been fully professionally produced, the sound is not only natural and juicy, it is still impeccably selective, which in no way reduces the energy disposition. emotionally richer than its softer predecessor. Feeling also increased musical awareness, strong belief in the validity of the presented ideas. This translated into the expressiveness and valence of forms as well as the fact that the premiere material is more convincing, richer and energetically more intense. In addition, “Heat” has been fully professionally produced, the sound is not only natural and juicy, it is still impeccably selective, which in no way reduces the energy disposition. emotionally richer than its softer predecessor. Feeling also increased musical awareness, strong belief in the validity of the presented ideas. This translated into the expressiveness and valence of forms as well as the fact that the premiere material is more convincing, richer and energetically more intense. In addition, “Heat” has been fully professionally produced, the sound is not only natural and juicy, it is still impeccably selective, which in no way reduces the energy disposition. 

It would be a sin not to mention the phenomenal graphic design, the packaging. The album was released “richly” - a thick digipack is stylized like an old book with a cover imitating leather upholstery. Its appearance, protuberances look like broken earth during drought. The interior of the packaging looks even better - it unfolds in four directions, as if it were the sides of the world. This best corresponds to geographical sketches of the Middle East with exposed Syria (it should not surprise anyone - Kamil Haidar has a Polish - Syrian origin). A booklet is placed on one of the spreads, and this one looks very tastefully. In addition to texts on a dark background, it contains atmospheric photographs of the Haidar / Owczarek duo (and at the very end a dedication to the late Piotr Grudziński). 

Any cons? I listened to the CD many times and did not listen to any shortcomings. “Heat” is a very mature material, made with sensibility, professionally realized, ideally advanced - just an album with a soul. 
If someone is close to the climatic forms of rock craft with oriental - progressive anointing, the one with a high probability will delight in the content of “Heat”. This album has a warm (melancholy) atmosphere in it which magically attracts, impels you to get to know each other better. LION SHEPHERD undoubtedly has not been idle since the release of his debut and it feels in every respect - very good album, probably one of the best this year’s releases on the national scene! …by….Marcin Magiera….~


First, amazed, he was speechless. Holding a new Lion Shepherd disc in one handI was wondering when was the last time I saw an equally beautiful and originally released Polish artist album? My positive amazement matched perhaps 20 years ago, when I unpacked the debut album of the Abraxas group. On this album, so splendidly released, there was fortunately the over-inflection of the form (packaging) over the content (music), and the productions of the Bydgoszcz quintet permanently enrolled with golden entries in the history of Polish (prog) rock. That is why I am happy to announce that an impressive digipack, thick, divided into four parts (each in a different direction), a spread with texts and photographs rigidly attached to it, a separate wing with credits, handmade paper, and in the middle itself a silver CD disc Silver, or actually black, because it is graphically kept in a similar spirit as a digipak spread, 

Did I mention the Middle East? … Arab lute oud, Persian santur, drum darbuka, Irish bouzouki, tabla, Hindu percussion - we hear such instruments on the new album entitled “Heat”. Of course, you can also hear typical rock instruments. But there are also other numerous Orientalisms (such as the vocals of Kasia Rościńska in “Dream On”) and surprising sounds (as in the opening song “On The Road Again”), in which Lion Shepherd plays more folk than the rock note. And yet not only in these recordings are the surprises lurking for the listener. The beginning of the track No. 2, which is the title composition, is still a lot of orientalisms and folk climates tangled in rock threads. I do not conceal that at the very beginning I was slightly dumbfounded, although my astonishment was not as great as when I was contemplating the cover, but after the second and third auditions, I discovered that there is a method in this madness. I admit that after the new Lion Shepherd album I expected a completely different music, but the band surprised me with their novelties (I hope not only me!) And, most importantly, he did it in a very positive way. Do not be surprised, then, that when I already enjoyed my eyes with the cover and turned on the music from the “Heat” album, I was dumbfounded for the second time. 

Someone will ask: but why? For some time now everyone has been talking about Lion Shepherd as a band through the progrock, and about the vocalist’s voice as “Dudopodobnym”. Perhaps it was a consequence of the impression the band’s first album left, “Hireath” (2015), and maybe it caused concerts in Poland and around the world together with the Riverside group? Yes, it is easy to stick a patch, which is difficult to part with later. Besides, I’m not sure that the members of the Lion Shepherd group want to break the ties with prog rock at all costs. Probably not. They just do not care and play their own. They go their own way, and the album “Heat” shows that the chosen direction for realizing remarkable ideas is right. Even the return also agrees … 

Kamil Haidar (vocals) and Mateusz Owczarek (guitars and other stringed instruments), because they form the core of Lion Shepherd’s group, they choose various musicians for their musical plans. When they have a big concert, they play in an extensive personal-instrumental combination, when they perform in a small club they can limit their instruments to the necessary minimum. And they sound good every time. But they look best when they do not have any restrictions, like in the studio, or rather many studios, because the record “Heat” was recorded in several places. And the effect is excellent. Forget the labels, the drawers, that Lion Shepherd is “the band before Riverside concerts”. For a star has sprung up on us, like a supernova on the firmament of Polish rock. The “Heat” CD shows that we are dealing with a mature band, fully formed, and at the same time playing incredibly original music. When there is a need of bubbling energy, at other times it is muted. In one moment, lyrical and dynamic. Acoustic and electric. And most importantly, dressed in incredibly shapely songs that delight the performance, arrangement, space and incredible charm. Let us emphasize that these are songs with enormous song potential (my private favorites are “When The Curtain Falls” with a nice final female choir and “Farewell” and ending the whole “Swamp Song”). which delight with performance, arrangement, space and extraordinary charm. Let us emphasize that these are songs with enormous song potential (my private favorites are “When The Curtain Falls” with a nice final female choir and “Farewell” and ending the whole “Swamp Song”). which delight with performance, arrangement, space and extraordinary charm. Let us emphasize that these are songs with enormous song potential (my private favorites are “When The Curtain Falls” with a nice final female choir and “Farewell” and ending the whole “Swamp Song”). 

I can see a certain paradox in the productions of Lion Shepherd on the “Heat” album. Well, this is an album where, in my opinion, acoustic instruments take over the electric ones and … it does not make us feel that we are listening to a non-rock album. On the contrary, the whole album “Heat” is played with a tooth and sounds very noble, dignified and mature. 

Honestly, I liked this album very much with all its antura. I know, too early to try to put out the final censors and I know that in the autumn we will be awaiting the release of at least a few “hot” releases (prog) rock artists from the Vistula river, but - so far - “Heat” has become my decisive favorite to be called Polish albums of the year … 

This Sunday Lion Shepherd will play at the Rock In Park festival in Sowiński Park in Warsaw. How will it fall against the background of strong Polish-Scandinavian competition? Unfortunately, I will not be able to be there to cheer on this nice group, but I feel through the skin that if the plan is such that they will play first, they will definitely raise the bar very high….by…Artur Chachlowski ….~


Lion Shepherd is a Polish band that consists of vocalist Kamil Haidar and guitarist Mateusz Owczarek, who uses electric and acoustic guitar as well as Irish bouzouki which also ensures that the sound of Lion Shepherd gets a strong folkloristic character. The ten compositions on the new Heat album are mainly compositions that catch you and are pleasant to listen to. 

The aforementioned folkloristic approach is clearly evident in title number Heat. The guitar sound of Mateusz is characteristic and the warm, raspy voice of Kamil takes care of the rest. But also in When The Curtain Falls the folklore lies at the basis of the rock-related composition. The composition is more than a simple four-quarters buddy. Everything happens in style and rhythm. That is where the power of Lion Shepherd lies. The seemingly simple structure is in fact decorated with interesting twists and atmospheric images, so that you remain enthralled in the boxes. Opener On The Road Again is a good example of this. In When The Curtain Falls the voice of Kamil is nicely supplemented with the background vocals of Kasia Rościńska. In Dream On her voice is a bit more prominent and, together with the strong guitar sound of Mateusz and the subdued vocals of Kamil, it creates a warm atmosphere that has a more oriental character. This is in contrast to Storm Is Coming where the folkloristic elements have the tops of the Balkan Mountains. 

The whole can easily be described as a singer-songwriter composition XL with strong rock elements. Lion Shepherd continuously operates in this singer-songwriter-rock concept and I think the power of the complete album is there. 

They are free to further develop the more blues in Code Of Life or to work slowly from the acoustic setting in Dazed By Glory to a powerful whole without losing the feeling from the base. In all cases, the sublime guitar work and the powerful vocals are characteristic and decisive for the overall sound and warm character. 

Lion Shepherd is also capable of producing infectious pop rock in Fail or sensitive and compelling music in Farewell. 

Through the game of tension, tempo and power, Heat has become a wonderful album that takes you on a beautiful journey in the subconscious mind. A journey through a rolling landscape where the wind caresses your face and where sturdy rocks in the landscape reveal the rugged character of Heat. With somewhere high on a mountain Kamil and Mateusz, supported by a strong bond, which pleases their sounds and fill the air….by Maurice van der Zalm….~


Lion Shepherd is a prog-oriented project led by friends Kamil Haidar and Mateusz Owczarek. Though living most of his life in Poland, Kamil spent his early years in Libya and Syria, which brings an Arabic influence into his music. Heat is their second album, a strong and consistent set of ten progressive and psychedelic influenced songs with Syrian oud, Persian santour, and various Indian and Arabic percussion instruments adding an exotic element to the standard electric guitar, bass, and drums. In addition to Kamil (vocals) and Mateusz (electric and acoustic guitars and Irish bouzouki), they are joined by Lukasz (bass), Stawek Berny (drums and percussion), Kasia Roscinska (backing vocals), and Wojteck Olszak (keyboards). Both the CD and LP come in lavish foldout packaging with maps, photos, and inserts. The music integrates Turkish and Arabian themes with some gothic West Coast psych elements, a bit of Native American rhythms and chants, and hard rock. The final song, “Swamp Song,” even reminds me a bit of the type of song Steven Wilson would write. Kamil uses music to express his joys and sorrows, but he never relates the inspiration behind his lyrics, wanting the listener to find his or her own way. As an example then, I think that the song “Storm Is Coming” might be about a zombie apocalypse, but I could be all wrong. I find it difficult to single out specific songs, as the entire album is excellent, though I do find “Dream On” and “Dazed by Glory” to be particularly interesting. Lion Shepherd is definitely a band to watch…..by Henry Schneider……~


It would seem that if a rock band goes for a musical trip to the Middle East, it may need a one-way ticket. As a person who certainly can not be called a fan of oriental music, I would sign with both hands on this opinion … 
heat-lion-shepardOr at least that was before I came across the latest album by Lion Shepherd. Kamil Haidar and Mateusz Owczarek, creating this promising Warsaw project, in my case they were already doomed to failure. Now, however, after having auditioned Heat a few times , I would only sign with one hand under the above opinion, and I would have to think about it seriously. I am reluctant to admit that despite my lack of sympathy for this type of instrumentation, the Heat album was not much liked by me, which simply intrigued me in the world. Why? 
Maybe due to the fact that I did not feel cheated by the creators, in which the origin of the band’s vocalist Kamil Haidar played a key role. As a son of the Syrian, Haidar was associated with Middle Eastern folklore, thanks to which between the sounds of HeatYou can feel a kind of non-obvious melancholy - similar to the one we feel in the face of sounds familiar to us from childhood. Warm vocals, objectively refined energetic instruments, well-guided guitar and a unique atmosphere on the Polish music scene give a combination that immediately brings to mind a journey - not only the literal but also sentimental. Perhaps this is not music that would make my evening car trips around the city, but there is something very elusive about this album. Something that moves thoughts wherever few people have arrived - to a place where we can meet with ourselves. 
Another unquestionable advantage of Heat - the text layer, for which vocalist Lion Shepherd is responsible, also favors further considerations . The artist is not afraid of moving fundamental problems in his works, prompting the listener to make a cross-section analysis of the consumer’s society. However, he does it with incredible grace and lyricism - without giving the recipient everything on the tray, he leaves him with no room for interpretation. The best description of the works of Lion Shepherd can be found in one of the texts that made a special impression on me: When, the curtain falls I will be mine. I am mine I always were. Fidelity to the style and my own ideals can be heard in every Heat sound and I sincerely hope that the band will not renounce it for commercial success. 
Let’s say that although I am not a fan of oriental music myself, I believe that Polish listeners deserve all that is good - and that is undoubtedly Lion Shepherd…..~


About a minute into the first song “On the Road Again,” I thought to myself “These guys sound kind of like Azigza, but without the violin,” then the heavy and crunchy Tool-like guitars come into the picture and change my perception somewhat more, and so on it went for the full ten songs here. Also somewhat interesting was the eight-fold packaging that opens in all directions featuring a map of the middle east, with a booklet featuring all the lyrics in a booklet pasted onto the inside of one of the panels. It was definitely a positive experience on first listening. Enough to make me seek out the band’s first album Hiraeth before proceeding. While the first album is a strong entry, and probably features more variety (from heavier rock to melancholy singer-songwriter stuff) and more diverse instrumentation (including harmonica, oud, and santoor), it compares like baby steps to the far more confident and directed sound of this, their second album. So who are these guys? Lion Shepherd is essentially the Polish duo of Kamil Heidar (vocals and lyrics) and Mateusz Owczarek (acoustic and electric guitars, Irish bouzouki), with Stawek Berny joining them on drums and percussion (which includes numerous hand drums, tablas, etc.). The rest of the band includes Kasia Roskinska on backing vocals, Lucasz Adamczyk on bass, and Wojtek Olszak on keyboards, the latter three all new arrivals since the first album. They are attempting to create a fusion of middle-eastern and western Asian sounds and European progressive rock, informed also by jazz, blues, and metal, and fully succeeding. While there is perhaps less variety than their debut, the result is nonetheless a more single-minded and conceptually directed effort that pulls strength and power from their many influences. This is a band with great ideas that is going somewhere….by Peter Thelen….~










Line-up / Musicians 

- Kamil Haidar / vocals 
- Mateusz Owczarek / electric guitars, acoustic guitars, Irish bouzouki 
- Łukasz Adamczyk / bass 
- Sławek Berny / drums, percussion 
- Kasia Rościńska / backing vocals 
- Wojtek Olszak / keyboards


Songs / Tracks Listing 

1. On The Road Again 
2. Heat 
3. Code Of Life 
4. When The Curtain Falls 
5. Dream On 
6. Fail 
7. Storm Is Coming 
8. Dazed By Glory 
9. Farewell 
10. Swamp Song 

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