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Black Shepherd - United Evil Forces

Black Shepherd
United Evil Forces
by Quinten Serna at 03 October 2019, 7:13 PM

I continuously find it amazing that new-old stock music still exists out there each one bubbling between the streams of people-still-listen-to-that and I-didn’t-know-that-was-a-thing, yet music yields a much different response as both aficionados and new listeners have a high affinity for classic sound, and this is exactly the case with BLACK SHEPHERD. Formed in 1984 and broken up sometime around 5 years later BLACK SHEPHERD had about themselves a short run, yet THE DOORS released 6 albums in the 6 years Jim Morrison fronted the troupe and so does BLACK SHEPHERD’S legacy live on within a new compilation of their work dubbed, “United Evil Forces”.

The first 4 songs in the track listing come from their original “United Evil Forces” demo, tracks 5 and 6 from their eponymous 1985 demo, and the remainder of the tracks from a live concert in Gemmenich. “Kill The Priest” fades in with subtle noise and chanting before the guitar takes point and sounds in the rest of the band. The jumble quickly turns into a fast paced desecrated headbanging Thrash assault, the live version is much faster and has a shorter run-time despite the actual song commencing around 10 seconds later. “Make Love War” has such a similar progression to “Your Mistake” by AGNOSTIC FRONT I have to wonder whether it was meant to be ironic or just a huge coincidence. “Preacher of Death” couples a constant riff with accents from the band which continues the motif following the first verse before the drums sound off relentlessly, as such they’re even faster within the live variant. “Black Shepherd”—the band’s namesake—is as curious now as it was in 1985 sounding more in lines with Punk than traditional Thrash.

The obvious caliber of dissent or disagreement is the quality of the tracks ranging from acceptable to tape recorder to the speaker type of fidelity which is unfortunate given that the songs are distinct enough not to meld into one another or sound the same yet the recordings themselves are the victims of inexperience and impoverished engineering and unfortunately there is no fixing that. The riffs are great, tight, and concise but the guitars are too shrill; the drums seem to overlap and fade underneath the instruments at the same time; the vocals are loud but not clear; and the bass is exceedingly difficult to hear.

United Evil Forces” shows its age and bears that mark proudly, the classic riffs and eagerness of the band can be heard within every track with great ease. The fidelity will never not be drawn into question but the songs themselves are a victim of the times and stand as testament to the hard work that went into them not the production that didn’t. For anyone familiar with “BLACK SHEPHERD” this revamped re-issue will be a treat bearing a familiar face, for anyone else it will be difficult to get into if you cannot get past the recording quality.

Songwriting: 6
Originality: 6
Memorability: 6
Production: 3

2 Star Rating

1. Kill The Priest
2. Make Love War
3. Preacher Of Death
4. Lords Of Darkness
5. Animal
6. Black Shepherd
7. Kill the Priest (Live In Gemmenich)
8. Black Shepherd (Live In Gemmenich)
9. Total Supreme (Live In Gemmenich)
10. Lord Of Darkness (Live In Gemmenich)
11. Animal (Live In Gemmenich)
12. Another Day To Live (Live In Gemmenich)
13. I Am Your Fate (Live In Gemmenich)
14. Corpses (Live In Gemmenich)
15. Make Love War (Live In Gemmenich)
16. Preacher Of Death (Live In Gemmenich)
17. Evil Revenge (Live In Gemmenich)
Willy Vebelen —Bass
Alain Verhaegen —Drums
Michael Olijf —Guitars
Igor Pint —Guitars
Yvan Verhaegen —Vocals
Record Label: Vic Records


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