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Holy Shire – The Legendary Shepherds of the Forest

Holy Shire
The Legendary Shepherds of the Forest
by John Paul Romero at 29 October 2018, 7:42 AM

If the hobbits of the middle earth did metal, how would have that sounded? Well, let’s ask HOLY SHIRE. The band name itself will give you an impression of the peaceful Halflings in the shire, and the album title “The Legendary Shepherds of the Forest” only adds to your curiosity. Who can forget about Treebeard - The ent who helped Merry and Pippin to reach Isengard and eventually leading a rally to destroy it? To start this review, I’ll give a spoiler to those who don’t know them yet: they do play a flute. Metal with a flute? May sound too cheesy, but it ain’t bad if it works. And yes, the answer to my first question is that they do power metal, just like everyone else in middle earth (except those orcs, would probably play bree bree).

The album “The Legendary Shepherds of the Forest” is an eleven-track, 51-minute treat of folk-ish power metal music. The opener instrumental “The Source” sets the pace with for the rest of the album. It will then be backed up by “Tarots” which wastes no time showing what they are all about – catchy low-key riffs, droning flute background, shifty tempos and time signatures and operatic multiple vocals. Talking about Chiara Brusa and her flute, they do have a graceful solo in the middle of the song and a brief passage near the ending, which made the song even more attractive. “Danse Macabre” is a rather calmer and more positive song that starts with the folk-ish tunes of the flute. There is a very few rest in the vocals as they dominate most of the song. The tune gives justice to the title – it will make you want to dance.

Although the opener tracks impressed very well, the title track can’t seem to keep up with the bar that the first tracks set. It doesn’t lack any element present in the first songs – it’s only that it’s not as eventful as the first songs. The slow tempo they applied is not convincing at all, and doesn’t seem to reconcile with the sound the instruments make. But to be clear, the song doesn’t suck at all – but neither does it stand out that much. From there on, the appeal almost remained constant until “Ludwig”. On the flip side, they seem to go dark with the track “At the Mountains of Madness” featuring a much heavier guitar riffs, haunting vocal duos and a darker overall atmosphere. It also features a short ultra-high pitch scream which is a thing of horror.

Speaking about the band and this album – the sound they blended is unique to their own. It’s surely folk-ish power metal including an operatic style of multiple vocals, a truly graceful flute sound, and a haunting dark enigma at times. The archetype of what they are all about is track number 9, “Inferno”, which has every single element I mentioned. So, if you want something new, this album is one. Perfect for fans for those who desire a kind of music that is like “Nightwish gone mad”.

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 9
Memorability: 6
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. The Source
2. Tarots
3. Danse Macabre
4. The Legendary Shepherds of the Forest
5. Princess Aries
6. Ludwig
7. At the Mountains of Madness
8. The Gathering
9. Inferno
10. Ophelia
11. The Lake
Lineup:
Claudia Beltrame – Vocals
Aeon – Vocals (Lead)
Frank Campese – Guitars
Chiara Brusa – Flute
Piero Chiefa – Bass
Andrew Moon – Guitars (Lead)
theMaxx – Drums
Record Label: Heavy Metal Records
     


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