Shepherds of Cassini - Helios Forsaken
To the millions of people who think that there is nothing but dwarves and what the heck other Lord of the Rings inspired creatures coming out of New Zealand, you’re mostly still right, but through the mist comes Shepherds of Cassini. An experimental quartet who just released their sophomore offering Helios Forsaken.
Shepherds of Cassini built on those who came before, paying proper homage to their influences while maintaining a uniqueness. Those who enjoy themselves some Isis, Opeth, Porcupine Tree, Hawkwind, Mono and/or Mahavishnu Orchestra will really dig their sound. Helios Forsaken breathes to life with Raijin, a powerful piece with heavy guitar riffs and hypnotising atmosphere. This heavy opening is interrupted with short vocal-only passage Mirrors Have No Memory which, although short (only 45 seconds), represents a strong statement of how well-trained this band is. The Almagest stands out with its punctuated and catchy rhythmic changes which to work properly require a strong vocal section, and that’s something the band does well.
A more sombre tone is taken with Mauerfall which also brings a needed change in tempo by slowing down to more space-inspired soundscape. Another blissful moment is Pleiades’ Plea which takes the vocal magic (of Brendan Zwaan) we are already accustomed to and layers it in with upbeat percussion by Omar Al-Hashimi and exceptional use of violin by Felix Lun. The close encounter of psychedelic rock with stoner and avantgarde opens new horizons. Finishing up this magnificent recording of six songs is the title track, and another winner. With its 14-odd minutes, the band shows no fear or fatigue. They march on even harder, pouring out creativity all over again.
Shepherds of Cassini are more than competent set of players who are the backbone of this powerful sound. There is a strong base of talent here, and it’s going to make people get on board. Make sure you are there before you miss something big.
Words: Annie Grossmann