Friday, June 21, 2024

Shepherds Reign & The Goddess of War

Nafanua‘ is the latest single from Polynesian heavy metal act Shepherds Reign, whose forthcoming album, Ala Mai, will be released on 25th August through Golden Robot Records.

‘Nafanua‘, is a story about Samoa’s goddess of war, the daughter of the god of the underworld (Pulotu), who was born of a blood clot and buried in the ground, before rising to defeat all warriors who stood against her. Fighting to protect her family, she was feared by all. The track features pulverising rhythms, heavy chugging riffs and snaking lead guitar to underpin lead vocalist, Filiva’a’s guttural roar, while the soaring, melodic chorus belies the story’s immense sense of foreboding. Despite the song consisting heavily of local lore, its broader messages are said to sink in deep.

You can get the single by clicking here and check out the video here at RAMzine.

Shepherds Reign are famous in the Southern hemisphere for their primal performance, one which evokes many aspects of their cultural heritage and fierce Polynesian pride. Coupled with their enormous intimidating physical presence, there are tribal roars, gargantuan riffs, twisting dual melodies, virulent virtuosity and crushing, bombastic rhythms, all giving Shepherds Reign their propulsive, dynamic metal sound. There is a special passion and power in every note struck, and in every word sung.

The band’s album, Ala Mai features the following tracks, followed by comments from the band.

‘Aiga’ (Family): This song is based on a traditional Samoan song (heard in the intro). It’s about someone who has learned so much that he/she think they don’t need the love of their family anymore. Wants a taste of the world and ventures out falling into the many of our worldly temptations. Later figures out that the only happiness they will find lies within their roots. Their family. Our version is more of a lecture to them. To return home to their families where they will find true happiness.                                                                                                
‘Le Manu’ (The Beast): A war chant about one of Samoa’s most dominant warriors to ever live. Manu Samoa. We then extended this war chant to be about us. Instead of heading out on our journey to war, we ask our ancestors and families for guidance on our journey to becoming one of the most dominant metal bands in the world.

‘Nafanua’: A story about Nafanua, Samoa’s Goddess of War. Nafanua, the daughter of Saveasi’uleo, the God of the underworld (Pulotu) was born of a blood clot and buried in the ground. This ancient deity rose from the underworld and defeated all warriors who stood against her to protect her family who suffered at the hands of a foolish King. She was feared by all.  

‘The World Bleeds’: This song is about the suffering of our world today. The many sins that are being committed and the corrupt lifestyles around the world. This is our message to the world to wake up and realize these hard times and we must change for the better.

‘Cold Summer Night’: A ballad that paints a picture about the realism of depression. A subject that we have gone through personally. The song explains how one loses faith and the pure will to live like they used to but instead crumbles and watches time go by in misery. Although, it does change in the very last line. Showing the world that there is hope and you can overcome your problems.

‘Ala Mai’ (Awaken): A call to our forefathers for strength and guidance not as Samoans but Polynesia entirely as we travel around to different countries making our mark. The many obstacles that will stand before us but we believe with the help of our ancestors our stories will be heard. Peace will be brought onto the world. Especially with how time has changed and the many difficulties we face all over the globe.

‘Finally’: A love song. A song about losing hope that you would ever find your one true love but then finally find someone that makes you happy. Makes you feel like your patience was worth it. A person who has just come into your life and completely changed your perspective on reality.

‘Ua Masa’a’ (It Has Spilt): This song is about our lead singers sister who was murdered by her spouse and his family. The song is filled with anger and voices what Filivaa feels his sister would have felt just before her death. ‘Ua masa’a le ipu vai’ is translated to ‘The cup has spilt’. A symbolic look at the love once shared, lost like water in a broken cup. 

‘Never Forgotten’: A soft and very emotional song made as homage for the son of our guitarist Oliver, who unfortunately passed away. Sung in Samoan, English and Tongan as representation of his cultures. Tom will never be forgotten. 

‘Atali’i’ (Son): We wrote this song to show our love for our children. Especially when they aren’t around. This song was made in hopes that they will understand that no matter where we are in the world or where they’ll end up in the future, we will always love and cherish them wholeheartedly. 

‘Samoa Mo Samoa’ (Samoa For Samoa): A story about tragedy and triumph. Death and victory. Fear and bravery. The biggest countries in the world that tried to rule over our little Pacific Nation, but we did not back down. We did not give in. We fought, we killed and we kept our lands. Many of our men, women and children died protecting our land. You will all be remembered. Samoa for Samoa.

You can also check out the video for previous single ‘Finally’ here at RAMzine.

Paul H Birch
Paul H Birch
RAMzine Senior Writer - Writer of fiction, faction and fact, has edited several newsstand magazines. He declares himself a hack for hire but refuses to compromise on the subject of music.

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