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Shepherds of Cassini

Interview with Shepherds of Cassini

New Zealand’s experimental metallers Shepherds of Cassini are one of my favourite bands on the current scene, and it would not be right not to have them covered through these pages. That’s why I talked with Vitesh and Omar.

What made you go for the name Shepherds of Cassini?

V: Brendan’s idea.

O: The name certainly reflects our interest in astronomy.

How do you usually describe your music?

V: Progressive-post-metal-rock-experimental.

O: Experimental post-progressive.

What is your writing process like?

V: We bring material in the practice room, which could be riffs, rhythms, potential arrangement. As a band, we then jam through all the different ideas, re-arranging, re-writing etc until songs are formed. Songs are then continuously tweaked, revised and go through multiple versions until they stable-ise into something we’re happy with.

O: The great thing about the writing process is that we jam out all the ideas presented by us. We don’t judge new ideas before jamming them out despite how different they are stylistically. Otherwise this could eliminate the possibility of writing something great.

Who or what is your inspiration, if you have any?

V: Me personally:
Experimental art .

O: Musicians that I’ve met here in the Auckland music scene.

What is your favourite song on the new album “Helios Forsaken”?

V: Too hard for me to answer sorry.

O: Mine always shifts between the 6 tracks depending on my mood. To be honest I love them all equally but for the time being I’ve been listening to Helios Forsaken on repeat in the car on the way to work.

What makes “Helios Forsaken” different?

V: Different to the first album you mean? It pushes the boundaries even further.

O: More cohesive and our chemistry is certainly stronger on our second effort. We’ve grown together musically and it really showed when we wrote the songs for our second album.

Shepherds of Cassini - Helios Forsaken

What should music lovers expect from “Helios Forsaken”?

V: A psychedelic-space-prog journey from the dark and menacing, through the hypnotic and exotic to the surreal and beautiful.

O: An album that offers a variety of moods and emotions.

What kind of emotions would you like your audience to feel when they listen to your music?

V: Whatever emotions come naturally to them that they enjoy feeling.

O: That’s a very tough question to answer. It’ll be great if the album is played to reflect the listener’s mood at certain time and place.

Which do you like most, life in the studio or on tour?

V: Probably life in the studio; both experiences have been a lot of fun. I’ve yet to tour with Shepherds.

O: In the studio for me so far. I have yet to tour with Shepherds as Vitesh have said but I’m sure it would be fantastic. Only then I would have a definite answer.

Pick your 3 favorite albums that you would take on a desert island with you.

Greenfog – Bruce Farm
Heart Attack Alley – Living in Hell
Hide & Tallow – WAtcher and the Goatherd

Earth – The Bees Made Honey In the Lion’s Skull
An Emerald City – Circa Scaria
Acrassicauda – Gilgamesh

You can buy “Helios Forsaken” by Shepherds of Cassini here, and follow them on Facebook for future announcements here.

Shepherds of Cassini

Review: Shepherds of Cassini – Helios Forsaken

Generally our ears are accustomed to hear music that mostly originates from European countries or North America, especially when it comes to artists that play progressive rock/metal. Shepherds of Cassini are breaking that “rule” and reach out from very far New Zealand. The quartet is making music that could be described as post-progressive rock/metal with addition of space rock. The biggest trademark of this young group is usage of violin in their music. Although they certainly are not the first band with this instrument in the mix, Shepherds’ violin player Felix Lun makes the band’s sound incredibly rich and delicious.


The band released two albums so far. Their self-tiled album was released in 2013, and the other one is actually this year’s release titled “Helios Forsaken.” This recording is a must-hear album of 2015, as it comes with a strong structure and plenty of untried elements. Their songs are pretty lengthy, but no matter of that the band is capable of taking you into their world by spellbounding sound which doesn’t make you feel bored in any moment.


Shepherds of Cassini - Helios Forsaken
With “Helios Forsake” Shepherds of Cassini show that they pay a lot of attention to instrumentation. However, they also succeed in creating outstanding great vocal segments, courtesy of Brendan Zwan, wrapping up the predominant instrumental soundscapes. Usage of unconventional instruments is a big plus, and helps “Helios Forsaken” to stand out.


As an absolute favourite of this six-track release, I would single out the title track. It deserves to be named after the album (or the opposite). This piece is a bit darker than the other songs on the album, and it features a good unison of clean and growl vocals that I mentioned earlier.


Something fresh and innovative comes together with something we already love. And its name is Shepherds of Cassini.









SOC Band Shot 2 - Photo by Bevan Weir

Shepherds of Cassini

Shepherds Of Cassini are a space metal quartet from Auckland, New Zealand.

Vitesh Bava, bassist of Pilgrim’s Pyre, first met Omar Al-Hashimi in Auckland via the University of Auckland Rock Club when Omar joined Pilgrim’s Pyre to play drums in 2008. While the band were actively gigging, Vitesh met guitarist Brendan Zwaan from the band Flood, also through the Rock Club, after attending a Flood show in Auckland.

As Pilgrim’s Pyre began winding up in 2011, Vitesh and Omar were keen to start a new musical project. Around this time, Vitesh met violinist Felix Lun from An Emerald City through mutual friends. While Felix was finishing off the last set of shows with An Emerald City at the start of 2012, Vitesh got back in contact with Brendan and the first jam was quickly lined up in February 2012 at Brendan’s old flat in Newton, Auckland.

Jams soon moved to Brendan’s new flat in Freeman’s Bay, which eventually evolved into Pins & Needles Audio, the regular jamming base for the band. The name Shepherds Of Cassini was soon chosen, and the band landed their first gig in July during the same year at Lucha Lounge in Newmarket.

Since then, Shepherds Of Cassini have continued to play numerous gigs in, around and beyond Auckland. The band released their début album in August 2013, and are currently working on new material.