Shepherds Reign fans' hearts flutter over Samoan headbangers’ new love song

August 3, 2023

Shepherds Reign fans' hearts flutter over Samoan headbangers’ new love song

Shepherds Reign. Photo: supplied

Fans hearts are fluttering over Samoan metal band Shepherds Reign's latest single ‘Finally,’ a love song penned by their frontman and vocalist Filiva’a James.

One fanboy praised the single as "a romantic love song for that special headbanger in your life”, while another member of Shepherds Reign’s flock posted: "The hardest love song from what’s becoming one of my favourite bands."

“I thought I’d never written a love song before in any genre. I wrote about my partner. I’m not very romantic . . . not into Valentines Day or any of that. It was the best way I could show my partner how I really feel about [her]” said James.

Despite his uncertainty, his partner “loved it" and James' romantic gesture paid off.

The music for the single germinated from a serendipitous collaboration between James and the bass player and last member to join the Shepherds Reign fold, Joseph Oti-George.

The accident became a musical triumph and from what was ‘“just an idea" and a "pop element’” became the lyrical awakening of ‘Finally’.

James delivers the ballad with his signature grunty vocals but there’s a tenderness to the track that evolves from a fusion of his vulnerability, earnest lyrics: "I’ve waited all my life for you. Now I can finally see the truth" coupled with heady guitar riffs.

The love ditty is a testament to the power of the band's versatility and confirms Shepherds Reign as innovators of an emerging genre, and unapologetic sound and style.

Here's the official lyrics video for 'Finally'.

Founding member, guitarist and production maestro Oliver Leupolu professes: “We are not bothered by what other people think. That’s our strength.”

James hearkens the five-piece metal-heads to a “brotherhood”, which Oliver says has a responsibility’ to "make music that helps people".

Both James and Leupolu agree they draw on their Samoan ancestry for strength and inspiration.

Filiva’a reflects on his role while he’s on stage. “It’s like a matai (chief) standing before us doing his speech. I feel like I have my whole family standing on my shoulders. I represent the nu’u (place) where I come from.”

“It feels like a whole nother responsibility. You’ve got to do it properly," echoes Leupolu,

‘Finally’ was released on June 16 by Golden Robot Records and is a lead up to their second album Ala mai’ due out this month.

Ala mai means wake up or awaken.

”It’s pretty much a call to our ancestors to join us on our new journey. Obviously our ancestors mean a lot to us. We know how powerful our people can be," says Filiva’a.

The forthcoming album articulates the band's calling “to take on the world" with their ancestors at their backs, he says.

Shepherds Reign, a South Auckland, Aotearoa/Poly-mash-up fraternity, are:  Filiva’a James (vocals,keys), Oliver Leupolu (guitar,production), Shaymen Rameka (drums), Gideon Voon (guitar) and Joseph Oti-George (bass).

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