When I first started really reviewing recorded music, I hated quick three and four-song EPs. I felt like I just couldn’t get a real feel for a band with that short of a release but, the more I review these quick albums (which seem to be the way of the future), I realized that three or four songs are more than enough for a band to really lay out what they’re about and will either leave me anxiously awaiting more from an act or will leave me unsatisfied without having wasted too much of my time. Let’s see if Crooked Shepherd is able to have me sold on just three songs with their EP ‘Go Dead’. Judging from the snippet of one track that I listened to, I don’t think I have a single fear that checking out this EP will be a waste of time.
“Cut Me Off” wastes no time jumping into Crooked Shepherd’s distinct rap-metal sound. Don’t roll your eyes when I say rap-metal. Sure, everyone’s first thought is a band like Limp Bizkit but I feel like rap-metal is one of those genres that got a bad rep because of bands like Limp Bizkit. Bands like Crooked Shepherd are doing it right and this opening track is proof of that. Although it has an edge to it, there’s something sensitive about the chorus of this amazing opening track. The back and forth between the more rap styled vocals and the harder-edged rock vocals is perfect and the way they balance each other without much of a tug of rope type fight is magical and an element that absolutely sets Crooked Shepherd apart from other bands in this genre (which is coming back with a vengeance if you weren’t aware).
The second track on this quick listen is “Feels Like” and this happens to be the track that I heard a snippet of earlier. This track definitely leans a bit heavier on the rap side of things but, as the first track, there’s still this seamless balance between genres in this track. The opening of this song gave me huge Fort Minor vibes before the chorus gave me something a bit more “radio-rock” and, again, I can not stress how great these two moods blend together. The switches between styles are flawless while still being stark and that’s what I have no problem calling Crooked Shepherd a genius band. Too many acts try to pull off this style but can’t figure out those transitions between genres. These guys have figured it out and made them almost non-existent unless you’re really looking for it.
Whereas “Feels Like” seemed to lean a bit towards the rap side of things, the final track, “Play Dead” leans more to a pop-punk/rock sound. This final track instantly gave me some Machine Gun Kelly vibes and, well, yeah, I was in love. Again, without even acknowledging or taking a break, this track moves from that bratty rock sound to a rap portion. I have clearly loved every track on this quick EP but “Play Dead” is my favorite for sure. Sure, maybe that’s because it leans more to the rock side of things but I would like to think it’s because of those seamless and almost non-existent transitions between genres. I feel like you just really see that genius songwriting/composition in this final track.
Sometimes quick EPs are great because, if you don’t like something, well at least you didn’t spend an hour listening to it. Sadly, ‘Go Dead’ is an example of why they aren’t great. Three songs were just not enough for me. I absolutely love Crooked Shepherd’s sound and I can not wait to dig into some more and see what else they come out with!
My Favorite Track(s): All of them but especially “Play Dead”
For Fans Of: Rap-Metal (the good stuff); Amazing Blend of Genres
Mosh-ability: 8 out of 10
What My Cats Thought Of It: Artie laid next to my speakers; Autumn slept upstairs
How Badly I Want To See This Performed Live: 9 out of 10
My Overall Rating: 9 out of 10
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