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Shalash Band - Shalash CD (album) cover

SHALASH

Shalash Band

 

Symphonic Prog

3.51 | 16 ratings

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Kempokid
3 stars After my review of the album 'Adventures at the Babooinumfest 2017' by another Russian band 'Rozmainsky & Mikhaylov Project', I got a request from keyboardist Dmitry Karavaev to review this album. something I do feel quite honoured about. Anyway, after a few listens, my thoughts boil down to this. Is it incredibly innovative? No. However, it does have a great general sound to it, and happens to be incredibly enjoyable nonetheless. My immediate thoughts upon listening to this album was finding comparisons in the keyboard driven approach to the music with the work of Keith Emerson. That said, the biggest difference between this album and something by 'Emerson, Lake and Palmer' is that this doesn't have the same indulgence that could sometimes get in the way of my full enjoyment of their albums. This provides a more cohesive listening experience overall and doesn't provide the listener with some dull moments such as the obnoxiously long and tedious drum solo in 'Tank'.

Another aspect that immediately comes to mind when listening to this is how full the band sounds despite there only being 2 members in it, which I'm assuming is largely due to manipulating the keyboards in such a way to provide groovy basslines and even sometimes emulate the sound of wind instruments or guitars. The album also seems to have a particularly summery edge to the sound of keyboards, such as the opening song '54321' which almost sounds like something that would be used to convey the beach, albeit more complex and somewhat stranger in nature. I find the track '12/8' to be fun to listen to and also quite rhythmically interesting, along with having some moments that caught me off guard first time around, such as when the keyboards end up sounding like a clarinet. Moments like this really add another layer of depth to the music, along with some unpredictability, which is always fun to have a bit of. I find 'V.S' to be one of the stronger tracks here, mostly because of the incredibly smooth melodies used throughout, with of course, more time for Karavaev to shine with his impressive keyboard skills. Despite me going on and on about the keyboards here, due to the extreme prominence of them, the drumming in 'S.Z.' is great, being really energetic and fun, with the beat being fairly consistent, but quite enjoyable to listen to. This song is very dynamic in general, having sections focusing more on groovy basslines, while others have the keyboard sound like a harpsichord, with the song never dipping in quality at all. The next few songs follow a similar pattern of highly enjoyable keyboard work with some fun rhythmic elements and an all around pleasant sound, with tracks having a couple of interesting moments, such as the various sections of spoken word in 'R.N.' 'R.T.' has a medieval sound to it, which is a nice change of tone and pace, along with having some percussion other than drums, such as a cowbell, but overall leaves me a bit cold, as I do find it to get repetitive. It isn't until 'W' where things really pick up again, but I love this track for the combination of the more varied percussion and the really great, groovy bassline. The song further ups the ante by then having the chanting in the background, overall making this a song that you can happily bob your head along to. 'S' is one of my favourite songs here, as I find the melody to be very strong and the song to have a particular tone that's really fitting for a closer, although I can't quite place my finger on it, but despite that, I do find it to be a great song.

Overall, despite sounding a lot like the work of Keith Emerson a lot of the time, I really enjoy this album on the whole. It's a mix of extreme enjoyability with some truly impressive technicality and composition, with a big focus on making an album that is enjoyable to listen to. The way it sound like a 4 person band in places despite being a duo is also seriously impressive. The only thing stopping me from giving this 5 stars is the fact that I never had the moment in which I felt truly wowed, but I nonetheless have found this album to be of high quality.

Best Songs: 12/8, W, S

Weakest Songs: R.T.

Verdict: This album is fairly easy to get into and enjoy as long as you enjoy instrumental music. The keyboard work is great, and I overall had a great time with this album.

Edit: Despite enjoying this album quite a bit for the first few listens, I don't really have plans on revisiting this anytime soon, I guess it kinda grew off me, although I still am definitely looking forward to seeing any future albums, as there's definitely some potential

Kempokid | 3/5 |

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