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Shalash Band - Shalash CD (album) cover

SHALASH

Shalash Band

 

Symphonic Prog

3.51 | 16 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

wiz_d_kidd
3 stars Quick, name a two-man band consisting of keyboards and drums... Did you think of Zombi? Well, here's another: Shalash, from Russia, with Dmitry Karavaev on keys, and Maxim Smirnov on drums. Even though it's just the two of them, they supplement their music with other recorded audio (or MIDI) to produce a fairly full sound.

Sometimes progressive music can be (for me, at least): dark, brooding, complex, dense, serious, obtuse, and angular. Shalash is refreshingly the opposite: bright, happy, straight forward, light, fun, familiar, and melodic. Shalash provides a good break when the prog music you're listening to becomes too challenging.

The compositions and music are quite enjoyable. Both musicians appear to be more than competent with their instruments. The album has well conceived compositions with nice chord progressions, toe tapping rhythms, surprising (but not awkward) changes, and forward-leaning grooves that maintain your interest. There are no vocals, aside from some recorded spoken passages in Russian.

There's obviously a creative mind behind this work. I think that inside Dmitri's head are complex compositions which he struggles to fully convey to the listener because he is limited to his 10 fingers and some recorded MIDI/audio tracks. These compositions really beg for more players -- perhaps a real bass player and guest guitarist or violinist. The synth substitutes are somewhat disappointing. And a little bit of production polish (stereo separation, reverb, mixing levels, etc.) would help to add some much-needed depth and spaciousness.

Most of the track names have had their Russian words replaced with abbreviations. Discogs provided the full Russian names, which I passed through Google Translate to get the following track listing (approved by Dmitry via private correspondence):

1. 54321 2. 12/8 3. For Glory 4. Wall of Sound (for Truth) 5. Vremiri 6. Russian Traditional 7. Knight Tournament 8. Dances 9. Woodstock 10. Shalash (Hut)

The highlights of the album, for me, are tracks 7, 8 and 9 in which you'll hear some fine keyboard work (some reminiscent of Keith Emerson), and even some Santana-inspired passages complete with cow-bell! Overall, it's a refreshingly upbeat debut album. Three stars -- allowing room for growth.

wiz_d_kidd | 3/5 |

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