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Shalash Band - Shalash CD (album) cover


Shalash Band


Symphonic Prog

3.52 | 20 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars From time to time, I'll find a message in my mailbox asking me to review an album. I'm both pleased and honoured to be asked and at the same time I feel the burden of responsibility to give a fair listen when I might actually be totally into something else at the time. Something about this request made me want to lend my ears, however, and soon I found myself thinking, "You know, I need to have this album in order to properly enjoy it."

At least one reviewer has mentioned a similarity to Emerson, Lake and Palmer, surely because Shalash are a keyboard/drums/bass band with there being no bass guitar credit, so I must assume the bass parts are created with keyboards. My first impressions though were more like some tracks sound like the weird electronic music that's in those bizarre videos by Cyriak only recorded using real instruments. Other times, the music reminds me of a Quebec seventies band who were called Incubus in the day but after reforming had to change their name to Ex-cubus because a metal band had since taken the name. Ex-cubus is also a keyboard/drums/bass band but with a sound like Italian prog, not English. So there was this familiarity about Shalash's music.

This is not prog for everyone. It's quirky, it's fun, and quite cheerful at times. If you've ever heard the kind of music by the (not) surf band Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet you might detect that spirit here, even though the musical styles are quite different.

All the tracks are instrumentals, though some include spoken Russian such as the first track, "54321", which is about a rocket launch so you hear the radio communications between cosmonauts and ground crew. It makes for a great introduction to the album. The next track "12/8" has that Cyriak beginning before settling into a very pleasing slow-tempo organ solo instrumental that reminds me of some Quebec prog bands again. The closing track, "S" is also one that stands out for me as is, "S.Z."

One thing is that most track titles are given as letters, such as "V", "R.N.", and "P". These letters represent the alphabet letter at the beginning of the track titles, which are actually in Russian. Perhaps knowing that many of us out there don't read Russian (as unfortunate as that may be), they traded their Russian titles for letters and numbers. Given the peculiar nature of the music, this adds some mystery, but I feel something amiss not to see the actual Russian text.

Because this is such an interesting and, let's say uncommon album of music, it's not one you're likely to play at wedding parties or while cruising the seaside strip. Then again, a lot of prog isn't. Still, it's an album that is for those special times when you just gotta hear something special and unusual.

I'd love to give this album four stars simply for all that went into it. But I don't want to mislead the casual viewer who might mistake this for the next Triumvirate. The band is certainly on the right track, however, and I expect we'll be hearing more eyebrow-raising music from them in the future. Consider it a fascinating delight for the adventurous of taste but not something for everyone.

FragileKings | 4/5 |


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