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Shamall - Schizophrenia CD (album) cover

SCHIZOPHRENIA

Shamall

 

Neo-Prog

3.90 | 137 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

SylvieK
5 stars Shamall is the project of Norbert Krüler, a German musician who has been producing and releasing progressive music of various styles under this name for more than 30 years. Indeed Shamall has experienced different emphases in his music until today. Starting with two disco productions in the early 80's, he quickly turned - despite great success - to the growing alternative electronic scene and released electronic music in all its facets over a decade From this time he released 7 albums.

From the year 2000 on Shamall turned to the theme Krautrock/Progressive Rock. Initially a bit bumpy, he quickly created his own unique style, which became his future trademark starting with the album "Who Do They Think They Are" in 2003. Since the formation of the band under the leadership of this man, 19 albums have been produced, almost all are listed in the discography of progarchives.com.

But to place Shamall in the right context, you have to know that Krueler, besides his musical ambitions, was a DJ in a big German rock club for almost 40 years. The experiences he gained there over decades are often reflected in the arrangements of some of his compositions, which leads to the fact that in some of his works you get the feeling to hear reminiscences of bands from his daily business as a rock DJ or from his personal favourites, which sometimes leads to surprises.

Personally, I have always found this refreshing, because it ensured that the music had a logical structure and that you could dive into the world of Shamall's music without strain.

Beat counters can now stop reading at this place. At no point Shamall tries to be in competition with more abstract prog bands. Instead it seems that space and atmosphere are more important to him and the focus of his music is on heart and soul. For all those who feel comfortable in the world of Pink Floyd, Alan Parsons, Jean Michel Jarre, the German band Eloy or other comparable bands or even have an open ear for melodic neo-prog, Shamall is a real goldmine.

Also on the new Shamall album "Schizophrenia" at first a light "Jean Michel Jarre meets Eloy meets Pink Floyd" feeling comes up again. But already after less than 3 minutes the first impression is dynamically blown away. At this point the title theme already shows that Shamall is breaking new ground.

Guitar riffs that you only know from the heavier kind of music, followed by a powerful and loud vocal chorus make you listen attentively. For a moment you think you are dealing with a hard rock album. At this point you notice for the first time that the drama of Shamall has increased enormously. But - without being unfaithful to the Shamall style I love. The album now has my full attention.

But apart from the charming light German accent in the English vocals as we know it from Eloy and other German bands, the musical performance is much more professional and fresh.

However! Without a doubt, this album is also characterized by a great atmosphere. Shamall's obvious passion for bands like Pink Floyd, Alan Parsons or Jean Michel Jarre is still omnipresent in many places. Especially these atmospheric moments make me curious about what is coming next. And Shamall understands perfectly to wait for the right moment when you feel "Now it could go on".

Besides the already mentioned impressive atmospheric passages, this double CD is in large parts more rockin' than any of the previous Shamall releases. The guitar solos are harder and more playful. With pieces like "It's an inconvenient Truth part 1 and 2" you get to hear several sweeping guitar solos, so you might think you're dealing with guitarists like Arjen Lucassen, Eddie Van Halen or Adrian Vandenberg. At this point guitarist Matthias Mehrtens, Shamall's companion for decades, does a hell of a job - just brilliant. I am thrilled by the interesting mixture of this album. Also the guitar riffs have become harder, and that without letting the overall concept appear somehow inharmonic. On none of the previously released albums by Shamall this balancing act has succeeded so perfectly.

Especially the vocals on this new album are very well done. Both male and female voices understand how to convince. Mighty choirs and orchestras cause goose bumps. They perfectly complete harmoniously the music and create interesting contrasts in some places.

Similar to many of Shamall's previous albums, enough space was created between the vocal sections for fantastic and magnificent keyboard solos, which always impressively complement and emphasize the mood of the respective song. A few titles are beautifully underlined by soulful piano and saxophone solos. Two soulful ballads, which certainly wouldn't necessarily stand up to the regulations of prog, round off the double CD, but without reducing the quality of the whole work.

To me personally, especially outstanding are tracks like the 19 minutes long album theme "Schizophrenia", "Man in the mirror", "Voices of Yonder", "Foolin' myself", "the shape of things to come" (love the solopart here!!! ) , "all the answers", "Supernatural Dream", which is sung magically by the female singer Anke Ullrich, and of course in particular "world of emotions", the first almost 12 minutes long instrumental track on the second CD. Other titles give the impression to be the intro for the next theme, whereas other songs like "We are all in the same boat" or "Eyes Of A stranger" lighten up the whole work in a relaxed way. Because the titles all merge into each other without a break you get the feeling to be on a journey. In my opinion all instruments on the whole album are played with passion and dedication. So I was not bored at any time.

You have to take your time with Shamall's new release. I like that there are still bands out there who develop themselves and stay true to their style. - whose pieces are not cut to 4-7 minutes in a contemporary way, just because many listeners are no longer willing to listen to music with the necessary patience. The new Shamall album gives reason to suppose that the artists work out a theme for as long as they think they have something to say about it. The whole work is for me the best ever Album produced by Shamall mastermind Norbert Krueler. Soundwise it is beyond any doubt. More modern, demanding and powerful, it beats its predecessors, and also many other CDs I have bought recently. The moderate drumming criticized on earlier Shamall releases seems to be a thing of the past. So the new work knows to convince especially at this point, too.

Even after almost 35 years this album shows no signs of fatigue of the artists. 150 minutes of "music I love" makes me well equipped for the next time and I have another 5 star treasure in my CD collection. The artwork of this album is not part of the music. Nevertheless! It makes the difference between digital downloads and the physical original. Just to say one sentence about it. It is extraordinary - the hammer par excellence. I haven't seen such an impressive work in a long time and I really would have to search very long on the shelf to find something comparable. The DigiPack alone shows how seriously Shamall takes his work For me a "Must Have" and an essential masterpiece for every melodic prog collection. -my humble opinion-

SylvieK | 5/5 |

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