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Shakary - Alya CD (album) cover

ALYA

Shakary

 

Neo-Prog

3.41 | 29 ratings

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Gatot
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Having enjoyed and been satisfied with the second album of Shakary, The Last Summer, I started to explore other album. My friend Bowo - my neo prog guru - lent me his collection of the band's debut album Alya. Well, learning from the sleeve notes it seems that this is a project by three musicians: Scandy (musical concept, bass guitar, some vocals, some keyboards), Lele Hofmann (musical concept, lead guitars, some keyboards, some vocals) and Sandor Kwiatkowski (lyrics & booklet's artwork) and additional guests. Most vocals are performed by CLEPSYDRA's front man: Aluisio Maggini.

. in the beginning there was God . Like all the creatures of the universe God had a place He called home. This place is Shakary, the center of the universe." - CD sleeve notes page.

This debut album is truly excellent. It offers a rich combination of classical music with the use of real instruments like violins, flugelhorn, trumpet and neo progressive style. I don't know exactly on how to associate the style that Shakary plays in this album with any other kind of band. However, it's for sure that the basic music was formed from neo progressive rock perspective and further expanded through other territory using unique instruments available. The music flows from one track to another in a smooth way even though in some parts there seem like disjointed - melody-wise as well as style.

Disc One

The album start with Sunset (4:52) through the sound of violin followed with medium tempo music demonstrating howling guitar and dominant drum work. It moves smoothly with a harmonious music with a soft sound of mellotron-like keyboard augmented with electric guitar solo. It's an excellent opening. Uniquely, the lyrical part enters at the ending part of the track that flows seamlessly to Lost Angels (6:07) with a classical piano touch accompanying the singer. The lyrical part flows to the music section with guitar as lead, delivered in neo progressive style. The ending part has a touchy segment where the guitar fills are combined beautifully with piano.

Time Trap (5:54) starts with a music that flows in crescendo reminiscent of IQ Subterranea music. I like the drum part and long sustain keyboard sound at the back. Violin enters in accurate timing and produces nice music harmony. There are some soft guitar riffs during singing part combined with solo. I especially like the rhythm section that accompany the singing. Typical neo prog lovers would love this song.

Starless Nights (4:35) is an exploration of classical guitar work reminiscent of Steve Hackett's work in Genesis "Blood On A Rooftop" intro. Seals (9:57) opens with a single vocal singing accompanied with vibes at the back and mellotron sound. Nice opening. Electric guitar enters softly in a howling style. The vocal line and the accompanying music reflect a strong story telling like in opera. The guitar solo is stunning, especially when it's combined with mellotron. It's a good treat for those who love classic prog.

Alya (4:22) starts wonderfully with great violin work. Oh man . the melody produced by the violin is really killing! For those who love touchy melody - this is it man! Shakary has made it for you! Enjoy this track man! For me personally, the melody has traditional music nuance in Indonesia - and I believe that this is a coincidence as I don't think the band members have ever traveled to my country, do they? Disc One is concluded with The First Inquisition (6:10) - it's a nice neo progging track with stunning violin, and Pain? (1:42).

Overall, disc one deserves 5- out of 5 stars.

Disc Two

Compared to Disc One, Disc Two is more loose in terms of composition and the flow of music from one track to another; it's a bit disjointed. It opens with Pain! (3:29) in ambient nuance with some trumpet, followed with Sentence (6:10) that starts off with powerful voice line and acoustic guitar work. The music flows smoothly in medium tempo with neo prog style: floating guitar solo and some soft riffs, keyboard is played at the back and provides symphonic nuance. The music then turns into faster tempo. Very nice composition! It definitely favors neo prog lovers.

The Dark Kingdom (6:09) starts off with an ambient style exploring keyboard sounds continued with a sort of weird but nice music that explores vocal style in operatic nuance augmented with stunning guitar work. This track is quite explorative in nature and it trades off with less melodic music. The Last Drink (8:18) is truly a stunning track that brings the music of Shakary into a grandiose style especially the part where it features exploration of violin solo. It's really an excellent composition.

Alya (3:45) is basically a live track performed more dynamic compared to the original version featured in disc one. Babylon (6:17) is a track with an upbeat tempo maintaining the operatic singing style. Simple and enjoyable. New Angels (3:52) reminds me to early Genesis music with its guitar fills during opening part. Open Skies (5:47) serves as an encore of the album.

Overall, disc Two deserves for 4 out of 5 stars.

SUMMARY

For those who love neo prog music would love this album even though it's not exactly the same with other neo prog style. Similarities with other bands: Arena, Jadis, IQ, Marillion, Genesis, Pallas, Clepsydra etc. The violin work has enriched the composition and music textures. Overall rating is 4+ out of 5. Highly Recommended. Keep on proggin' ..!

Progressively yours,

GW - Review #306

Gatot | 4/5 |

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