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Shaman - Ritual CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

4.23 | 87 ratings

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5 stars Quite sometime ago - I think it was 2002 - I regularly hang out around CD stores in Jakarta just to check what is coming out new to the stores and see if I'm interested to buy. In one occasion of my journey of no destination I met someone - metalhead of course - at Aquarius Mahakam CD store. He worked for a boutique Hotel Grand Mahakam at walking distance to the CD store he regularly visit the store almost everyday. As a matter of fact I introduce myself knowing that he played an album (metal, in my opinion) that I never heard before. By that time I was in search of good power metal album like Helloween, Rhapsody, Nightwish, and the like. So I asked him what album he was playing at the store and he showed me the cassette version of SHAMAN "Ritual". It blew me away at first spin. He talked a lot about "the story of" the band where basically the band was the culmination of split-up ANGRA (Brazil band) and the vocalist Andre Matos (who is he? I never heard his name before!) formed SHAMAN. I was interested with his story, really. He even talked quite a lot about metal music horizon where I was not familiar before. (Yeah, I remember his name now: Dedy! Hello, Dedy .. how are you? Hope that someday you read this write-up.) He even talked about bands like Vision Divine, Blind Guardian, Angra, Edguy, etc. What a new knowledge for me in the forest of metal world!

So, finally I purchased this CD. First impression, I do like the ambient opening of "Ancient Winds" which basically is an introduction of the band's music in orchestral arrangement. It's basically I feel like watching a movie. As an introduction, this opening track sounds too long, actually, but I do enjoy it anyway. What follows is a blast of power metal music in style through "Here I Am" where the vocal of Andre Matos is very powerful. He can easily handle high register notes brilliantly. Structurally, this is actually not a straight power metal music as it has many variations and styles. Yes, the foundation is power metal but the band has expanded the structure as well as style, combining beautiful high and low points.

The third track "Distant Thunder" is for me much more captivating in a sense that the music is composed on metal music style but the structure has some curved lines that make the song very dynamic, and so is "proggy" - I think. The poser of this song, in addition to dynamic style / structure, is the memorable basic melody delivered through the unique voice of Matos. I also enjoy the heavy guitar riffs that truly represent the power metal sub-genre. Excellent track!

"For Tomorrow" gives another flavor and texture of music through inventive opening using traditional music (percussion and mandolin? - not quite sure). The music then flows naturally with clear and transparent voice of Andre Matos backed with powerful guitar riffs. Another excellent track from the album. For those of you who claim as metalheads, I'm pretty damn sure that this song would make your nerves vibrate significantly.

"Time Will Come" rejects any opinion that metal music must start with heavy guitar riffs. It's not the case with this song as soft piano touch kicks-off the song followed with full music in metal vein augmented wonderfully with orchestration. Musical interlude of this song gives a traditional taste followed with great guitar solo. It's a stunning composition.

"Over Your Head" also starts mellow followed with heavy rhythm music and then low register notes of Andre Matos vocal line - augmented with nice acoustic guitar fills. Structurally, this song offers many styles with excellent melody. Again, Andre matos delivers his high register notes singing line. There is a musical interlude with a kind of traditional music (in my case, I associate this music with our traditional Reog Ponorogo). Excellent. This is definitely a prog tune to the bone!

"Fairy Tale" is a ballad that has become my all time favorite since I heard it the first time. Structurally the music was composed in "circle" i.e. the song ends the same as it starts. What I mean here is that the melody of the song starts with low register notes of Andre Matos under : " Fairy lady, who stands on the walls ."and it finishes with the same opening melody. The ballad flows brilliantly from elegant women choir to melodic piano touch and Matos' voice. So melodic, my friend! Not just the melody that is so powerful, I can also enjoy the great orchestral arrangement that follows the music. Wow! What a great ballad I have ever heard! Oh darling, hear my soul and heed my cry. Cause all my crying may flood an ocean and in my heart ..

The album title track "Ritual" sounds initially like any metal music in medium tempo. There are some interesting segments in the song that sound memorable to my ears. The use of keyboard and orchestra has made this song enjoyable. The interlude part produces stunning guitar solo and orchestra. It's an excellent song.

Overall, this is a perfect album you would expect from a power metal band with many prog touches during the stream of the music it produces. Yes, my rating is devoted to the fact that this is a power metal band with powerful composition. No wonder this album is perfect because Sascha Paeth is the producer. Highly recommended for those who are hungry for power metal or progressive metal. Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Gatot | 5/5 |


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