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Smak - Crna Dama [Aka: Black Lady] CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.29 | 58 ratings

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4 stars SMAK's third album showed more mature picture of the band. Compared to its predecessors, production is much better, and ideas gained better development, creating brief interplays and prolonged solos when necessary. The album is much in a symphonic/fusion realm, with occasional clashes with blues. Prog folk is almost absolutely absent (save the hard rock-folk track "Daire").

Vocals are still the weakest point (not the timbre or the Arandjelovic's performance, but the horrible pronounciation/diction), but good enough not to spoil the picture of the album in general. Musical craftsmanship is top-notch, occasionally astonishing. One of the weakest points of the album is "'Alo", but even the lowest point provides the pleasant listening; plentiful of blues-soloing accompanied with unison vocals and occasional keyboard journeys to the fusion. Very good. One-above-the-weakest song is "Daire", providing us excellent guitar riffs and brief but good Moog solo. "Tegoba" is an excellent semi-ballad with piano introduction that resembles Keith Emerson and RETURN TO FOREVER, floating into rolling concrete rhythms of Stojanovic's drums, with nice guitar solos. It got some sad disco mood, so to say, although the tune itself is not disco. "Plava Pesma" is an excellent Yugoslavian-style ballad, needles to say more.

"Domaci Zadatak" is the highlight of the album, presenting SMAK's outstanding technicians. Every instrument waits for it's own very moment, handcrafting the tapestry of extraordinary progressive rock. Although this tune was recorded only for the purpose of demonstration of band's skills, I wouldn't dare to say that it's pompous or progressive just for the sake of being progressive. The solos are just gorgeous, proving once again that Tocak and his fellow band members are excellent songwriters. The song have one of the rare bass guitar solos on wah-wah pedal (or EHX Bassballs, more likely).

At the end of the day, this is one of the best albums from former Yugoslavia and definitely worth having in your collection, if you can find a copy.

clarke2001 | 4/5 |


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