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4 stars SHAKARY are a musical project put together by a numerous of musicians. They started the project 5 years ago and now it's finally finished and released as a double-CD. The concept and the lyrics have a religious theme. The music is a mix between GENESIS, IQ, JETHRO TULL, PINK FLOYD, SALEM HILL and YES. The highlights are the album opener "Sunset", "Time Trap", the acoustic instrumental "Starless Nights", "Seals", "The First Inquisition", "Pain?", the albums masterpiece "The Last Drink" and the closing track "Open Skies". The only negative thing would be the vocals. CLEPSYDRA's Luisio Maggini who does the most of the vocals isn't a bad vocalist, but he has a strong Italian accent. I think that he'd better singed in his native language, as I'm very fond of the powerful Italian language. Therefore the album is at its best on the instrumental tracks and in the lengthy and outstanding instrumental passages. The album has a very good production. Partially the music lacks of originality, but all in all this is a brilliant project, and it's one of the best albums so far in 2000.
Report this review (#6576)
Posted Saturday, February 28, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars Shakary obviously is a band or project that raised out of the ashes of Clepsydra. Both guitar player and singer are coming from this band. Although I never discovered anything interesting in Clepsydra's music which is just quite simple NeoProg at least in my ears, I have to say I find this record slightly better. The only point which is disturbing a bit is the strong accent of Aluisio Maggini as my co-reviewer stated as well. It's a concept album and the story is somehow about a guy hanging around in a bar and brooding about his unlucky love which is linked in some way with the biblical apocalypse. In fact quite profane and not very deep IMHO and I would not necessarily call it a religious project. Okay let's come to the music and preferably to the instrumental parts which are more enjoyable for the mentioned reason. The two CDs have different themes, the first one represents the good the second one the evil and this contrast is expressed as well by the music.

CD 1

Sunset starts with a short violin solo and some bar background noise leading to an long instrumental part with heavy guitar, good drumwork and keyboards, then the last forty seconds a vocal part which goes on into the next one Lost Angels. Second half of this one is instrumental with quite atmospheric keyboards. Time Trap starts in a more heavy typical NeoProg (IQ) way until the violin sets in which make the sound a bit more original. The following vocal part is not very exciting and due to the accent not very peasant as well. Starless Nights is a nice all instrumental one with acoustical guitar starting with the sound of a romantic camp-fire. Seals is quite common NeoProg developing into a more heavy vein towards the end but in fact nothing special. Next one is the title song starting mellow with violin but the rest of the song is rather pop-ish. The First Inquistion sounds very much like AYREON in fact. Not bad but not very original as well. The last track of CD one Pain which is leading over to CD two is very short and mainly vocal.

CD 2

Second CD which is the more interesting one in my opinion, starts very dark with trumpet solo followed by some rather inharmonic synths. Sentence is in a more heavy NeoProg style with a dark atmosphere, very much IQ- alike. Next song The Dark Kingdom is for the first time one which is not typical NeoProg-ish, a bit more unusual and intricate and a quite good one. The Last Drink starts with some inharmonic synths again followed by a powerful and heavy guitar part accompanied by violin. Then the title song from CD one is presented again in a live version which lets it appear a bit stronger. Next two tracks are more ore less rather typical NeoProg. The last one Open Skies is another a bit outstanding and more intricate song with a trumpet solo and again plenty of violin.

As a SUMMARY one can say the music on this album is a bit stronger compared to Clepsydra's with some reminiscence of AYREON but mainly of IQ. Violin is obviously the dominant instrument all over the album and this makes the sound a little bit more original. The instrumental and atmospheric parts are usually quite enjoyable and not too lengthy. Second CD has a overall darker atmosphere and contains two songs which are a bit more outstanding of the rest. Alltogether apart of the presence of violin and trumpet it's a rather typical derivative NeoProg album, but at least one of the better ones. If Aluisio Maggini would sing in his native language it would be probably even better. Nevertheless I would recommend it only to hardcore NeoProg fans. For sophisticated listeners it's offering too few interesting moments I think. 3 stars is the maximum I can give.

Report this review (#6579)
Posted Sunday, January 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
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.


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

Report this review (#6582)
Posted Thursday, June 2, 2005 | Review Permalink
erik neuteboom
3 stars This 2-CD (each one contains 8 tracks) is a religious concept from a Swiss musical project. I immediately recognized the high pitched English vocals with that accent and the clear and sensitive guitar sound from the two ex-Clepsydra members, so distinctive! CD1 starts with "Sunset" featuring a moving gypsy-like violin solo, then we can enjoy a dynamic rhythm-section as a support for wonderful Hammond, Mellotron and clavinet sounds. The climates changes from slow to swinging and bombastic, SPLENDID PROG! The next track "Lost angels" is very alternating: dreamy with piano and beautiful vocals, mid-tempo with sensitive guitarwork and a grand finale delivering a symphonic walhalla with orchestral keyboards and a choir. I was blown away by the tension between the gypsy-like violin and the harder-edged guitar riffs. The song "Starless nights" contain fragile acoustic guitar and nature sounds, followed by the alternating and compelling "Seals" (fiery electric guitar and bombastic keyboards). The short titletrack (part 1) has a classical climate with a church organ intro, harp and violin. Halfway we hear a trumpet and in the final part a short but fiery electric guitar solo. "The first inquisition" is alternating and bombastic featuring Ayreon-like heavy guitarplay and organ work in the vein of early Earth & Fire. Halfway there is a magnificent violin solo, VERY MOVING! The final track from CD1 "Pain?" (part 1) is atmospheric with dreamy piano and vocals. CD2 opens with Pain? (part 2), a bit cacophonic with strange sounds and trumpet. Then a different story in the next song entitled "Sentence": the moods shifts from metal-ballad to bombastic progrock (evoking early MARILLION) with great, dramatic vocals, splendid guitar play, what a dynamic progrock! In "The dark kingdom" Shakary urprises us with a sound collage and then changing climates delivering fiery guitar and distorted vocals. The intro of "The last drink contains first all kinds of synthesizer sounds and then prog-metal with hints from Ayreon including a wonderful violin solo. The second part of the titletrack "Alya" starts with applause and drum beats, then fiery and flowing electric gutiar play, again aplause and finally climates that changes from dreamy to bombastic, propelled by a great rhythm-section. The swinging "Babylon" has a fat bass sound an could have been a single because of the polished structure. "New angels" has dreamy vocals, twanging guitars and soaring keyboards. I enjoyed the swinging break featuring the distinctive clavinet sound. The final track from CD2 is the dynamic "Open skies" featuring lots of changing climates with bombastic Mellotron and Minimoog, surprising trumpet sounds, fiery electric guitar and swirling violin, MARVELLOUS! If you like alternating neo-prog, this one is yours. By the way, on the back cover Shakary is very grateful to God because of the mankind inventions of the Mellotron, Hammond and Minimoog ....
Report this review (#40781)
Posted Friday, July 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars A concept album based on the Revelation as seen by John from the Bible. I really think they improved in just about all aspects on the next release "The Last Summer". This one seems to bog down at times and the vocalist has quite a heavy accent. That normally doesn't bother me too much, but the tone of his voice in conjunction with the accent is a distraction.

The album opens with violin that is eventually replaced with keyboards and drums. Some nice mellotron graces this song as well.The monologue in "Lost Angels" and throughout this project has it's place I know, but is a negative. "Starless Night" is a highlight with the sampling of rain and the Steve Howe-like acoustic guitar playing. "Seals" is another good one, more mellotron !

The second disc is a little darker as other reviewers have mentioned. Opening with "Pain" that begins with trumpet and some experimental keys or samplings. "Sentence" is dark with some great guitar. More mellotron on "The Dark Kingdom". "The Last Drink" features some heavy guitar and a violin solo."Babylon" is another favourite, soaring guitar and mellotron, great combination.

Yes this is a good record, just not an excellent one in my opinion.

Report this review (#94939)
Posted Wednesday, October 18, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Neoprogressive album with Marillion carboned-copy music with heavy accented vocals is absolutely nothing for I thought.

I was never gonna trust the delar who recommended this album to me again after first the first listen. Since I payed money for it I tried the album a second time, this time things opened up a bit more and I started to like some of the songs. By the third time I was hooked.

This album turned out to be one of my favourite albums, yes the vocals are heavy accented but the singer is also very good. I always prefer when bands sing in their native language, if so, this would have been fantastic.

The songs are very strong and its rare to hear a double albums that holds your interest for two whole CDs. Recommended for the average proglistener. Highly recommended for neoprog fans.

Report this review (#166064)
Posted Tuesday, April 8, 2008 | Review Permalink
Prog-Folk Team
3 stars With Lele Hofmann on guitars and Aluisio Maggini hired to perform vocal duties, Shakary sounds more than a little like Clepsydra, but at least their debut is weaker than any of the 4 Clepsydra albums for a variety of reasons. Firstly, the most minimal trimming of excess would have shrunk it to a single CD, which is almost always a good idea. Secondly, the theme is overreaching to say the least, whereas those of Clepsydra tended to be more warmly human and emotional. Thirdly, with a few exceptions the additional complexity appears mostly in the form of a few instruments used more as window dressing, such as some trumpet and violin. This contributes to but does not compensate for a fourth weakness, that being in the melodies or general lack thereof. Since this was one of Clepsydra's greatest assets, it is where I find Shakary to falter the most.

Some of the opening, shorter, and more ambient tracks are of little interest, in particular "Sunset", "Pain", and "Dark Kingdom", but I suspect they will appeal to some who like less structured and more free form approaches. I just don't feel it plays to their strengths very well. The initially promising "Time Trap", sound more like Marillion than Clepsydra ever did, and this is to their detriment. At other times, such as "The First Inquisition", Shakary seems to be channeling 1970s Eloy, but not very well.

Luckily, there are many great moments in which Hoffman demonstrates the benefits he brought to Clepsydra and the loss to the group when he pursued this project. Several tracks are reminiscent of what the Swiss-Italian group produced on their excellent "More Grains of Sand", such as the crisp acoustic instrumental "Starless Nights", the lengthy "Seals" with its shifting themes and moods, and "Sentence", where Maggini weaves his plaintive magic especially in the closing sections, supported by Hoffman as well as some hypnotic keyboards. Ditto for "Babylon". The two title cuts are slices of delightful pop-prog.

A good yet flawed effort by established artists of the Swiss-Italian scene, Alya shows some potential for future improvements, but I am not sure I am sufficiently interested in tracking the rest of their career, especially given that future recordings lack Aluisio Maggini's distinctive and sensitive voice.

Report this review (#174016)
Posted Sunday, June 15, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I'm not very impressed by SHAKARY's first releasy, especially when two of the members of the band were former parts of the legendary neo prog act CLEPSYDRA...

Of course there are a lot of similarities with CLEPSYDRA such as the grandiose keyboard atmosphere and the melodic guitar lines, which were a trademark of CLEPSYDRA's sound...But there are a lot of differences too...CLEPSYDRA were flirting with AOR without never getting too close but big part of the tracks here are almost pure AOR reminding of WHITESNAKE or ROB TEPPER,a big big disappointment...The sound of the guitar is much much heavier than in CLEPSYDRA's work, I could say almost metal,and -in my opinion- doesn't fit in the neo prog style in general...But there is also some light at the end of the tunnell,as the most songs' structure is more complex and the often use of the violin adds an extra prog flavor to the band's sound...

I would recommend this album mostly to those who haven't ever heard any of CLEPSYDRA's album, this one could be a really good addition to their collection...For fans of CLEPSYDRA (and I'm one of them too) this should come rather as a disappointment as all of CLEPSYDRA's albums stand higher this one...That doesn't mean that this is a bad disc but I would recommend you to give it a listen first before buying...I'm looking forward to listen to their next effort for safer conclusions...Up to 3 stars for now...

Report this review (#176547)
Posted Friday, July 11, 2008 | Review Permalink

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