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Shaman Elephant - Crystals CD (album) cover

CRYSTALS

Shaman Elephant

Psychedelic/Space Rock


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aapatsos
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Heavy Prog Team
4 stars The problem sometimes with gem albums is that they get released in December and thus missed off our top lists. This needs to stop. Shaman Elephant add another worthy progressive rock album to the thriving scene of Norway. If prog rock is your destination, Bergen is the place to be, not sure what's in the water over there...

The title track carries a captivating main riff that reminds me of Sabbath's most uplifting moments and despite its 8+ mins duration its a track you would easily call "trippy" and would accommodate you on your drives. 'Shaman in the Woods' plays with late 60's psychedelia on a lethargic, druidic (sic) tempo; Woodstock, elephants, purple haze and you get the picture. Sounds like a lot of Rise Above Records artists who have developed a keeness of folk and paganism. 'IAB' is back on elevated grooves with semi-distorted riffs crossing Hendrix and indie rock infused with enough keyboards to differentiate it from the typical heavy rock sound. 'Tusco' bears the highest resemblance to co-Bergeners Seven Impale; the keys and slight distortion give it away while the track floats on a delightful and melodic smooth jazzy pattern of Mahavishnu Orchestra meets The Tangent. A creeping, doomy riff appears in the first 2 minutes of 'The Jazz' before giving way to a psych mid-tempo which would make Atomic Rooster proud of their legacy. Perhaps the only complaint is the rather unecessary couple of last minutes. The closer 'Stoned Conceptions' is a heavy blues epic in the vein of Led Zeppelin (...Since I've Been Loving You...) that attempts to, but only really does, kick off with a slight quickening and guitar solo in the last 3 minutes, resembling to the opener and thus finely completes the circle.

I can't really see why a prog fan would not enjoy this groovy roadtrip; particulary recommended to fans of Seven Impale albeit with a more straightforward, heavy psych and proto-prog vibe. A band to watch.

Report this review (#1713215)
Posted Saturday, April 22, 2017 | Review Permalink
Rivertree
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
PSIKE Team & Band Submissions
4 stars Just have a look around. The Shaman Elephant seems to be a very rare species, probably only one exemplar left yet. Identically named a quartet, which has its origin in Bergen, Norway, dared to send a debut album ahead at the end of 2016, aiming to embark for a travel crossing the big waters, just like the vikings beforehand. Once Eirik Sejersted Vognstølen is singing 'What you see is what you get', and this immediately reminded me at that well-known slogan which characterized the triumphal arrival of DeskTop Publishing in the 1980s. As someone who has been present when it comes to this process, I know that all that glitter is not gold, at least not on the spot.

Hence 'But you might not get what you see' follows soon - wise chaps they are. Okay, stop, this is surely ment within another context. Anyway, what you see here is a very colourful album art. And what you get is excellent, however something hard to categorize from a stylistical point of view. Obviously heavy rock music, this featuring a proper vintage 1970s atmosphere and some alternative leanings, dynamic, powerful, but not exclusively. Coming to the exception at first - the jazzy Tusco developed to my album favourite, above all I love those beautiful piano lines. Chapeau! The following song title The Jazz then is something contradictive for sure, as there is a rather doomy start to state in best Black Sabbath tradition.

The opener Crystals now showcases the band's trademark better than anything else, psychedelic, groovy, tricky, which sums it up to song writing qualities at its best. And this will continue furthermore bar none. The extended Stoned Conceptions closes this show with proper references to Led Zeppelin and Soundgarden amongst others. So this is another grower for sure, promised ... heavy prog music with strong psych sentiment and really well put mellotron, organ and jazzy piano adds by Jonas Særsten. Similar bands in approach and quality are D'Accord, Moonwagon, Diagonal, One Of These Days. Please keep it up, folks!

Report this review (#1716270)
Posted Monday, May 1, 2017 | Review Permalink
Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Norwegian band SHAMAN ELEPHANT appeared in the vital and thriving rock scene in Bergen a few years back, and launched their career as recording artists in 2015 with the EP "More". One year later they signed to the Norwegian label Karisma Records, which released their full-length debut album "Crystals" in December 2016.

Shaman Elephant comes across as a well developed unit with solid knowledge about vintage era heavy progressive rock and psychedelic rock, and with the skill and talent to utilize a fairly liberal array of inspirations from the golden age of rock to create vibrant and emotional vintage-oriented music of this particular nature, with a touch of jazz here and there, especially in the rhythmic department, expanding the canvas a bit further than many other bands of a similar nature. All in all, this is a quality production that should appeal to both fans of vintage psychedelic rock and heavy progressive rock.

Report this review (#1724485)
Posted Sunday, May 21, 2017 | Review Permalink
4 stars Where do I put this album? Psychodelic /Space Rock or pure Hard Rock? It doesn't matter because this is simply good music from the opening bass riff. I have never heard of this group from Bergen, Norway but I am sure I'll keep them in my music sights. Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, early Pink Floyd, grunge. You name It They have it. One of my favourite albums of that vintage year. Crystals and Stoned Conceptions are my favourite tracks but I'll take any song on a Friday night to roll on my city (Culiacan). Good music. I hope They stick together cause I want to nhear where this is going.

Report this review (#2166784)
Posted Monday, March 18, 2019 | Review Permalink

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