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5 stars Shamall is the project of Norbert Krüler, a German musician who has been producing and releasing progressive music of various styles under this name for more than 30 years. Indeed Shamall has experienced different emphases in his music until today. Starting with two disco productions in the early 80's, he quickly turned - despite great success - to the growing alternative electronic scene and released electronic music in all its facets over a decade From this time he released 7 albums.

From the year 2000 on Shamall turned to the theme Krautrock/Progressive Rock. Initially a bit bumpy, he quickly created his own unique style, which became his future trademark starting with the album "Who Do They Think They Are" in 2003. Since the formation of the band under the leadership of this man, 19 albums have been produced, almost all are listed in the discography of

But to place Shamall in the right context, you have to know that Krueler, besides his musical ambitions, was a DJ in a big German rock club for almost 40 years. The experiences he gained there over decades are often reflected in the arrangements of some of his compositions, which leads to the fact that in some of his works you get the feeling to hear reminiscences of bands from his daily business as a rock DJ or from his personal favourites, which sometimes leads to surprises.

Personally, I have always found this refreshing, because it ensured that the music had a logical structure and that you could dive into the world of Shamall's music without strain.

Beat counters can now stop reading at this place. At no point Shamall tries to be in competition with more abstract prog bands. Instead it seems that space and atmosphere are more important to him and the focus of his music is on heart and soul. For all those who feel comfortable in the world of Pink Floyd, Alan Parsons, Jean Michel Jarre, the German band Eloy or other comparable bands or even have an open ear for melodic neo-prog, Shamall is a real goldmine.

Also on the new Shamall album "Schizophrenia" at first a light "Jean Michel Jarre meets Eloy meets Pink Floyd" feeling comes up again. But already after less than 3 minutes the first impression is dynamically blown away. At this point the title theme already shows that Shamall is breaking new ground.

Guitar riffs that you only know from the heavier kind of music, followed by a powerful and loud vocal chorus make you listen attentively. For a moment you think you are dealing with a hard rock album. At this point you notice for the first time that the drama of Shamall has increased enormously. But - without being unfaithful to the Shamall style I love. The album now has my full attention.

But apart from the charming light German accent in the English vocals as we know it from Eloy and other German bands, the musical performance is much more professional and fresh.

However! Without a doubt, this album is also characterized by a great atmosphere. Shamall's obvious passion for bands like Pink Floyd, Alan Parsons or Jean Michel Jarre is still omnipresent in many places. Especially these atmospheric moments make me curious about what is coming next. And Shamall understands perfectly to wait for the right moment when you feel "Now it could go on".

Besides the already mentioned impressive atmospheric passages, this double CD is in large parts more rockin' than any of the previous Shamall releases. The guitar solos are harder and more playful. With pieces like "It's an inconvenient Truth part 1 and 2" you get to hear several sweeping guitar solos, so you might think you're dealing with guitarists like Arjen Lucassen, Eddie Van Halen or Adrian Vandenberg. At this point guitarist Matthias Mehrtens, Shamall's companion for decades, does a hell of a job - just brilliant. I am thrilled by the interesting mixture of this album. Also the guitar riffs have become harder, and that without letting the overall concept appear somehow inharmonic. On none of the previously released albums by Shamall this balancing act has succeeded so perfectly.

Especially the vocals on this new album are very well done. Both male and female voices understand how to convince. Mighty choirs and orchestras cause goose bumps. They perfectly complete harmoniously the music and create interesting contrasts in some places.

Similar to many of Shamall's previous albums, enough space was created between the vocal sections for fantastic and magnificent keyboard solos, which always impressively complement and emphasize the mood of the respective song. A few titles are beautifully underlined by soulful piano and saxophone solos. Two soulful ballads, which certainly wouldn't necessarily stand up to the regulations of prog, round off the double CD, but without reducing the quality of the whole work.

To me personally, especially outstanding are tracks like the 19 minutes long album theme "Schizophrenia", "Man in the mirror", "Voices of Yonder", "Foolin' myself", "the shape of things to come" (love the solopart here!!! ) , "all the answers", "Supernatural Dream", which is sung magically by the female singer Anke Ullrich, and of course in particular "world of emotions", the first almost 12 minutes long instrumental track on the second CD. Other titles give the impression to be the intro for the next theme, whereas other songs like "We are all in the same boat" or "Eyes Of A stranger" lighten up the whole work in a relaxed way. Because the titles all merge into each other without a break you get the feeling to be on a journey. In my opinion all instruments on the whole album are played with passion and dedication. So I was not bored at any time.

You have to take your time with Shamall's new release. I like that there are still bands out there who develop themselves and stay true to their style. - whose pieces are not cut to 4-7 minutes in a contemporary way, just because many listeners are no longer willing to listen to music with the necessary patience. The new Shamall album gives reason to suppose that the artists work out a theme for as long as they think they have something to say about it. The whole work is for me the best ever Album produced by Shamall mastermind Norbert Krueler. Soundwise it is beyond any doubt. More modern, demanding and powerful, it beats its predecessors, and also many other CDs I have bought recently. The moderate drumming criticized on earlier Shamall releases seems to be a thing of the past. So the new work knows to convince especially at this point, too.

Even after almost 35 years this album shows no signs of fatigue of the artists. 150 minutes of "music I love" makes me well equipped for the next time and I have another 5 star treasure in my CD collection. The artwork of this album is not part of the music. Nevertheless! It makes the difference between digital downloads and the physical original. Just to say one sentence about it. It is extraordinary - the hammer par excellence. I haven't seen such an impressive work in a long time and I really would have to search very long on the shelf to find something comparable. The DigiPack alone shows how seriously Shamall takes his work For me a "Must Have" and an essential masterpiece for every melodic prog collection. -my humble opinion-

Report this review (#2299607)
Posted Wednesday, December 25, 2019 | Review Permalink
5 stars In my passion as a fan of progressive music, I have rarely seen a band surprising me with a new album that could compete with one of their earlier releases, even after decades. Indeed! Pink Floyd was one of those bands. Of course also Porcupine Tree and later Steven Wilson as soloist. As well as Anathema, Riverside and Pineapple Thief. But of course all this still has to do with the personal taste of each listener. That's how I feel with the German project SHAMALL, which is about the multi-instrumentalist Norbert Krüler. Starting out as a DJ, he quickly discovered his passion for composing and producing his own music and created his own corner in progressive rock with friends. I have to say now that I own all his albums and therefore I have followed the career and development of this artist for a long time. But this is another story. Anyway, for me personally it is clear that already the previous album "Turn Off" is a must in every CD collection. The same can be said of his latest work "Schizophrenia".

"Schizophrenia" is the title of SHAMALL's latest album, and the main theme deals with the passive and ignorant attitude of a world that is isolating itself more and more. A world which notices the growing problems but reacts indifferently and pretends it's none of their business. Many different interpretations of the theme are sung in 12 of 22 Songs by Norbert Krüler and Anke Ullrich, who is now singing on the meanwhile third album, professionally and passionately, sometimes demanding and aggressive. The other titles - and these are a large part of this release - consist of instrumental tracks, elaborate intros and interludes. Exceptionally versatile guitar solos by guitarist Matthias Mehrtens are in no way inferior to the playful keyboard solos in length, versatility and playing quality. Solos that often develop into fireworks and are stopped by enormous brass instruments. The passion and expression of this release is extraordinary, but at this point i do not want to make a detailed review of the individual tracks, because everybody feels that differently. That's why I concentrate myself mainly on the playful and sound-technical changes - that I think should be mentioned - in relation to the previous albums. First of all the style hasn't changed. For me, thank god !!! and the quality of the sound is exceptionally good. I love this kind of music. For me this Album is more sophisticated and thrilling. Krüler knows how to capture his view and emotions in music. And once again uncompromisingly, as if there was only his feeling and not the expectations of his listeners, he presents us a work that we have to like as it is. His undying preference for Moog sounds is all around us and the (once again) double album doesn't lack epic and pathos either. A lot of his tracks have an epic length combined, as if we had nothing else to do but listening to Shamall. If you would compare Shamall with a feature film or TV series, then Shamall would be the "Game of Thrones" type. Unimpressed by whether anyone could get bored, Norbert Krüler, with the help of his long-time companions, passionately rolls out what he thinks he has to tell. With a total length of 150 minutes, you need timeI to enjoy this album. I for my part did it and i love it

Report this review (#2303105)
Posted Wednesday, January 1, 2020 | Review Permalink
4 stars The name Shamall is not new to me. But whenever I was told that it is electronic music, my interest to continue working with them felt asleep. I am really not a fan of electronic music. Everything is too similar to me, not enough power in it. But with Shamall I was wrong. And I have no problem admitting it. At a party at a friend's house I got in touch with Shamall by chance. We all know this. There's a lot of talking and laughing, but in between there are moments of silence when no one says anything and you listen to the music in the background. And it was this short silence that suddenly built up something musically powerful in the room, which I couldn't assign at first. At that time i didn't know, but after a short question who that is,I got a short answer: "This is the new Shamall! I was surprised, I could not find the newage and electronic music in this exciting music, which immediately fascinated me. "This is Schizophrenia, the title track of the new Shamall" my buddy shouted to me "That rocks, dude, wah" Sure, there were some electronic parts, between or at the end of several songs. But I have to say - that already rocked! And there was so much more than I expected. Electronic music as intro to increase the tension for the next track. Room filling soundscapes, which were used to build up the following drama. Almost behind every song there were these magical, thrilling, often pulsating, resting phases, which only increased the expectations for the next song. Really very clever made. Sometimes punchy, sometimes hard or just great songs that started with acoustic guitars to turn later into crazy rocking great goose bumps songs. The music was professional and catching, and you could hear that the musicians were passionate about what they were doing. At least that was my first impression. What you just could perceive with the giggling from the background at a party. Next, I went to YouTube to get more info about Shamall, and was surprised what I found there. Actually Shamall had an electronic past and I even knew one song. They had made such a dull disco cracker in the 80s, which I didn't like at all. However, that must have been changed around the turn of the millennium over Krautrock into all kinds of Rock and Prog Styles. I listened to the music available at YouToube and was really impressed. "Respect! - I thought to myself - and I slept through all this?" . The Youtubeclips gave enough information to me to order the Schizophrenia Album by Shamall straightaway. A few days later, the postman brought me an incredibly impressive double CD digipack. The cover alone is already amazing and made me hungry for more. What more can I say? The album is running up and down in my CD player for days now. My highlights of this gifted album are the title song "Schizophrenia" which is almost 20 minutes long, beside "All The Answers" which is really good and the singer gives his best. The solo part in the song is too short for a bite. But for this I get fully satisfied in my absolute favourite tracks "It's An inconvenient Truth part I and II" and "the shape of things to come", and of course §World Of Emotions", a 12 minute long instrumental track on the second CD of the Album. Unbelievable guitar solos - Wow! And also megalong, as you rarely hear it these days. And even the synthesizer solos I like very much. Hammerstrong album! Also the other songs are very good, because somehow everything goes together as if there was only one song with different highs and lows. If you sit down and chill out a little bit and listen concentrated to the music, you'll soon notice that the band has fun at their work. They don't seem to be interested in becoming the kings of any particular style of music, and they don't seem to be interested in making music just for money. Otherwise they would probably do something different than pieces with a length between 10 and 20 minutes. This is definitely pure passion. And what you should also mention is that the Schizophrenia album sounds great. I haven't heard something so noble for a long time. You can hear it in every song. If I should describe the music now I automatically think of rock and prog bands from the past. Somehow it reminds me of the 80s, when prog rock was something natural with electronic equipment. Caravan, Camel, Alan Parsons, Manfred Man, King Crimson and of course a lot of Eloy-like and Pink Floyd send their regards. A mega-bombastic album - like I haven't heard one for a long time. An absolute must buy for everyone who likes to listen to today's music as much as I do, but where you can somehow find your whole life again.
Report this review (#2306679)
Posted Tuesday, January 14, 2020 | Review Permalink
3 stars Shamall is the project of German music producer, DJ and multi-instrumentalist Norbert Krueler. The album 'Schizophrenia' offers what amount to two double LP's of music that indeed is prog-related, but only by reference in my opinion. The music of Shamall aims to create dark electronic music in de vain of the Blade Runner soundtrack, but less condensed to its most pivotal moments. In stead this record sounds like a long electronic jam with some interwoven 'songy' parts. The pallet is that of modern electronic music (including movie soundtrack electronics), lot's of mid-paced drumming (also electronic) and some echoey rock guitars. The link to the neo-progressive genre - that I can't separate from its emotive songwriting - is than a bit of stretch in my opinion. The male vocals by Krueler are competent and often mixed like Queen's Innuendo album. The three vocal performances of Anke Ullrich are a welcome change, also a gifted singer with her own style. The album's main defining attribute seems to be its running time and uninterrupted flow, which allows for full immersion in the music. The album would also do a fine job as background noise. The production by Norber Krueler is flawless, with a full-bodied sound and a pleasant mix.

Whilst everything on this record is just fine, I fail to see how such an amount of tracks that more or less sound the same (sound pallet, rhythm, tempo, minor key, lyrical theme) could impress listeners of the progressive all that much. To me this music sounds like a very well made copy of a copy of a copy of something. Furthermore, he lyrical themes of schizophrenia and inconvenient truths do become a bit of a drag. Now, there's no need to rate anything less then a three star rating for a professional album that obviously people here are enjoying - but I would definitively not recommend this to listeners of neo-prog.

Report this review (#2307129)
Posted Thursday, January 16, 2020 | Review Permalink
5 stars It just needs only a few words to explain what I like so much about the new Shamall "Schizophrenia". First of all, it is a high-quality production, in which the musical and technical realization of the theme as well as the cover design and content is more than excellent. The exceptionally good sound of this musical work has already been mentioned in other reviews here. The music has a very special character, which in no way tries to lean on anyone else today. All protagonists, and here I would like to mention not only the initiator of the project, the German multi-instrumentalist Norbert Krüler, do a very professional job. Especially Shamall's long-time companion - guitarist Matthias Mehrtens - shows once again how his guitar playing can strengthen songs in most different facets. Also female singer Anke Ullrich, who does extraordinary things with her voice in three songs which apparently were written especially for her, knows how to convince. A trio that perfectly complements each other and provides the necessary variety without endangering the harmony of the whole. Lovingly elaborated, the comprehensive work of these two CDs accompanies me on a harmonically and melodically exciting journey. Contrary to the trend, Shamall does not care about the length of a song or even the duration of a solo. With the heart of a Rick Wright he plays everything he likes on his keys. In every imaginable length. If you like casual, fresh compositions with the taste of a time travel through 40 years of prog/rock and electronic music, and if you don't have a problem with long albums, you won't get passed this work. "Schizophrenia" is not an "I have to deliver" album. Shamall has been working on this album for six years. So it's not hard for me to listen to his work for 150 minutes to honour it. - And this for weeks with growing enthusiasm.
Report this review (#2314531)
Posted Monday, February 10, 2020 | Review Permalink
4 stars Norbert Krueler has been known in Germany as a DJ since the 1980s. I stumbled upon his latest baby just recently and I found myself candid, young and dazed it must be said in front of such a successful album. This double album concept and very long, more than 150 minutes can be heard in 2 parts so as not to hit your ears too much; however, everything is good in it, even very good. The atmospheres bloom well the neo-prog style SYLVAN'S with long ballads interspersed with various solos. The more distant sound would come from the long compositions of MARILLION, but it must be added more electric atmospheres, (its original universe I think!). In fact, the world of SHAMALL even comes to the electro-pop sounds at ERA or ENIGMA . In fact, it is indeed a synthesis of these two currents that you may pleasantly hear on this album; some titles are more nervous, others are developing ambient, see with a few touches of spleen , but it is above all the big flights of the neo-prog current that hold the top of the bill. I hope you will think a little of me who made you want to swallow yourself in a good chair, as one of my acquaintances did only a few months ago; you can always listen to lively, singular and very enriching creations these days!

Report this review (#2352308)
Posted Saturday, April 18, 2020 | Review Permalink
3 stars Quite a difficult album to judge. Although the craftsmanship is clearly very good, to me its pretty much the same base, tempo, song repeated over and over again for two and a half hours, with some minor variations in vocals and guitar/piano. It's a programmed album, and I suspect there's been an awful lot of copy and paste going on. A track by track review would be pretty pointless. I would recommend listening to Schizophrenia, and Supernatural Dream. Between these two tracks you've sampled the whole album and can make a judgement from there. Personally, I thought they were very good tracks. However it gets a bit boring when every track in between and after follows exactly the same mid-speed drumming and rhythm. Its decent as a soundtrack, or as background noise but that's it. One of those albums that it almost seems impossible to me how you could give it any more or less than three stars, as something that's well put together and isn't offensive to the ears, but offers zero wow factor.
Report this review (#2497748)
Posted Thursday, January 28, 2021 | Review Permalink

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