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SMAK

Jazz Rock/Fusion • Yugoslavia


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Smak biography
SMAK was formed 1971 in Kragujevac, the present Serbia and Montenegro, by a guitar virtuoso Radomir MIHAJLOVIC nicknamed "Tocak" (the Wheel). The first stable line-up was assembled in late 1974 including Slobodan Stojanovic (drums), Zoran Milanovic (bass), Boris Arandjelovic (vocals) and Lazar RISTOVSKI (keyboards). During 1977-78 Ristovski was replaced by first Miki PETKOVSKI and then by Tibor Levay on keyboards, while in the period 1979-81 Dado Topic (ex TIME, KORNI GRUPA) collaborated with SMAK as producer and occasional guest vocalist before the band broke-up in late 1981. The original line-up gathered again in 1986 with a new keyboardist Milan Djurdjevic, but after the release of one LP they split again. The third comeback of SMAK happened in 1992 with Ristovski again as a member, when they mostly played concerts in Serbia and issued a live album. Finally, in 1994 SMAK re-appeared again, this time along with Tocak and Stojanovic they added younger musicians: Dejan Stojanovic (second drum kit), Dejan Najdanovic (vocals), Vlado Samardzic (bass) and Milan Milosavljevic (guitar).

SMAK was celebrated for Tocak's virtuosity in guitar playing, modelled on J. Hendrix and J. Page style, and for interesting, if not always successful, fusion of hard rock, prog rock, jazz rock with strong blues backing, with Arandjelovic's falsetto vocal often used as an instrument rather than singing. "Ulazak u harem", a folk-inspired instrumental issued as hit-single in 1975, showcased Tocak as one of the guitar-heros of ex-Yugoslavian music scene of the 1970s, while albums "Crna dama" ("Black Lady") and "Stranice naseg vremena" ("The Pages of Our Time") were highly celebrated among prog fans and were even released in English versions for the Western market. Their reunion, from the second half of 1980s onward, turned the musical direction of the band into less-inspired mainstream hard rock, abandoning any prog elements. As a comparison, one can mention similarities in style with artists such as DEEP PURPLE, TASTE, TRAFFIC, DOOBIE BROTHERS, SANTANA, LEB I SOL.

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Buy SMAK Music


Black LadyBlack Lady
Fantasy
Vinyl$19.99
$13.95 (used)
Crna DamaCrna Dama
Import
PGP RTS
Audio CD$24.99 (used)
SmakSmak
Import
Eastern Time
Audio CD$21.99
Smak / Rock To The RhythmSmak / Rock To The Rhythm
Rude Boy
Vinyl$8.34 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
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SMAK shows & tickets


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SMAK discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

SMAK top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.32 | 18 ratings
Smak
1975
4.23 | 38 ratings
Crna Dama
1977
4.08 | 16 ratings
Stranice Naseg Vremena
1978
3.92 | 5 ratings
Black Lady
1978
2.13 | 5 ratings
Dab In The Middle
1978
1.38 | 7 ratings
Rock Cirkus
1980
4.17 | 15 ratings
Zasto Ne Volim Sneg
1981
1.28 | 6 ratings
Smak '86
1986
3.00 | 7 ratings
Bioskop Fox
1995
2.97 | 7 ratings
Egregor
1999

SMAK Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.67 | 5 ratings
odLIVEno
1992
3.91 | 5 ratings
Live Without Audience
1997
3.59 | 4 ratings
3. Mart 2000. Kragujevac Klub
2002

SMAK Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

SMAK Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.56 | 5 ratings
Ulazak U Harem - Plava Pesma
1977
3.10 | 2 ratings
Retrospektiva
1992
3.42 | 5 ratings
The Best Of Smak
1996
3.05 | 3 ratings
Star? Mlad. Vecan?*
1996
2.27 | 3 ratings
Istorija
2001

SMAK Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.50 | 2 ratings
Zivim... Biska 13
1974
3.50 | 2 ratings
Ulazak u Harem / Sto Ptica
1975
3.50 | 2 ratings
Ulazak u Harem / Epitaf
1975
3.67 | 3 ratings
Ljudi, Nije Fer
1976
3.17 | 5 ratings
Satelit
1976
3.50 | 2 ratings
Crna Dama (single)
1977
3.50 | 2 ratings
'Alo
1977
3.67 | 3 ratings
Smak Super 45
1978
3.33 | 3 ratings
Na Balkanu
1979
2.67 | 3 ratings
Rock Cirkus (single)
1980

SMAK Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Smak by SMAK album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.32 | 18 ratings

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Smak
Smak Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars A very good and popular group from Kragujevac, Serbia, originally named Gentry and formed around friends Radomir Mihajlović Točak (guitars) and Slobodan Stojanovic Kepa (drums).Next to join the group were bassist Zoran Milanovic and singer Slobodan "Koma" Kominac, while the line-up was completed with Misa Nikolic on Hammond organ.After kicking off as a cover band, the first original tracks brought and a change of name to Smak.Several line-up changes and a couple of short breaks later, while struggling to find a steady fan base, only Mihajlovic, Milanovic and Stojanovic remained from the original core, which by 1974 included Boris Aranđelović on vocals and Laza Ristovski on keyboards.A far better period followed with the first single of the group, lives next to Bijelo Dugme and Pop Masina, while they opened for Deep Purple during their venue in Belgrade in March 1975.Signed by ZKP RTLJ, they recorded a couple of more singles and their self-titled debut saw the light in the second half of 1975.

The diversity and talent of the group becomes clear already during the first few songs.While not very proggy, the tracks of the opening side offer inspiring, melodic and well-executed compositions with Classic Rock, Blues and psychedelic influences, highlighted by Mihajlovic'es incredible guitar workouts and Arandelovic'es crystalline voice.Keyboards help a lot by adding an excellent depth with mostly some great organ work, while the second tracks features some very GENTLE GIANT-like parts on clavinet.Very important is the fact that most of these pieces contain plenty of room for instrumental exercises, while the vocal parts are absolutely harmonic and expressive.The highlight is definitely ''Biska 2'' (dating from the group's early days), where the guitar work of Mihajlovic trully shines.From the decent compositions of the first side we turn to the excellence of the sidelong track ''Put od balona'', clocking at 19 minutes and covering the whole flipside.With links to the sound of TAKO and inspirations from KORNI GRUPA, this is a fantastic piece of Symphonic Rock with Folk and jazzy breaks, featuring rich instrumental themes, tightly connected movements and a well-synchronized sound overall.The psychedelic side of the group is not completely gone, but ''Put od balona'' is definitely built on keyboards to a higher deegree, twisting from smooth, melodic lines with symphonic leanings to more frenetic Fusion-like textures with impressive guitar solos and a loose attitude as a whole.Among the very best epics of ex-Yugoslavian Progressive Rock.

There is a CD reissue around by ZKP RTLJ, featuring material composed for the early and later singles of Smak along with a rock interpretation of a Scopian Folk song.Influenced by acts such as DEEP PURPLE and JIMI HENDRIX, these tracks move on a Heavy/Psych/Blues Rock field with edgy guitar and organ parts, but melody is always present.''Zajdi, zajdi'' though, the aforementioned Folk piece, is more than impressive.Based on the melancholic guitar of Mihajlovic and the atmospheric synthesizers, this ends up to be a highlight of Smak's early recordings and a good reason to chase the reissue.

A really nice album, among the goodies of Serbian Prog.The sidelong track alone deserves your attention, but the rest of the material is also good, albeit a bit far from the exceptional style of ''Put od balona''.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

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 Live Without Audience by SMAK album cover Live, 1997
3.91 | 5 ratings

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Live Without Audience
Smak Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by BORA

3 stars So near - yet so far...

In recent months, I've checked out a handful of SMAK albums. Most of them are showing definite talent and if one grew up with the band, the support would be understandable. Definitely not Pop. Jazz-Rock it isn't either, more like somewhat proggy Rock.

In my search for a missing element I've turned to this live performance, hoping that the band may be able to stretch out somewhat and make me persevere with them as a result.

Well, not much luck. here either. Well, not bad at all, but the odd nod towards Hendrix - bordering on plagiarism - the drum solo, still won't fill that vacuum. This band just refuses to "swing" and the otherwise notable abilities remain pretty much wasted as such. I am left with the impression of buttered bread with the bread missing.

It's hard for me to tell good musicians that they underperform, but equally, if they fail to create the excitement, I am not the one responsible for that.

A potentially 4-5 star band siting on a solid 3. A bit of a loss, but some rather barefoot Gospel elements just won't cut the mustard. Even Van Morrison - someone I am not the least interested in - does a "better" job at that.

No, I don't assume that SMAK are conscious of doing heaps of Gospel, but to class them here as Jazz-Rock/Fusion is rather erroneous. Collaborators please take note.

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 Ulazak U Harem - Plava Pesma by SMAK album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1977
3.56 | 5 ratings

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Ulazak U Harem - Plava Pesma
Smak Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This is a compilation or greatest hits album I guess you could say put out by their previous label to capitalize on the success of SMAK's second album. As Seyo mentions they used songs from the debut along with tracks from early EPs and singles. This is very much hit and miss for me and mostly the latter.

"Ulazak U Harem" is one of two tracks that I really enjoy. We get a steady beat with the guitar playing over top. This song would show up on their excellent third album. "Sumadijski Blues" is a smoldering blues number and it's a slow burner folks with vocals. Wyatt-like vocal melodies before 4 minutes as well. "El Dumo" is a ballad- like track with floating organ and vocals. Tasteful guitar 2 minutes in that goes on and on. "Mracni Mol" was on their debut and we get some raunchy guitar and passionate vocals here. "Oro" is a short uptempo instrumental with some good drum work.

"Plava Posma" is from their classic "Crna Dama" record and my other favourite. Just a beautiful track. "Ljudi Nije Fer" has strummed guitar as the vocals join in. A beat with organ follows as vocals continue. "Perle" is from the debut album. The guitar makes a noise as the vocals and a beat join in after a minute. Not a fan really. "Slikar Sa Pikadlija" is catchy with vocals and we get a good guitar solo before 2 minutes. "Satelit" is a commercial sounding song. Very catchy with vocals.

3 stars for this one and a good snapshot of their beginnings.

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 Zasto Ne Volim Sneg by SMAK album cover Studio Album, 1981
4.17 | 15 ratings

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Zasto Ne Volim Sneg
Smak Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars As Seyo mentions in his review the band had decided to call it quits after the disappointment of the previous album "Rock Cirkus" but Radomir the guitarist wanted to make one last record with the guys and put it out as a solo album under his name. This was to be a tribute to his brother who had passed away. Well the label insisted that it be put out under the SMAK name and that wasn't such a bad thing anyway because this album showed the fans that they still had it. Yes this is dark and powerful. A thing of beauty really.

"Juzni Voz" opens with organ then blazing outbursts of guitar and sounds hit us then here we go ! An absolute rip snorter as these guys set the soundscape on fire. Vocals before 1 1/2 minutes as we get more of a DEEP PURPLE feel the rest of the way. "Zajdi, Zajdi" opens with the organ floating in as the guitar starts to solo tastefully. Drums after a minute beat slowly. "Talisman" is a top three. This sounds so good ! The drumming and guitar especially. Nasty organ a minute in and the synths start to come and go. Such a powerful song. "Zasto Ne Volim Sneg" is another top three and it opens with atmosphere as sounds build to a powerful soundscape. A calm with vocals a minute in. Contrasts will continue. Amazing !

"Balet" opens with killer bas as sounds come and go. The keyboards and bass really impress. About halfway through the track the intensity starts to build. "Maht Pustinja" is my other top three. An excellent instrumental display early then it kicks in hard before 2 minutes. The guitar then solos as it settles back some. It kicks in again before 5 minutes. It settles again after 7 minutes and check out the guitar and bass ! The intensity is building again. What a song ! "Nebeski Splav" opens with floating organ as tasteful guitar then drums roll in. Vocals follow and it turns intense later on.

With three killer albums to their credit SMAK are my favourite band from Yugoslavia. A must have.

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 Smak by SMAK album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.32 | 18 ratings

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Smak
Smak Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This is SMAK's debut from 1975 and we get a lot of bluesy guitar and a side long suite. This is a mixed bag for me really with two outstanding tracks while the rest is average at best. Their next two albums were outstanding though.

"Perle" is all about the guitar early on. Nice. Vocals and drums after a minute. Not a big fan of this. Keys end it. "Mracni Mol" is nice and heavy as the vocals join in. This is pretty good. "Blues U Parku" is a fantastic track and a top two for me. The guitar is just so impressive early on. When it stops the vocals and a beat take over and this contrast will continue throughout. The guitar is killer. "Biska" is an instrumental and my other top two. Great sounding guitar to start then it changes style. Organ after 2 minutes.

"Put Od Balona (Biska 20)" is the 19 minute closer. To be honest this song doesn't do much for me. Not a lot going on until the organ and drums become more prominant before 5 1/2 minutes. Guitar before 7 1/2 minutes. It lightens again before 13 minutes then the organ comes in with power. Guitar takes the lead then the organ again 16 minutes in. More guitar a minute later. The last part of this suite is much better.

So a good album that pales when compared to their next two.

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 3. Mart 2000. Kragujevac Klub  by SMAK album cover Live, 2002
3.59 | 4 ratings

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3. Mart 2000. Kragujevac Klub
Smak Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Seyo
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars This live album was recorded after SMAK's last studio effort "Egregor" (1999) with the band in the same line-up. While the musical performance of Tocak and his company is good as ever, Najdanovic's singing is not always on the satisfactory level. His strong baritone is good on the songs from recent albums where he participated in studio, but on many old songs he simply cannot cope with higher octaves set by the original singer Boris Arandjelovic's high-pitched tenor. This is specially evident on their most popular tracks - "Daire", "Bluz u parku" and "Crna dama". On top of that, these new arrangements without keyboards are taking away some crucial, recognizable elements from these songs. However, Najdanovic sound quite good in two oldies: "Ljudi nije fer" and "Juzni voz". The latter is unfortunately too short here, seemingly developed as extension of unnecessarily long drum solo by Stojanovic family. This is decent concert performance by SMAK latest line-up but I cannot say I enjoyed too much listening this.

PERSONAL RATING: 2,5/5

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 Retrospektiva by SMAK album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1992
3.10 | 2 ratings

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Retrospektiva
Smak Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Seyo
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars This retrospective collection of SMAK songs was issued during the brief reunion of the original line-up in 1992. First three tracks were taken from their most popular and acclaimed album "Crna dama" (1977) while each remaining track represented one of their successive albums or singles in the period from 1978 to 1986.

Regarding the selection, this LP acts as a sort of "greatest hits" compilation and therefore might be very useful for people not familiar with SMAK works. Single disc compilations are sometimes prone to suffer from lack of comprehensiveness, superficiality and subjectivity on the part of compilers, who are usually led by the commercial impact or chart position of the songs concerned, so SMAK's "Retrospective" is no exception. But, if you really want to just hear some good and popular hits by this band in order to get a sense of their style and to have it on one LP record, this would serve you well. Mind you, however, that many excellent, more progressive and hard-edged jazz-fusion tracks are not included here.

PERSONAL RATING: 2,5/5

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 Stranice Naseg Vremena by SMAK album cover Studio Album, 1978
4.08 | 16 ratings

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Stranice Naseg Vremena
Smak Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Without question this is one of the best bands i've heard from the former Yugoslavia.Their previous album "Crna Dama" blew me away and while this one isn't nearly as good it's a solid 4 star album regardless.

"Tendzi-Tandzi" has a good beat with guitar then the vocals arrive before a minute. Catchy stuff. "Povedi Me S Njim" is mellow with reserved vocals to start. It picks up quickly as bass and drums join in. It's quite funky when the vocals stop.They return later. "Maht Tema" opens with atmosphere as guitar, bass and drums join in and build.The guitar is soloing over top 2 minutes in then it settles with atmosphere like the intro as themes are repeated.This is a great sounding instrumental.

"The Pages Of Our Time" is ballad-like with some organ and reserved vocals but it's still good. I like the guitar solo around 4 minutes to end it. "Nebo Je Samo Drum Bez Dna" features electric piano, drums and atmosphere then it kicks in.Vocals before a minute. Good song. "Ulazak U Harem" opens with atmosphere then the guitar comes exploding in before a minute with drums and bass in tow. This is uptempo as well. "Ponocni Lovac / Biska 18" is the over 11 minute closer. A funky rhythm early then vocals come in after a minute. An uptempo section is led by synths then the guitar takes over leading. Nice. Vocals are back after 4 minutes.The vocal melodies and drums before 8 minutes sound so good. It's building. A change once again follows.

I would say this is more fusiony (is that a word?) than the previous album but the songs aren't as strong.

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 Crna Dama by SMAK album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.23 | 38 ratings

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Crna Dama
Smak Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Love at first listen my friends. SMAK were a band from Yugoslavia who boasted an amazing guitarist but the key on this album for me are the incredible songs. I really like the vocalist too, in fact everything about this recording just does it for me.

"Crna Dama" is a top three song for me,and check out the intro here. It then kicks in with vocals and it's quite catchy too. Good contrasts here between the laid back sections and the uptempo passages. A nice guitar solo before 2 1/2 minutes. "Stvar Ljubavi" is a touching and meaningful track.This guy can sing and he has that RPI style of singing too. Love the instrumental section after 2 1/2 minutes as the guitar solos tastefully and the synths, drums, piano and bass continue.The vocals are back before 4 minutes. "Domaci Zadatak" kicks in fairly quickly to an uptempo soundscape.This really reminds me of KRAAN and is the most JRF tune on here. Some nice bass before 2 1/2 minutes then the synths lead. Drums are up next leading the way until after 5 1/2 minutes when the song kicks back in. Lots of piano here.The organ then leads before synths come in to end it.

"Alo" has a good heavy rhythm with vocals melodies.Guitar joins in as well on this fun tune. "Tegoba" opens with piano before drums,guitar and organ join in. What an incredible sound here. Gorgeous ! Synths come to the fore 3 1/2 minutes in and the drumming is excellent. So is the guitar 6 minutes in. A top three track for sure. "Daire" features keyboards and vocals as some heavy drums, bass and guitar join in. "Plava Pesma" has this classical sounding intro and outro. In between it starts first with some steller guitar followed by the vocals. Man he sings so well. The guitar is back after 2 minutes. So good. Some nice drumming late. A moving track.

The best album i've heard so far from Yugoslavia.This will be hard to top with that emotional element that is important to me coming into play throughout.

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 Smak by SMAK album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.32 | 18 ratings

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Smak
Smak Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by In the Flesh?

4 stars Though essentially not the best SMAK album (the following Crna Dama could take that title), this one is still my favourite. It blends various music styles into one. There's blues, jazz-rock, even hard rock at times. Of course, the most significant thing in the band's sound is the guitar. R. M. Tocak, easily one of the best and most original guitarists in former Yugoslavia, plays some great riffs and solos. And there is some classical guitar parts as well. The rhythm section Milanovic - Stojanovic (nicknamed Kepa) works together perfectly, while the marvelous Lazar Ristovski provides an excellent atmosphere with his organ. Some would say, the high-pitched falsetto of Boris Arandjelovic is irritating and not understandable. My opinion is, the guy has a great voice and rules comparing to the 90's singer, Dejan Najdanovic.

The album's opener Perle (Pearls) starts with a little guitar solo, and turns into an interesting tune. The following Mracni mol could easily be the most radio-oriented here, yet it's OK. Blues u parku (Blues in the Park) is a 7-minute heavy blues thing, while Biska 2 (an instrumental) showcases one of the best Tocak's riffs. The B-side consists of only one song, the 19-minute Put od balona (Biska 20) (which means The Baloon Path!). SMAK proves their ability to improvise on this one, yet with a theme constantly recurring in the song.

All in all, one of the best debut albums in overall Yugoslavian rock'n'roll. A progressive and still hard, this is very interesting stuff.

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Thanks to Seyo for the artist addition.

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