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SHAMALL

Neo-Prog • Germany


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Shamall biography
SHAMALL is the moniker used by German composer and multi-instrumentalist Norbert Krueler, a highly influential DJ in Germany by trade and a passionate part-time musician to boot.

His first artistic creations came to be in 1986, at that time heavily tinged by various forms of mainstream electronic music. His first ventures were rather successful from a commercial point of view, but Krueler's artistic aspirations weren't totally satisfied by these first creations. As a long time fan of bands like Pink Floyd, Marillion as well as the Krautrock of his native Germany, his works slowly but steadily started incorporating more and more of these influences in his musical endeavours - with a particular emphasis on Pink Floyd.

In the last few years a somewhat stronger emphasis on acoustic instruments have been added to his musical palette, along with the inclusion of Krautrock -inspired musical elements.

Shamall official website

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SHAMALL Videos (YouTube and more)


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Buy SHAMALL Music


Turn Off 2 CDTurn Off 2 CD
CD Baby 2013
Audio CD$16.34
$25.58 (used)
Ambiguous Points of ViewAmbiguous Points of View
CD Baby 2007
Audio CD$18.32
$15.88 (used)
InfluencesInfluences
CD Baby 2012
Audio CD$13.33
$12.22 (used)
Is This Human BehaviorIs This Human Behavior
CD Baby 2010
Audio CD$17.24
$16.39 (used)
Book GenesisBook Genesis
CD Baby 2007
Audio CD$14.99
$13.33 (used)
Questions of LifeQuestions of Life
CD Baby 2008
Audio CD$14.28
$11.98 (used)
Who Do They Think They AreWho Do They Think They Are
CD Baby 2007
Audio CD$15.97
$13.98 (used)
Feeling Like a StrangerFeeling Like a Stranger
CD Baby 2012
Audio CD$10.99
$65.92 (used)
Collector's ItemsCollector's Items
CD Baby 2012
Audio CD$10.99
$73.02 (used)
Collector's Items 1986-93Collector's Items 1986-93
Import
Mauso 1994
Audio CD$49.98
$7.08 (used)
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SHAMALL shows & tickets


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SHAMALL discography


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

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

3.53 | 34 ratings
Journey to a Nightmare
1989
2.63 | 30 ratings
Moments of Illusion
1990
2.00 | 33 ratings
Mirror to Eternity
1993
2.67 | 34 ratings
In Search of Precision
1994
2.63 | 32 ratings
This Island Earth
1997
2.91 | 34 ratings
Influences
1999
3.48 | 48 ratings
The Book Genesis
2001
4.10 | 52 ratings
Who Do They Think They Are
2003
4.38 | 66 ratings
Ambigious Points of View
2006
4.14 | 57 ratings
Questions of Life
2008
4.24 | 92 ratings
Is This Human Behaviour?
2009
4.09 | 142 ratings
Turn Off
2013

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

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

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

1.63 | 13 ratings
Collector's item (1986-1993)
1993
3.50 | 4 ratings
Timeless Journey Vol. I
2007
3.25 | 4 ratings
Timeless Journey Vol. II
2007
3.33 | 3 ratings
Timeless Journey Vol. III
2007
3.33 | 3 ratings
Timeless Journey Vol. IV
2007
3.33 | 6 ratings
Feeling Like A Stranger ~ The Whole Trip ~
2010

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

2.00 | 3 ratings
My Dream
1986
2.33 | 3 ratings
Feeling Like a Stranger
1988

SHAMALL Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Is This Human Behaviour? by SHAMALL album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.24 | 92 ratings

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Is This Human Behaviour?
Shamall Neo-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Sounding for all the world like a full band effort, Shamall's Is This Human Behaviour? is in fact the product of one man - multi-instrumentalist Norbert Krueler. Krueler isn't so hot when it comes to vocals, which prove to be his Achilles heel on this recording which prevents it from aspiring to the absolute highest ratings, but at the same time it's a suitable match for the Eloy- like neo-prog space rock you get here (since I've always thought Eloy were never especially brilliant on the vocals front and his performance here does sound rather Eloy-ish). It's a long, epic album and risks outstaying its welcome at points, but it just about won me over by the end.

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 Turn Off by SHAMALL album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.09 | 142 ratings

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Turn Off
Shamall Neo-Prog

Review by dogprog

5 stars Shamall's "Turn Off" has blown my mind away. As a fan of everything from Pink Floyd to Camel, Steven Wilson, Ayreon to Eloy and other psychedelic stuff, I was hooked on this album from the very first moment. This is truly great prog, composed and arranged in a way that at one turn drops your jaw with unimaginable complexity, swells your heart with enlightened melody and harmony in the next, and on rare occasions churns both together in a perfect alchemy of left/right brain ecstasy. This is "Turn Off" from Shamall - an absolutely devious ocean of sound from a band that surprises me with any release again.

We like to draw comparisons for the sake of explaining something new, but while I might say "What happens if you cross Ayreon with Pink Floyd?" or "Manfred Mann with Alan Parsons"? These descriptions take away from the cohesive sound and vision that Shamall has crafted here. While you can certainly imagine any number of influences - Shamall stands alone. Shamall is an impressive "confluence of influence" which is drawing from such a diverse history yet is immediately and directly identifiable as unique.

In an epic year like 2013 that included "The Raven That Refused to Sing" from Steven Wilson, Lucassen's "Theory of everything", Riverside's "Shrine of new generation slaves" or Haken's "The Mountain", the fact that "Turn Off" is consistently in my player is another proof for its quality.

Turn Off is a neo-progressive journey meant to be listened to from the beginning. In this case "Shine a Light" which is a soft key track which reminds me of the famous playing of Rick Wright on the PF album "Wish you were here" that prepares you for the wonders to follow. The guitar part here is repeated periodically during the album's course. It's almost hymn-like. This tune leads into the emotional track "It's been a long time" which is a song with female vocals that soulfully introduce the theme of the album. The following song "Shout it out" is a straight and powerful "4/4 measure" rock track with a most impressive bassline.

During the course of "The devil never sleeps", "Never before and "Playing for the ashes" Shamall shows numerous opportunities which provide the connections between electronic music and multi-facetted progressive rock, but are under control 100% of the time as they shift styles.

Early in this album it became apparent that Shamall places heavy emphasis on smooth changes between guitar attacks and synthesizer atmospheres with long faraway keyboard solos. The melodies they come up with through their instruments are as jaw dropping as the guitar riffs and the off-the-wall keyboards. But if you think you've figured out Shamall through these previous tracks, you are mistaken, as they follow up with the spaced-out songs "Voices part I and Voices part II" This particular tracks are lyrically all about anti-nuclear energy and musically Shamall aren't afraid to test the patience of anyone without an open mind. Again with the layered vocal attack to start, the song becomes partly "floydish" with dark psychedelic elements, a sensitive female voice, a crazy bridge section, another vocal part and ends with an incredible guitar-solo. An 18 minutes track in two parts. Essential listening.

From there, Shamall aren't done showing you what they're capable of. "Too many People" is a very soulful shorter track with a beautiful saxophone solo as introduction and very emotional female vocals followed by another great floydish keyboard solo in "Too many People Part II". "So much is on the line" is the last track on the first disc of this double album which underlines Shamall's versatility and offers a lot of moments full of goosebumps.

"Diversion", "The Creeping Dead", "Reflective", "Clouds obscure the sun" and "Horrible nightmare" are an indivisible unit and definitely my favourite tracks. I love the vocals, especially the female voice in "The Creeping Dead". These tracks are completely mind-blowing and the off-the-wall work of every instrument is awesome. An absolute ingenious opus. "At the end of Time" and "The hidden enemy" show one more time again how easy it seems to be for Shamall to create uplifting songs. Starting with infernal Effects "At the end of Time" turns into an immortal tune. "The hidden enemy" has one more keyboard-solo which gets under the skin.

Close your eyes and listen to "Companion of Fortune": A firework of keys and guitars will blow your mind away once again. Rarely I've heard a thrilling guitar-solo like the one in this track. "Wounded World" seems to be the suffering sung "Outro" of "Companion of Fortune". Last but not least the title tracks "Turn Off" and "In these days" finalize this awesome double-album.

In the end, plenty of ear candy for the prog fan community, lots of sounds to discover with repeated listens, but also huge ear-worms that you will hum all day, even after listening to other albums. I can't recommend this album enough to any prog rock/neoprog or spacerock fan. This album is at the top of the heap for my alltime favs.

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 Turn Off by SHAMALL album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.09 | 142 ratings

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Turn Off
Shamall Neo-Prog

Review by Antoine

5 stars Two months ago I hadn't heard about this german band with the catchy name Shamall. Today I ordered my 8th Shamall album and what a sad moment it turned out to be that since 1986 This group exists and I had never heard a note of them. Norbert Krueler (Project leader and Production & Mixing Wizard) not only played on it, wrote it, produced & mixed it, he recorded it at his own Studio in Germany. And now it's in my current top 10. The musical style of Shamall changed different times over the years. Shamall growed over the years from starting as a spacey electronic music project in the mid 80's, evolving to a band who is able to create tons of ambient dreamscapes and intense psychedelic rock, often with a progressive feel and floydish atmospheres,. By the way, it takes courage and conviction for an artist to try new ideas at the risk of losing his initial audience.

Today I listen to their current release "Turn Off", scrub that, I experienced it: A sonic marvel !!!. There is a bit of all phases of Shamall's musical evolution on this new Double-CD as well. A prevailing mixture of neo-progressive rock and electronic prog enriched with sad lyrical themes guarantee an exciting journey. This music is an overall haunting work. This performance is not made for the quick dollar. - it's only to done to space out. !! Songs like "The Creeping Dead", "Shine A Light" or "Horrible Nightmare" are only a few examples for the diversity of this release. "Shout It Out" put an electronic/progressive emphasis on rock elements. Very well done !! "Voices part I" and "Voices part II" are an epic great experience on multiple levels, sounding always interesting and challenging at the same time. In a similar vein "Playing for the Ashes" continues a long line of instrumental tracks, borrowing from the electronic music side of Shamall. In this case using the silky synthesizer sounds of the Bob Moog era.. The synthesizer solo sounds of this part remind me of Manfred Mann's Earthband or Camel at their highest level. The more extended songs like "Companion of Fortune" and "Never Before" are variations on a theme, so to say based all the way back to the whole "Turn Off" topic. These songs are more structured but still give the feel of earlier, loosely constructed music. "Turn Off" is an excellent album that shows maturity, diversity and progression in a band that sometimes prefers not being considered progressive. It is sad that some listeners get fixated on conventions of certain music genres or specific areas from previous artist's albums expecting them to infinitely repeat the past while complaining that more conventional music is horrible because it's the same recycled garbage. These same listeners equate accessibility with bad music. For my personal taste any Shamall album has great moments, you really can't go wrong from "The Book Genesis" onward to "Turn Off". Even though Shamall sounds very different in comparison to other bands. There is an essence of their own unique style on every album, no matter how loosely played or tightly constructed. It should also be noted that every album Shamall has released, has presented major changes and leaps in sonic, compositional and songwriting quality. On the new album Shamall enriched the music with a most impressive female singer.

The whole production itself is brilliant, energetic and forceful. The artwork is sophisticated designed and convenient to the overall theme of "Turn Off".

Take time to enjoy this treasure. It's far away from being a kind of a cookie cutter "product"

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 Turn Off by SHAMALL album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.09 | 142 ratings

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Turn Off
Shamall Neo-Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

5 stars Shamall, the desert's hot wind. Never heard of the group, even though there have been a continuous flow of albums for over 25 years! Humbled me big time, not that I have to suffer with an inflated ego anyway (I leave that lofty claim to my nerdy friends) but just another warning that prog remains an endless barrel of discoveries and to paraphrase Bryan Ferry, 'the search for perfection is one's own predilection'. This band is led by a highly successful DJ Norbert Krueler whose personal tastes are square in the prog camp, specifically in the genre of Pink Floyd, Hawkwind, Tangerine Dream and Eloy.

With progstreaming dialed in, I chanced on this November 2013 release because the metallic blue cover looked really appealing and I was instantaneously floored by the incredible music within. Dense, muscular and highly spacy, it did not take long for me to go through the shop page and get this whippersnapper in the mail. Ably assisted by gifted guitarist Matthias Mehrtens and tectonic drummer Mike Bach, multi-instrumentalist Norbert sets the controls to the outer reaches of the cosmic experience by putting together a whopping 2CD extravaganza of impeccable sounds and brilliant playing. His mastery over various synthesizers, organ and mostly piano is impressive but it's the placement of the reptilian bass front and center that really is the main attraction, keeping things solidly propulsive and inspiring (''The Devil Never Sleeps'').

As befits a behemoth recording, doing a track-by track review is a non-issue for the space rock genre, as the music composed is an endless adventure anyway, each piece a natural segue into deeper realms of the sonic universe. But there are many highlights to pick from, a sensational collection of tunes. From the opening shimmer of ''Shine a Light', the journey begins with intense colorations, colossal melodies and bombastic appeal. The two discs are well constructed due to the mixture of a few mini-suites, one massive epic track and a slew of shorter tracks that each have a distinctive appeal. The overall sound is a clever mixture of krautrock groove music, sequenced synthesized crescendos a la Tangerine Dream, slight trance/dance garnishes and slivers of fiery electric guitar pulses that hanker to Ayreon style bombast. . Judiciously placed male and female (Anke Ullrich) vocals only add to the effervescent voyage.

Instead of a swarm of filler tracks, Krueler composes tunes that have instantaneous appeal, such as the raucous 'Shout it Out', a steamroller anti-war space tune that has the balls to blurt out 'a nuclear killing machine' and provide an arsenal of booming riffs in logistical support. It even includes some Gregorian chanting in the finale. The 16 minute+ epic ''Never Before' sends the listener into the deepest space, unconcerned about ceremony or pomp, just plain rocket propulsion exploration. Surprisingly, a somber piano motif kicks this arrangement forward, twirling synths and whispering effects galore, the kind of mind music you can only find in your dreams! Ayreon fans, you have been warned! Lush, boisterous, echoic, grandiloquent and sublime, the symphonics are simply beyond spectacular, Norbert also enjoys taking his synths on some perilous soloing and hinting at Manfred Mann's congenial tortured squeals.

This extravaganza is followed up by the stately ''Playing for the Ashes'', perhaps one of the finest tracks among so many, a melancholic glimmer of genius where solemn piano rules , only to be elevated by some deadly soloing again , crisp production and incredible sonic depth that ultimately leads to celestial escape. Then, with incredible audacity, Shamall presents a couple of two part mini-suites, the mammoth ''Voices I & II'' and the equally mesmerizing ''Too Many People I & II''. Both are exclamation points of the highest grade, cleverly constructed and finely laced with intrigue and delectation. The onus is on solid sounds mixed in with fleecy colorations, intrepid rhythms and screaming solos, both from the guitars and the keys. The main melody on ''Voices'' is heavenly , whilst the various arrangements always search out new tones and sound textures that stretch the envelope way beyond formulaic tendencies that often hinder the space prog genre (such as the insane female voice scat). The luxuriant second part has even more pleasure node details, particularly the ruthless bass carving a deep furrow into your mind, the female voice crying out in anguish. This is a space rock classic for all time!

A more cinematographic style is unleashed on the ''Too Many People'' suite, here led by a Roxy Music -like saxophone that has hints of ''Song for Europe'', flush with romantic sensations and wailing vocals. Its second part infuses complex shifting rhythms (as if a train rolling on twisted tracks), mountains of electric piano and echoing choirs, all profoundly mesmerizing and always deeply appreciated. Axeman Mehrtens uncorks a spiraling solo, almost on par with the slippery synth one, both homed in on the reward. The obsessive vocalizing add a powerful sense of delirium as the sax wails on. Disc 1 bows to the velvet curtain with a soothing finale, the cleverly titled ''So Much is on the Line'', a clear affirmation of the sheer quality of the music played. The Pink Floyd influence is quite evident here and I for one, find nothing wrong with that! When people actually have the nerve to claim that something is 'too influenced by', it makes me realize how little they know about music. Every single musician I know (and I have met a huge number) have stated that every single rock note combination has been done before , even all the jazz licks and Arabic half tones (semitones) have found an audience. So what is truly original, eh? For me, it's all about the holy union of entertainment and instrumental ability.

The second CD keeps the cosmic eye on the universal prize, slightly more atmospheric in ''the Creeping Dead'' (there is a you tube vid available) and it features Ullrich's corporeal voice to full effect. This is definitely a highlight selection, as it possesses all the ingredients that make Shamall a special addition to the prog community, a clear sonic backdrop for intense soloing and thrilling escapism. A couple of mood pieces are presented , the bass heavy ''Reflective' throws the Franke-Froese-Baumann light onto the stage, except for the Satriani/Vai axe assault fueled by Herr Mehrtens, while ''Clouds Obscure the Sun'' is more weighty than the majority of tracks , more like a harder-edged and graphic Enigma.

Four tracks ensue, all in the 8 minute range with each having a story to tell. The serene, harpsichord-like flavored intro to ''Horrible Nightmare' evolves into a brooding track that sounds like the forges of Vulcan clanging in the background, another absolute winning track. ''At the End of Time'' is spookier, initially lean and mean lyrically and musically, then erupting into a guitar heavy rant (Ayreon feel again) with panting rhythms and urgent vocals. Both ''The Hidden Enemy'' and the excellent bass-driven ''Companion of Fortune' are bold, upfront compositions that just confirm the talent at hand. The heavy metal drumming actually adds the needed power to make this kind of vaporous music grounded in delight. Finally, the 2 part title track closes out this dense, exhausting and utterly pleasing masterpiece of space prog. The Floydian aroma is obvious, the environmental message comes across clearly, a cause deemed important enough not to casually dismiss with meaningless words. The saxophone does great justice to this music, as it keeps things utterly grounded and organic, amid the electronic swirls, the synthesized bleeps and metallic bangs. Totaling 12 minutes, this is another highlight track that deserves repeated plays and a wider audience.

Needless to state that the production is outer worldly over the entire 150 minute or so running time , the brilliant metallic azure artwork and gate-fold packaging are intensely attractive and a great addition to any collection. Fans of challenging space rock will flock to this like Roger Dean's birds of fire.

5 spectral switches

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 In Search of Precision by SHAMALL album cover Studio Album, 1994
2.67 | 34 ratings

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In Search of Precision
Shamall Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

2 stars The ultra-productive period of Norbert Krueler after entering the 90's continues in 1994 with his sixth studio album, entitled ''In search of precision''.All keyboards, guitars and computer programming are Kreuler's responsibilities, while he receives again some limited help by Martin Krueler, Markus Jaeckel, Christian Mildner, Frankie Bader and Lutz Breden in a few tracks.Needless to say the CD was again offered through the Fenn label.

While not being a significant improvement over his past work, Shamall's sixth album shows a slight turn towards a more serious direction, beginning with the production, which is definitely the best among his early efforts.Stylistically the album moves again along the fields of Electronic Music and Synth/New Wave with bombastic rhythmic parts, atmospheric passages and lots of Soundtrack-like soundscapes with a spacey mood, while Kreueler shows a tendency towards longer and more varied compositions.His music begins to flirt dangerously with TANGERINE DREAM's less competent efforts along with some sort of GANDALF-like promising symphonic textures and ambient soundscapes.Synthesizers, piano and sharp electronics remain his main weapons and his compositions are now more flexible and demanding.However there is still some significant way to walk until a composing sufficiency.The plastic-sounding and very fake programmed instruments along with the annoying drumming continue to be a pain in the ear.The length of the album (over 70 minutes) and the lack of additional instruments, even the credited guitars appear very rare, are a negative factor as well.

''In search of precision'' is propably the best of Shamall's offerings of his early period, still very far from being trully recommended.However there are traces of musical maturity throughout the album that gave hopes for an even better release in the upcoming future.Fans of soaring and edgy Electronic Music maybe could give this a shot.

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 In Search of Precision by SHAMALL album cover Studio Album, 1994
2.67 | 34 ratings

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In Search of Precision
Shamall Neo-Prog

Review by Marty McFly
Special Collaborator Errors and Omissions Team

2 stars What a terrible bunch of 80s sounding synth efforts to create some kind of music. Nope, I may enjoy some of the works from Instrumental / New Age / 80s category, but this won't be one of them. Why you may ask ? That's easy, this album lacks (as does this review, but I cannot bring myself to write detailed & thorough review on something I dislike so much) in so many ways - music thrusts forward boringly, uninteresting melodies, fake sounding instruments (sometimes on the verge of being annoying, but it's not even that - the music just passes through without causing any serious effect on listener). OK, now you have it, first review of album and it's negative & short one. But there are no redeeming qualities here. So don't look for precision here, the only one I can think of lies in beautiful cover, but that's image element, not audio.

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 Mirror to Eternity by SHAMALL album cover Studio Album, 1993
2.00 | 33 ratings

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Mirror to Eternity
Shamall Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

1 stars Alongside the 93' collection ''Collector's Items'', Norbert Krueler aka Shamall released another full-length album entitled ''Mirror to Eternity''.He was helped on a few tracks by Martil Kruler and Frank Schmeelke on guitar solos, Lutz Breden on piano and Mike Bach on drums.The new album was once again a product of Fenn Music.

''Mirror to eternity'' is another journey by Shamall through the worlds of Synth Pop, Electronic Music, Ambient and New Age and his style reminds a bit of GANDALF's though this is far more groovy and powerful.But he returns to fall into the same traps as on his previous releases.The steady groove parts are interesting but way too stretched, the synths sound very digital, the programmed drums are out of this world (in a negative sense) and his ideas seem too extended.A few Electronic/Symphonic orchestral passages, a few grandiose beats and the limited moments with the additional rock instrumentation are the only things one could consider interesting.And these last moments should have been under serious consideration by Mr. Krueler, as they add some colors to his music.Otherwise this is very repetitive, boring and unimaginative stuff.

Another fail in Shamall's discography.It can't be even regarded as a good Synth/Electro-Pop release of the 80's or the 90's, containing just very few moments of true interest even for this type of music.Avoid it.

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 Collector's item (1986-1993) by SHAMALL album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1993
1.63 | 13 ratings

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Collector's item (1986-1993)
Shamall Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

1 stars Just when prolific German artist's Norbert Krueler career took off, he resided from discography for about three years.Surprisingly he came back in 1993 not only recording a brand new album, but also offering a double-CD compilation entitled ''Collector's Items'' with music pieces created by Krueler between 1986 and 1993.The album was again released on Fenn Music.

The first disc contains material written by Shamall between 1988 and 1993.The style here is a mix of TANGERINE DREAM electronics along with spacey New Age elements and DEPECHE MODE-like Synth Pop.The music is totally instrumental, largely based on Krueler's synths, sequences and pianos with only occasional flashes of bass and guitar sounds along with programmed drumming.However the whole CD is actually quite boring with long repetitive grooves and cheap synth sounds, not to mention the overall sound is ''computerized'' and far from anything human sounding.Actually if you listen to the first track is like you have listened to the whole 70 minutes of the CD's time length.No surprises or particular emotions to be discovered.

The second disc is more diverse with material written in 1986 and 1987, but again far from being trully recommended.Reasonably this time the sound is closer to Synth Pop/Rock with some more guitars and basses to be heard and finally some vocals added to color a bit this pale effort.To my ears the pieces of the second CD sound more dynamic, darker and far more energetic than the first one, although Krueler's style is going quite far from anything progressive.

Shamall fails to impress with his previously unreleased material.If you own any of Krueler's early albums, this album is propably an excess.But even if you don't, there is nothing here worth of recommending it.Mostly uninspired and repetitive Electronic/Synth-Pop with rare occasions of challenging music.This should end up to be what actually its title suggests: a collector's item...1.5 stars.

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 Moments of Illusion by SHAMALL album cover Studio Album, 1990
2.63 | 30 ratings

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Moments of Illusion
Shamall Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

2 stars After the mediocre combination of synth-pop and electronic prog on ''Journey to a Nightmare'',German multi-instrumentalist Norbert Krueler moved on quickly to a follow-up the next year.Regarding Krueler was a dedicated Prog Rock fan,anyone would expect a complete turn towards more progressive compositions.The new LP was entitled ''Moments of Illusion''.

A slight turn of the events comes with the opening ''Physical Visions''.Bombastic synths,pounding rhythms and an atmospheric grand symphonicism is a very good introduction into the Electronic sound of the album.Unfortunately the eponymous track sees Krueler returning to boring New-Age/Synth Pop fields of little interest.''Spanish Impressions'' is even worse,not to mention is too long and repetitive.Light Spanish influences presented under thin- sounding synths and awful digital percussion.''Winter Colours'' is again very long,the guitar work and a good piano part is quite decent,but these cheap-sounding digital drums are childish,to say the least.''Power of love'' shows a return to the grandiose opening style,maybe this one is the best track of the album.There also New-Age elements here as well,but the majestic synth work close to JEAN MICHELE JARRE is of first class.''Mozart's Flight to Bangkok'' indicates the upcoming Classical influences and so it is,the opening part with the organ,the middle section and the grand piano finale are much Classical-inspired,but the rest of the track is again childish Electronic music of low quality and spoils the good parts of the track.

For one more time Krueler didn't escape from these faults,which made his previous albums rather uninteresting.There is a bit of improvement on ''Moments of Illusion'',but again the album is far from even a decent release.Only for dedicated Electronic Music collectors.

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 Questions of Life by SHAMALL album cover Studio Album, 2008
4.14 | 57 ratings

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Questions of Life
Shamall Neo-Prog

Review by progrules
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Shamall (Norbert Krueler) is actually a full blooded colleague of his fellow countryman T (Thomas Thielen). And this is because of his similar approach to music and creating an album. Thomas Thielen is a multi instrumentalist who even does the vocals himself. And so is Norbert Krueler. Like the "band" description says: he is obviously influenced by Pink Floyd but I also detect influences from /similarities to mentioned T, French neo project Iris and several progressive electronic artists like Klaus Schulze for instance. And since Norbert Krueler is in fact a modern DJ this is not unlikely.

Main basic idea that runs through this entire concept album is the often re-occurring "Life" theme. And for no less than 80 minutes he keeps coming back to this theme playing numerous variations so to speak. So that is a long sit and this will probably not please all our prog fans who happen to like albums of half of the length I just mentioned. And the repetition that is the logical consequence of my explanation can be interpreted as a drag for too long.

For my personal experience and taste it is no problem but if you dislike repetition maybe you'd better skip this one. But if you like drawn out instrumental solos (guitar!) and a nice flowing concept in Pink Floyd style for over an hour this release by Shamall could well be a great pick. I always liked this aspect of Pink Floyd so Questions of Life is very much my cup of tea. It will be no surprise my final verdict is going to be 4 stars for this very fine piece of music.

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Thanks to windhawk for the artist addition.

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