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Shalash Band - Kabyokh CD (album) cover


Shalash Band


Symphonic Prog

3.98 | 4 ratings

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kev rowland
Special Collaborator
Crossover Team
4 stars Here we have the second album from Russian duo Shalash Band who comprise Dmitry Karavaev (keyboards, wind controller) and Maxim Smirnov (drums and percussion). I was quite a fan of their 2018 debut, 'Shalash', so I was intrigued to see what this would be like, and I am very pleased indeed to report that it is a logical progression from what they were doing before, yet they have moved on and, in many ways, this is quite different. They have been working together for more than 20 years although they only formed this outfit in 2016, and there is no doubt they have a very solid understanding of how the other works. The use of a wind controller on this album allows Dmitry to provide plenty of synths which sound like brass or woodwind instruments, which often gives the music a jazzlike tendency, while never really moving into fusion.

As before, here is a prog band with a sense of humour and there are far too few of them around, and they see nothing wrong with suddenly moving in a totally inappropriate direction such as on "We See Them" which suddenly has the guys rock and rolling around the joint. There are no rules, or if they are recognised, they are there to be broken. It is certainly a very interesting and also different approach to many bands from Russia, who often follow classical, folk or avant-garde norms, whereas here we have a duo who are incredibly melodic yet see no reason to sit within any given music boundaries and instead keep switching up. Both Emerson and Wakeman, especially the latter who has always appeared to have more fun with his music, are obvious influences on Dmitry while Palmer is the very obvious influence on Maxim who is doing far more than just keeping time and is very much an equal partner in this relationship.

I have been fortunate enough to hear a great deal of Russian progressive rock music over the years and yet again Shalash Band demonstrate it is possible to have fun and produce prog which is totally accessible yet still driving forward. One never knows the path they are going to take but know it is going to be a fun ride wherever they lead.

kev rowland | 4/5 |


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