Album review: SHAKRA – Mad World

SHAKRA - Mad World

AFM Records [Release date 28.02.20]

“Mad World” is Shakra’s 12th studio album, and it’s a lot like the previous 11. That’s a relief. Thomas Muster’s and Thom Blunier’s economic riffs continue to drive the music, and along with prodigal son, Mark Fox, they continue to mine a narrow seam, but they dig deep and frequently come up with solid gold.

In the tradition of Krokus, AC/DC and maybe The Angels, they’ve pursued the perfection of the rock riff form for the last 25 years. On “Mad World” it sounds seamless, intuitive, and always remarkably lean and confident.

So, in common with the back catalogue, dry-as-a-bone riffola, sharp axe soloing and spare, unshowy choruses abound. Sometimes beautifully understated, like ‘Too Much Is Not Enough’ and ‘A Roll Of The Dice’. Sometimes steamrollering, flattening everything in their path, as on ‘Fireline’ and ‘When He Comes Around’.

It gives rise to the notion that once their motorised verses and compact choruses have been recorded, the band spend hours of studio time paring them back, jettisoning anything remotely superfluous. What you might also observe is that tangled among the taut, tense, clearcut riffs are some some tuneful little axe motifs – like on ‘Mad World’, the track, ‘Fake News’ and ‘New Tomorow’, creating a sense of complexity that sits comfortably in contrast with the band’s precision engineered riffs and stomping percussive thump.

That said, they don’t stray too far outside their own pre-drawn lines, but clearly, it’s roomy inside and they make every moment count. ***1/2

Review by Brian McGowan

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