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
The latest Josh Taerk live session was streamed on Sunday 21 November. Next session 12 December. The video above was a Halloween Special, streamed 31 October.
David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 GMT, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 31 October 2021 and includes the Top 10 albums at www.getreadytorock.com for that week.
UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020 and 2021 Finalist) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 GMT as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 2 November 2021.
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From 1 December the Featured Albums and Power Play segments will reflect those artists and tracks featured during 2021.
Featured Albums w/c 15 November 2021 (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 MEMORIA AVENUE Memoria Avenue (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 FANS OF THE DARK Fans Of The Dark (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 HANNAH JAMES & TOBY KUHN Sleeping Spirals (Jigdoll Records)
Power Plays w/c 15 November 2021 (Mon-Fri)
THE FORGOTTEN Interstellar (FiXT Noir)
QUILL Riding Rainbows (indie)
DEAD REYNOLDS Uninspired (The Fort)
CAVALCADE Dreaming About (Golden Robot)
HANNAH ALDRIDGE Sinking (indie)
GREYHAVEN All Candy (Rude Records)
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