c/o Profil Prog Magazine and Radio, Philippe André, December 2019
translated from French
1986 — 2019. No, no, don’t worry, it’s nobody’s epitaph !!!!
These are just the dates of Norbert KRUELER’s current musical career as a creator of the so-called “progressive” music.
This man has been composing this kind of music for 33 years now – and with bravura! I had already commented his two
previous albums “Turn Off” in 2013 (then on progressive-area.com) and “Continuation” in 2016 here.
The new release “Schizophrenia” is now SHAMALL’s fourteenth album and it is a double album. So, of course it’s long, with
150 minutes even very long … and so I ask everyone to listen to the whole double album with attention in one go.
For those who are familiar with the SHAMALL universe and Norbert Krüler’s decades of work as a DJ, it is certainly no
surprise that some of the SHAMALL compositions are characterized by the experiences of his professional past.
As it is impossible for me to present all 22 titles of this double album, I will try to highlight the most striking ones.
The title track “Schizophrenia”, which is almost 19 minutes long (it is the longest title of this double album), should be listened to as a whole. And this title contains everything a pedantic progger might like – a constant lyrical progression (yes, I know, my wording sounds clichéd) but there is a main melody that evolves and despite its length it is a song that doesn’t get boring and you can listen to it without effort very well until the end.
In other words, it’s that kind of progressive rock that we already appreciated so much in the past on ELOY e.g. on the albums “Colours” to “Planets”. I have to admit at this point that there are definitely worse comparisons!
The next track “Thoughts part one” is very much on the same level. Instrumental and expressive. Also remarkable is the symphonic title “The Inconvenient Truth (part one)” which is introduced with expressive singing by Norbert, builds up to abrasive, reproachful “Grinding” and is accompanied by the female choral singing of Anke ULLRICH (who will show her potential in later titles).
I would also like to point out the lively instrumental piece “On The Run”, which is definitely equal to the best moments of the golden ELOY age (unfortunately, Hannes FOLBERTH and Michael GERLACH are probably no longer able to offer us these kind of developments that are synthesized today…). The other instrumental piece “Yearning Moments” (title no. 8) is of the same quality, only a little calmer in the beginning.
Since I mentioned Anke Ullrich earlier, we have now arrived at the title “Supernatural Dream”. A really extraordinary strong composition. It is Anke who leads us through the song with her clear, colourful and powerful voice. The solo passages spoil us with a fantastic saxophone solo and a brilliant piano solo by Norbert and then – listen well … it explodes everywhere!
For me one of the best tracks on the first album. I intend to introduce such a song on the radio. With really fat speakers it is now time to clean the speakers. A little extrapolating, I would dare to say that this single track alone justifies the purchase of the album!
Conclusion for the first CD – seventy-seven minutes and nothing fundamentally bad during all this time.
It is already a great achievement.
The first disc ended up with nine instrumental minutes, the second disc starts with “World of Emotions” with almost twelve instrumental minutes. And here the whole wisdom and intelligence of SHAMALL shows up, who knows that not only his voice is his capital and therefore he offers us now some songs without vocals.
At this point we don’t know yet, but this opening track will be one of the best of the second CD. In addition to that, “The Inconvenient Truth Part Two”, which is completely reminiscent of the PINK FLOYD, which Roger WATERS rejectedin his solo career, be it for the use of guitars, keyboards in soundscapes, various well thought-out obligatory sound effects and the pleasing choirs of Anke ULLRICH. This title is also a treat of almost nine minutes.
It is followed by the title “The Shape of Things to Come” which is also presented in a pleasant and at the same time more conventional way, a well processed piece, accompanied by an acoustic guitar which is replaced by an electric guitar after the solos in the last quarter of the title. And again the real Shamall is accompanied by Anke Ullrich with her supporting choral singing.
“We Are All In The Same Boat” stands out pleasantly a little bit from the complete works. A track that is performed by Anke alone as a solo singer and whose lyrics can easily be translated by anyone. Also this song is again suitably enriched by a nice saxophone solo. Very pleasant. The last track that should be mentioned on this second record is ”Eyes of a Stranger” and its over seven minutes. Delicious – once again…and again sung by Mrs. Anke ULLRICH, whoadds additional charm to SHAMALL’s music with her singing.