c/o Stephan Schelle, music circus magazine, 2008
The musical style of Shamall alias Norbert Krueler has evolved from italo disco in the eighties across ambient electronic music in the nineties and changed once more to melodic progressive rock with lots of psychedelic elements according to Pink Floyd and the german progressive band Eloy. With the double release “ambiguous points of view” Shamall produced a milestone in the band’s history yet. Besides the absolutely outstanding quality of music the artwork and packaging were just excellent. Not easy to create a worthy successor for “ambiguous points of view”.
Almost two years passed since Shamall’s last double cd. The new album “questions of life” came out as a very appealing digipak with a 12-page booklet. Musically, Norbert continues on the new album from where he stopped on “ambiguous points of view”. Just like Shamall’s recent work, the new album is composed as a concept album. The 18 tracks on this album are musically and thematic strongly affiliated with each other, so you should listening to this album as a whole.
It starts with the five-part track “what will happen”. In the first instance, part I is very psychedelic and reminds strongly of Pink Floyd. Superb melodies and intriguing sounds fill the atmosphere, as you know it from Shamall. That gives you the heebie-jeebies right from the start. Alongside to the soundscapes electric guitar enters the stage, which dominates thoroughly on this album. This creates a very fascinating progressive rock sound. Admittedly Norbert’s vocals and his german accent need getting used to, similar to those from Eloy’s singer Frank Bornemann, but if you let the music do its magic, the vocals will burn into your mind because they fit perfectly to the music. The sophisticated drum programming is amazing, just like on Shamall’s recent work. This is the proof, that he has a distinguished sense of rhythm next to his ability to create excellent compositions. Shamall combines new sounds with warm keyboard sounds from the 70’s and 80’s, which should appeal each fan of classic and melodic rock of that era.
Relaxing atmospheric soundscapes and pounding rhythmic parts afford an enthralling interplay. Melodies, surprising ones and variations of previous ones are smartly arranged to build a recurrent theme. Stilistically this album bears resemblance to Pink Floyds “Division Bell”. But tracks like “prospective waves”, “life part II” or “running and falling” are evocative of Pink Floyd’s “the wall”. “Exegesis”, which is redolent to Pink Floyd’s “on the run” from the outstanding album “dark side of the moon” with its moogsound at the end of the track. The keyboard in “resurge” sounds slightly like “the who” in their “who are you”-phase. And in spite of everything Shamall is not another Floyd-Clone but he’s a musician and a very creative mind who brings a lot of own ideas to his music. “Questions of Life” is an awesome, worthy successor for his killer album “ambiguous points of view”. Everyone who loves his work from his 2006′ release or every Pink Floyd fan will gorge “questions of life” as well. I will recommend this album totally unlimited – in my collection it deserves a very special place (next to “ambiguous points of view”).
Absolutely brilliant work, which is definitely one of the best albums of the year by now!!!
Stephan Schelle, July 2008 –musikzirkus-magazin.de