Review of “Continuation” from Progwereld

(free translated from Dutch language)

Once in a while I’ll find that I’ve been sleeping and a band / musician remained completely under the radar. That was the case with Shamall. Shamall is the project of the German musician Norbert Krueler which is active for about thirty years and already released fifteen different studio albums in that period. “Continuation” is their latest release and is also an integral part of the compilation “History Book” along with four other CDs which provide an overview of thirty years Shamall.

Krueler is a multi-instrumentalist and does a lot himself, including the production, but also works frequently with guest musicians like Matthias Mehrtens (guitar). This is the the case on “Continuation”. There is also a singer from the party (Anke Ulrich), but overall the emphasis is focussed on the instrumental level. “Continuation” takes 79 minutes and contains mostly compositions that no longer fit on the previous release “Turn Off”, because it had already reached its maximum playing time.

As well as “Turn Off” is “Continuation” an indictment of nuclear power with the Fukushima disaster as the main source of inspiration. “Oh dear”, I can hear you, dear reader prog, all the thinking: “This is a musical “atomic power – no thanks” – happening”…? Will depart the musicality of the message? I assure you that this is not the case. The message is of course justified, judging by the nuclear disasters, but nowhere the music is subordinated to the message. In fact, I rarely had owned a socially committed album that led to such great compositions.

According to Wiki the musical style of Shamall is best described as a mixture of Alan Parsons and Pink Floyd. The following names came to my mind when listening: (indeed) David Gilmour (Random Walker), Lee Abraham (Fragments P. IV) Enigma (Linolenic Acid), Peter Baumann’s early solo work and even Manfred Mann (Floating Subatomic Particles and Solitary Life). Multi-variant, merged into a style in which the listener can drift on a sonic trip that holds the attention without interruption for seventy-nine minutes and let the listener enjoy.

The whole is produced “German at it’s Best”: wonderful spaciousness, balance and definition in full harmony; the ears are spoiled. To make it short: this album is a must for electro prog fans in the corner of Tangerine Dream / Loom, Ashra and F. D. Project.

c/o Clemens Leunisse, Progwereld 2016

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Excerpt from Kinesis Progressive Rock page – “Turn Off” sounds like Eloy featuring special guest Edgar Froese…

The Shamall albums offered here are after the band’s transition to progressive rock and so are their highest-rated on Prog Archives: Turn Off (2CD, 2013, digipack), Is This Human Behavior (2CD, 2009, digipack), Questions of Life (2008, digipack), Ambiguous Points of View (2CD, 2006, digibook),Who Do They Think They Are (2CD, 2003, jewel box), and The Book Genesis (2CD, 2001, jewel box). Ambiguous Points of View counts as 1.5 CDs for shipping.

We’re devoting most of this space to the latest album Turn Off, because that’s the one we’ve listened to. It seems that the major influence present on the Shamall albums has been Pink Floyd. But Turn Off sounds much closer to Eloy, themselves Pink Floyd influenced but quite distinct. Shamall doesn’t just sound a little like Eloy here — if you didn’t know any better, you’d think this was a new Eloy album. More specifically, it sounds like Eloy featuring special guest Edgar Froese.

That’s one of the remarkable qualities of this album, how well Tangerine Dream style sequencers and synths are integrated into progressive rock. There are male and female vocals (in English), though the music is heavily instrumental. It turns out that Shamall is primarily the work of one man, Norbert Krueler, but you’d probably never guess. This is one amazing album, perhaps with slightly too narrow a style given its 150-minute length, but you won’t feel shortchanged on this or any of the other Shamall albums. Most are double-CDs, and each disc is nearly full. There is a lot of music here.

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First review of the new album “Is this human behavior”

Shamall – Is this human behavior 2 cd (2009)
related: Pink Floyd, Eloy
Review by Walter Sehrer
Shamall - Is this human behavior 2 CD
Norbert Krueler alias Shamall has been hard-working again. Fans of longtracks will get one’s money’s worth entirely with this double-cd. The single tracks respectively parts flow smoothly into each other, that it may give the impression of a sole composition (of 78 minutes in case of CD 01).The first CD starts with mellow e-piano and heavy e-guitar sounds – Shamall creates slowly and with a lot of breathing space a kind of atmospheric space-prog, which reminds often at the seventies’ Pink Floyd era. Chanting synths like in “Wish you were here”- or “Animals”-days arise a – high-class – kind of futuristic “Picture Music”, where the listener evolves his own mind movie.Thematically this album deals with the ignorant behavior of the mankind towards their environment – similar to the current album of the german krautrock band eloy. Krueler knows to stage a thunder-storm of epic and space-sounds – even better than on his previous releases. So it’s worth to go for an expedition here and despite of a few single redundancies, it’s always a true pleasure to listen.

The second CD “Living incommunicado” is more rock-oriented with a lot of guitar parts and soli. Bonus-tracks perfect this album.

c/o “eclipsed rock magazine”, Walter Sehrer, issue 12/09-01/10

 

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Review “Questions of Life” (8/10)

Shamall – Questions of Life (2008)
related: Pink Floyd, Maxxess, Alan Parsons, Krautrock
Review by Walter Sehrer
Questions of Life

The album ‘questions of life’ is already the eleventh studio album from Norbert Krueler alias Shamall. The german musician and dj is exploring the cosmic sound universe, accompanied with rapid Floyd guitar and vibrant electronic sounds and inspired by thousands of unsolved mysteries of life (as you can read on the booklet). As a fan of spacerock, melodic guitars and worshipper of Pink Floyd you may happily flow on Shamall’s long, hypnotic tracks from galaxie to galaxie. In the song ‘what will happen’ Shamall wonders, what might happen after the dissolution of the universe. The artwork of the album, which is evocative of the movie ‘2001 – space odyseey’, illustrates Shamall’s cosmological philosophizing. This album contains numerous long guitar solos from ‘Gilmour’s textbook’, but sometimes – as in ‘what will happen part III’, synth melodies, which evokes wonderful memories of ‘shine on you crazy diamond’ in particular and to the blessed art of Richard Wright, in general. The whole album is like an unbridled frenzy of happiness. Either you fly with or you won’t take off.

Rating: 8/10. –c/o Eclipsed, Walter Sehrer, Nov. 2008

 

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Music circus magazine reviewed “Questions of Life”

Questions of Life
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 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 synth 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 synths in “resurge” sound 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 — music-circus magazine

Here’s the complete tracklist:
1. what will happen part I 4:37
2. what will happen part II 4:06
3. what will happen part III 4:14
4. what will happen part IV 4:14
5. what will happen part V 4:09
6. prospective waves 1:53
7. life part I 6:26
8. life part II 6:13
9. exegesis 4:50
10. running and falling 5:47
11. resurge 2:05
12. about a totally freakin’ out moment in life 3:21
13. adage part I 5:00
14. adage part II 5:36
15. the power of life part I 8:47
16. hall of 1000 strings 1:10
17. the terpsichorean frisk of creepy crawlies 3:46
18. the power of life part II 3:28

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