Shakra – Back on Track
Release Date: May 3, 2011
Despite hovering around the Swiss music scene for seven studio albums and 14 years, Shakra is basically unknown outside their homeland. They’ve shared the stage with the likes of Great White, Guns ‘N Roses and Iron Maiden, and despite these successes they remain a mystery.
After the release of their last album, 2009’s Everest, the band was at a turning point. Their future in doubt after more than a decade of making solid records.
Enter new vocalist, John Prakesh.
It would be unfair to call the Chennai, India born singer the band’s savior. Instead he is the catalyst for reinvigorating the group. His diverse vocal styles open Shakra‘s sound up even further. He manages to sound like every great singer you love without sounding exactly like any of them.
In a sense, the band’s eighth and newest studio effort, the appropriately titled, Back On Track, is the first album of a new chapter. And this is where it starts to get really good.
Back On Track will throw listeners into the-way-back-machine about 25 years to the mid-80’s. Tight well-produced rockers with hooky choruses, and memorable guitar riffs…without falling into the spandex and Aquanet cheesiness of it all.
The album opener “B True B You” begins with a modern spiraling guitar riff, but the song is quickly propelled into the pumping rhythmic 80’s vibe.
“I’ll Be” reminds me of classic Y&T, with thick guitars and a sing-along chorus. Even the guitar solo recalls Dave Meniketti.
Want an old school hair band anthem, then crank up “Crazy”!
“When I See You” is an edgy acoustic based ballad, while the title track is a jet-fueled anthemic beast of driving melodic fury.
“Money Makes The World Go Round” (MMTWGR) sounds like classic Sebastian Bach and Skid Row.
Even the album’s song titles allude to where the band is at musically and mentally, from the title track to the ballad, “Yesterday’s Gone”, to the pounding rocker, “Brand New Day”, to the final track, “Stronger Than Ever”. The message is clear. Shakra is back, better than ever, and ready to rock your collective asses off.
Guitarist Thom Blunier does some of his best solo work on this record, while drummer Roger Tanner plays with steady fury. The production is excellent and not overdone.
With Back On Track Shakra have found their ticket to the big show. This is what melodic hard rock and metal is all about; powerhouse vocals, shredding guitars with addictive riffs, air drum worthy skin pounding, and can’t-get-it-out-of your-head-choruses.