Artist:  Shakra
   Title: Back On Track
   Label: AFM Records
 

Never has an album's name be more relevant than that of Swiss hard rockers Shakra’s new opus ‘Back On Track’.  A band that had six albums under their belts and their Everest reaching new peaks so to say, then vocalist Mark Fox up sticks and left the band.  So as the shock waves spread around the Melodic and Hard Rock communities with rumours that this signaled the the demise of the band, lucky for us though this wasn't the case and Fox’s departure didn’t stop Guitarists Thomas Muster and Thom Blunier continuing on, building on the solid foundations they had already laid, and replacing Fox with the very talented John Prakesh.

Although a somewhat unknown Prakesh will certainly not remain so for long if this album is anything to go by.

This is a whole new chapter for the band and they are definitely ‘Back On Track’, with a harder edged sound that really does match Prakesh’s superb power driven vocals.  This is none more apparent than with the opener ‘B True B You’.  This is full on hard rock at its finest, the meaty guitar licks of Muster and Blunier leading the way for the might of Prakesh to take the sound to even greater heights.  A real ballsy kick-ass opener.

The great rocking comes thick and fast with the stunning ‘I’ll Be’ on which Prakesh delivers a first class power vocal, while the twin guitars throw out the chunky riffs and the rhythm section of Dominik Pfister on bass and Roger Tanner on drums, brings that modern melodic metal tone to the table in huge waves of power.

The band's straight up rock sound continues with the excellent riff laden ‘Crazy’ and the superb thumping rock of the title track ‘Back On Track’.  With its anthemic chorus and heady bass lines this one just ROCKS! Enough said!

After four ballsy hard rockers it’s time to bring it down a touch with the gentle rock of ‘When I See You’, a song that showcases perfectly just what a find Prakesh is, as he shows that he can not only wail a great tune, but that he also has the full package and delivers a great gentle melodic vocal when needed.

‘MMTWGR’ brings the tempo and vibe back up again big style, this is verging on melodic metal with its grinding guitars and thunderous rhythm section, add to that Prakesh’s angst filled vocals and this is definitely the heaviest song on the album so far and one of my favourites.

It's back to the more traditional hard rock with the stunning ‘Yesterdays Gone’ and the excellent thumping tones of ‘Someday’, before bringing the tempo down once more with the fantastic ‘Lonesomeness’.

Another of my favourite tracks off the album has to be ‘Unspoken Truth’, this one just delivers on so many levels, from the driven guitars to the solid bass lines, the monstrous drum beat and of course, Prakesh’s stunning vocals.

This album just keeps on giving as each new track unfolds revealing power and melody in massive doses.  The album heads towards the end without letting up any as ‘Brand New Day’ delivers a raunchy guitar lick enclosed in a powerhouse back beat, a real old school rocker, then there’s the closer the stunning ‘Stronger Than Ever’, a real classy finish to a stunning album.

This album doesn’t dispel the bands hard work over the last six albums, there is still that intense melodic sound that is pure Shakra, but with Prakesh delivering one hell of a vocal force, this is most definitely Shakra moving onward and upward.

Tracklisting:

1. B True B You
2. I'll Be
3. Crazy
4. Back On Track
5. When I See You
6. MMTWGR
7. Yesterday's Gone
8. Someday
9. Lonesomeness
10. Unspoken Truth
11. Brand New Day
12. Stronger Than Ever

                  

 

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