Review Summary: What’s old becomes new again in some solid and lasting music.
Shakra, the name itself invites cosmic themes of balance and energy, it is also fitting for a band that uses some highly conventional although some-what predictable song-writing styles. Formed in 1997, Shakra has been releasing records steadily over the years. In fact, Powerplay
will be the band’s tenth studio record as well as the addition of a live album and a DVD to boot. These hard working Swiss hard rockers ensure that innovation does not come at the cost of quality and catchy song-writing. Having toured with the likes of the Guns N Roses, Iron Maiden and Hammerfall it’s easy to point out that the band has a solid work ethic. Considering that the band has seen a change in vocalists since their 2009 album, Everest
Shakra has persevered and built on the Back On Track
and created a highly enjoyable, successful record in their 2013 release, Powerplay
. It’s already been mentioned, but it’s important to push the point that Powerplay
is in no way an innovative record, breaking new ground and showcasing some form of unique out-of-the-box thinking. Shakra present some melodic, straight-forward hard rock featuring some fine musicianship and excellently strong vocals.
Despite the fact that Shakra sit firmly in some set-in-stone soundscapes, it actually takes nothing
away from this band’s music. Powerplay
is a “feel good” album. From the up-beat opening tracks ‘Life Is Now’ and ‘Higher’ through the semi-ballad in ‘Wonderful Life’ (which bears some huge resemblance to the music of Alter Bridge’s AB III
) the band shows a positive way of shaping tracks to reach a climaxed potential. Combine this winning formula with some hard hitting virtuosity, the guitarists take centre stage alongside
vocalist John Prakesh interweaving guitar leads, ringing chords with soaring vocal lines that accent the bands talent when combining these well executed sections. Backed by some of the most consistent drum work of the genre (read: consistent not overly exciting) Shakra knows how to put together tracks from the ground up and whilst it may be a little cliché to count out the beat during tracks, this group of Swiss rockers manage to incorporate this little feature without damaging the track and albums overall reception.
Every so often the record will take on slightly darker themes, this is found in tracks like ‘Dear Enemy’, ‘Save You from Yourself’ and ‘Stevie’ where the songs break away from the happy soundscapes of the rest of the record and develop a depth to the album as a whole. This features just how a band can contrast light with dark without resorting to filling an album with cheese. Although the record has already shown just how solid it is thus far, the best is yet to come. ‘Secret Hideaway’ is the band’s balance of light and dark, soaring vocals, ringing chords, and overall display of excellent song writing ability. At the end of all this what listeners’ have is a listener built with actual song-writing in mind, rather than the constant push for innovation keeping the record roughly accesible. This works well for Shakra’s 2013 release and it shows positively for the band themselves.