As in the game with the same title, the goal is to climb to the top. This is what SHAKRA as a band also have in mind. It’s been almost 2 years since High Noon was released, the comeback album with former lead singer Mark Fox back on the microphone. High Noon made it to number 2 in the Swiss album charts and also entered the German charts. The haunting melodies, the distinctive voice of Mark Fox, the striking guitar riffs from Thomas Muster, the emotional solos from lead guitarist Thom Blunier and the irresistible grooves from drummer, Roger Tanner and bass player Dominik Pfister are all typical Shakra trademarks, which can be found again on their newly released album Snakes & Ladders.
The album opens with Cassandra’s Curse which has a menacing feel to it from the start, gradually building the intensity with some demanding guitar riffs and gritty vocals. The power continues to build, which when coupled with the demanding drum beat, it takes the force and strength of the track to another level, until the vocals eventually explode into being.
Friday Nightmare turns up the tempo getting the pulse racing from the start. This track commands you to listen, with its incessant drum beats and melodic vocals, not to mention the attention seeking guitar motif, overall a very strong addition to the album. Snakes and Ladders is a superb demonstration of the talent contained within this band. Definitely worthy of being the title track, this is a pleasurable experience to put it mildly. Something You Don’t Understand is an eighties inspired rock ballad oozing with classic rock charm and a catchy chorus that will stick in your head for sure. The Seeds wakes you up with a more upbeat feel, and a melodious chorus, giving a completely different taste to this track, setting it apart from the others. Rollin’ adds some blues rock to the mix, followed by Medicine Man which continues to impress. I Will Rise Again is a favourite of mine, rock music as you would expect it to be. A definite crowd pleaser for a live performance.
Open Water is a powerful classic rock track with lyrics which tell a story of wanting to be set free from sorrows, lies and tragedy, a pretty song which will soon engrave itself into your head. The Race Of My Life continues to deliver the heavy impact, with the mighty guitar work and dominant beat, followed by Fire In My Veins which lives up to its title, by getting the adrenaline racing and urging you to rock out. The End Of Days has an acoustic opening which is refreshing, but is soon backed up by that thick set guitar riff, making way for an elaborate guitar exhibition and the melodic vocals which perfect the track.
This album ticks all the boxes for lovers of rock and roll music, in particular traditional, classic rock. However, these guys have definitely added their own ingredients into the production, which can only increase the reach of its appeal.
In summary, a solid example of heavy rock music, with a few surprises along the way.