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Shumaun – Shumaun

Label: Independent release
Format: CD download
Released: 2015
Reviewed By: Jack Mangan
Rating: 8/ 10

I conducted an email interview for Metal Asylum with chief songwriter and frontman Farhad Hussain after listening to the self-titled debut of his band, Shumaun. But before writing this review, the Q&A further cemented my belief that this guy is a major undiscovered talent, poised to become a prominent name in Prog Metal. Shumaun's album is a showcase of diverse song and instrumentation styles, all woven together with threads of mysticism and technical workmanship. There's a bit of something for everyone. As tight and proficiently-executed as the playing is on this album, all the more remarkable for the Spinal Tap-esque rotation of drummers during the recording, Shumaun never launch into flights of ego noodling.


A skeptic might call their two longest tracks, ‘The Drop’ (8+ minutes) and ‘Dream of the Sleeper’ (13+ minutes) self-indulgent, but I think this is where Hussain's fearless, exploratory songwriting genius comes to the fore. ‘Dream of the Sleeper’ is long, for sure, but It's not a token epic. Every part of the journey brings unexpected twists and fresh rewards, blending multi-cultural rhythms and sounds for one of the best rock/metal/prog songs of 2015. Taken as a whole, the album's biggest problem is that its least interesting tunes are tracks three – ‘You and I Will Change the World’, four – ‘Keep it Together’, and six – ‘When It's Our Turn’; the last of which is reminiscent of Faith No More's mocking cover of ‘Easy’ - - which can shake the confidence out from between your earbuds.

Fortunately, the album opens strong with ‘A New Revolution’, a wonderful exercise in hooks and alternate time signatures reminiscent of Tool, followed by a sturdy, straight-ahead rocker in ‘Miracles of Yesterday’ for track two. Also fortunately, ‘We Always Disappear’ is slotted at track five to help you get through the rough patch. This song is a short, but effective groovy sleeper, with an opening arpeggio steeped in old Queensryche. The harmonized monotone vocals dance gracefully with the active, buoyant bassline, mesmerizing the listener. This track is also the perfect sample of what makes the whole album so admirable: skilled songcraft with a predilection for originality and catchiness, broadly appealing without dipping into commerciality.

This is a fascinating, multi-dimensional, layered, textured sonic sculpture that you'll want to revisit frequently, and will want yo view from different angled. It simultaneously has mindless pop appeal and intellectual appeal. Recommended.

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