Nima : For nearly thirty years Shakra has guaranteed beautiful melodic hard rock and heavy metal, and has certainly built a name, reputation and fan base in this genre. The band never really deviated from their original sound and style, and since the fourth album, ‘Rising’ (2003) has found its own, highly recognizable sound. This partly thanks to the fantastic and equally recognizable vocals of charismatic frontman Mark Fox, who made his debut on that album.
When Fox left the band in 2009 I took the band's future in doubt, but in John Prakesh the Swiss found a worthy replacement and with the fantastic ‘Back On Track’ and ‘Powerplay’ even scored two hit albums. But when also Prakesh decided to leave in 2013, the band's future became really uncertain. Following the advice of Krokus drummer Chris von Rohr Fox was asked back, who fortunately was also enthusiastic about returning to Shakra.
Nearly three years after the last album the band's tenth full-length album, 'High Noon', is now a fact. Prakesh was a fantastic singer in my opinion and especially 'Back On Track' remains one of the strongest Shakra albums to date. But when I hear 'High Noon' I must say that Fox is the ultimate singer for this band. And that is immediately clear when the album blasts open with the beautiful ‘Hello’ (also the first single), that immediately sounds delightfully trusted. The band has again – and fortunately – not deviated from their sound and style, and do exactly what they have been doing for three decades. No surprises, no experimental bullshit, but simply rock-solid "feelgood" hardrock and melodic metal with strong, catchy, stirring riffs, beautiful melodies and solos, and catchy vocals.
‘High Noon’ contains a dozen solid tracks, rocks forth beautifully, and makes you forget all the misery around you for a good 50 minutes. Whether we’re dealing with heavy rockers such as ‘Hello’, ‘Into Your Heart’ or ‘Wild And Hungry', the rocking, swinging title track or ‘Raise Your Hands’, or the beautiful ballad ‘Life's What You Need’, each song on the album has its own charm and character, and more importantly is utter Shakra. The album was again produced by Thomas Blunier, who has provided just the right sound, making the whole come across as it should. Altogether 'High Noon' is another great album from these men, and one of the strongest releases of Shakra so far. Absolutely recommended to the fans of the genre.