Sometimes you never know why. But some time between Iris Divine's latest album Karma Sown, released earlier this year, and his new debut project Shumaun, composer, guitarist, and vocalist Farhad Hossain jumped ship. Although looking back, I'm not sure whether he had a significant role in that band. Maybe he just wanted to play his own tunes. But I digress.
What you have in the Shumaun sound is a hybrid of sorts. First, this is definitely heavy metal, definitely of the classic melodic variety. But it's also power metal as well as there can be some swift movement within songs, You And I Will Change The World, for instance. Then there's the song composition, with an abundance contributions and play from the various musicians and sufficient intrigue from the twists and turns in the arrangements. Shumaun plays progressive metal, notable with the eclecticism of Floods, where piano can do battle with riffs, or the epic and longer The Dream of the Sleeper.
With more listening, you'll pick a few more things. One is vocal arrangements, abundant in melody and harmony, they a lush and pleasing feeling to the music that can lift entire songs. One, for sure, is Keep It Together where it holds the song's melody throughout. The song is also an example of another characteristic of Shumaun, the ability to infuse the simple AOR accessibility of a melodic rock groove into their songs. Fundamentally, it just sounds darn catchy. More than a few songs turn on this element, the following We Always Disappear is another. Even Ambrosia, with its share of brisk sharp riffs, moves on groove and melody.
Then Shumaun can be subtle, at least in a way to throw you off at the start. When It's Our Turn is initially gentle, mostly vocals, piano, and symphonic keys, then develops into a roaring riff heavy anthem, with the vocals and guitar solos rising in the latter half. An additional song of interest is the closing Numbers. Somewhat quirky from the atmosphere, it's mostly a guitar driven song with same adding delicate South Asian touches to the sound.
In the end, I found Shumaun's debut to be an ambitious, interesting, and entertaining album of melodic progressive metal. I also found it to be long, but not excessively so. If they would have trimmed of a few songs and 15 minutes, nothing would have been lost (but saved for another time perhaps). Nevertheless, good stuff, a fine first effort.
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I found Shumaun's debut to be an ambitious, interesting, and entertaining album of melodic progressive metal. They've got an exceptional future ahead of them.
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