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Shiraz Lane: Carnival Days
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Shiraz Lane: Carnival Days

Melodic Hard Rock/AOR
5.0/5.0

On the strength of 2016's For Crying Out Loud, Shiraz Lane was quick to receive praise from reviewers and fans alike. The album led to sharing stages with bands across diverse genres including Halestorm, Amorphis, Children Of Bodom, and Lordi. Shiraz Lane would tour with Lordi in the Fall of 2016. Much of 2017 was spent working on their second album, Carnival Days, which arrives on Italy's Frontiers Music label.

Shiraz Lane Band Photo

Shiraz Lane

Unlike other journalists, I didn't gush over Shiraz Lane's previous album. I found it to be adequate classic melodic hard rock with a metal edge, yet not all that memorable, sort of run of the mill. It's enough to say, Carnival Days is far superior to For Crying Out Loud. While their classic metalized hard rock remains, the song composition is much more interesting and diverse. There's definitely a strong and hauntingly persuasive AOR feel to most songs, making every song simply more catchy and appealing.

Also vocalist Hannes Kett is a greater voice to be reckoned with. He could get a bit screamo on For Crying Out Loud. But now he seems more smooth and in control, his voice guiding the inherent harmony and melody of the songs. Yeah, he can still rip into a metal scream, but it's always well-appointed.

Then there's the horns. You read that right. I sure hope they're real horns and not synths within Tidal Wave and Gotta Be Real, because they sound awesome. Essentially, with Carnival Days, Shiraz Lane is a more mature band: older, wiser, more skilled, and more creative. Perhaps this has something to do with veteran uber-producer Per Aldeheim (Def Leppard, Soilwork, Lambretta) being at the helm.

Honestly, with one possible exception, there's not a bad song in the bunch. You get some heavier stuff With People Like Us, War Of Mine, and Shot Of Life, yet with a big beat and groove, and strong vocal harmony. A song like Harder To Breathe has that unlikely twist of melodic metal in an AOR wrapper. Anthems come with the aforementioned Gotta Be Real and the later Shangri-La, another song with a catchy AOR groove and fine vocal harmony. An inspirational hard rock ballad comes with Hope, a slower, steady number that has a bit of a blues feel in the guitar line. The wild card here may be the closing song, Reincarnation. At nearly eight minutes, at has movements both lighter and steady, then heavier like at the three minute mark, only to dial back into a guitar solo a minute later. But mostly the song turns on the vocal harmony and catchy chorus.

Suffice to say, with Carnival Days, Shiraz Lane has delivered a superior album of AOR melodic hard rock, thanks to greater, more diverse, and creative songwriting. Definitely all killer and no filler. Get it. Quite recommended.



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The Bottom Line

Suffice to say, with Carnival Days, Shiraz Lane has delivered a superior album of AOR melodic hard rock, thanks to greater, more diverse, and creative songwriting. Definitely all killer and no filler. Get it. Quite recommended.

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