Infected Mushroom - Legend Of The Black Shawarma
I have a confession. I have not been following Infected Mushroom since the days of Classical Mushroom, nor even Converting Vegetarians. I first really got into the duo in 2007, with the release of Vicious Delicious. So you'll notice that, perhaps, I'm not a "true fan" or whatever that means. It seems a commonplace occurrence that as bands deviate from their initial themes and sounds, there is a vocal group that is there to loudly yell "this band sucks now" or "they've really jumped the shark with this album," or even "this album sucks, why couldn't it be more like --insert older album--." Such is the case with Infected Mushroom... though to be clear this 'deviation' occurred with Vicious Delicious, as Legend Of The Black Shawarma is thematically quite similar to its predecessor. Some people will like that, others will not. I am of the former persuasion.
Legend Of The Black Shawarma is replete with all the fashionings you'd come to expect from IM (Infected Mushroom); insane build-ups, eclectic vocals, and very intelligently programmed tracks. However, it does seem to me that IM has played this album quite "safe"; there's nothing like Artillery on this album. While there's nothing particularly wrong with playing it safe, the genre of psychedelic trance lends itself very well to exploration and experimentation. So I am rather disappointed in the conservative approach IM has taken to this album.
Compared to Vicious Delicious I'd say this album has a more solid tracklist, though it does not reach the same heights as Becoming Insane or Suliman. That said, there are a few tracks that are quite good.
Smashing The Opponent - The first single off the album is also exceptionally good. Featuring a guest performance by Korn vocalist Jonathan Davis, this track will likely become a favorite for anyone that enjoyed Vicious Delicious. One could say that this song comes very close to being outright pop, but listening to the cohesion and maniac synths of I.Zen and Duvdev will convince you that this is 100% Infected Mushroom.
Project 100 - For the purists out there, this track is worth a listen. This is a fairly traditional psychedelic trance track that features masterful progression and all the stylistic tendencies you'd come to expect from an IM effort. It's the longest track in the album, but it never falters even a second. Without a doubt the best track in Legend Of The Black Shawarma.
The Legend Of The Black Shawarma - Closing out the album is the title track. It has heavily spliced vocals, lush piano accompaniment, deviously sliced beats, and the traditional IM buildups. A great track, all in all and a fantastic way to close out the album on a high note.
While Legend Of The Black Shawarma doesn't innovate or do anything insanely-awesome-that-you'd-never-expect, it is very much a solid endeavor by Infected Mushroom that takes the style of Vicious Delicious and uses it to the utmost potential.
4 / 5