This is it...the day has finaly come where Santana releases an album not influenced by the success of Supernatural, now only one question remains...does it live up to the hype?
Ever since Santana anounced that he would be realising a series of albums, influenced not by his rescent albums, but his albums of the 70's starting with an instrumental album, i and countless of fans have been living with a perminant smile on our faces as it marked a new beginning for Santana and his music.
Now after months of waiting his first instrumental album, in nearly 20 years is finaly out and it doesn't dissapoint.
The album is entitled Shapeshifter, a title that perfectly sums up Santana's ability to transcend through genres and time. The album opens with the title-track Shapeshifter, a great track where Santana manages to capture the sound of yesteryear. The song starts of with Carlos playing melodic licks on his spanish guitar, while other instruments slowly join in. This introduction is fantastic, as it manages to create not only a great rythm, by the help of some solid drumming, but also a great build-up for the rest of the song. After the intro the song kicks in to high gear, with the inclusion of the main melody played by Carlos on his signature PRS and fastpased drumming.
I also have to mention the amazing organ playing, that as in the early years of Santana plays a major part in setting the atmosphere of not only the title-track, but the entire album, while managing to challenge the dominance of Carlos' guitarplaying.
It's a great track and it sets the bar high for the rest of the album.
In fear of making this review to long and boring i wil try to restrain myself and keep the rest of the review short.
One of my favorite tracks on the album is Spark of Devine, despite of the fact that it's only one minute long (yes that's right only one minute...) it manages to create an emotional impact in the same way song of the wind and love theme from spartacus did.
Another great track is Eres La Luz. It's the only track that features vocals and it has a latin vibe that will have you shaking your entire body.
The final track of the album also diserves a special mention. The track is called Ah, Sweet Dancer and features Carlos' son Salvador on the piano and you can feel the love between the two when they take turns playing some of the most beatiful music on the entire album.
Eventhough it isn't every track that manages to feel memorable, the album still succeeds in creating a great musical experince in the likes of the albums he made in the early 90's, that every Santana fan will enjoy.