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Review

Shumaun – Memories And Intuition Review

Band: Shumaun
Album: Memories And Intuition
Label: Independent
Genre: Prog Rock
Country: US
Release Date: September 10th, 2021
For Fans Of: Dream Theater, Rush, Porcupine Tree

Memories And Intuition is the third release by progressive metal band Shumaun. This band flirts with the rhythmic pulses of Tool without sounding like a tribute band. The vocals dredge up memories of Fates Warning. On Memories And Intuition, Shumaun opts to fill in the gaps in a long lineage of progressive metal rather than trying to find new ground. Ideally, excellent performances and songwriting will prop up Memories And Intuition as a progressive performance that cannot be ignored.

The performances certainly do their part. Shumaun play their instruments with utter precision. The articulation adds to the melodic passages and makes the music feel three dimensional. Dynamically, the record ebbs and flows to lean towards big moments and to give the sense of culmination that many prog records can lose in the weeds. All of Memories And Intuition exists in service to these big moments. However,they wouldn’t work without every note exactly in its place. To that end, Shumaun has succeeded. One finds the fingerprints of a talented and hard-working band with minimal investigation. Even when the bass drums settle into a groove, they feel less like backing noise and more like active, breathing drivers of the music.

The promo material nearly immediately addresses those big moments, and they stuck with me more than anything else after my first listen. Almost every track has some sort of vocal apex. Memories And Intuition features near constant waves of guitars, which aid in the ebbs and flows of the record. When Shumaun needs them to, these waves turn into tsunamis. Big hooks have always been a contrasting core to the sometimes messy complications of progressive music, and Shumaun understands their purpose.

There are some stunning guitar solos throughout Memories And Intuition. None of these solos sound overly complex, none of them are technical masterpieces. Instead, they breathe and flow with the song. Memories And Intuitions is smooth, and the solos are no exception. The notes sound as natural as can be. Without the unexpected, and without showing off, the core of these amazing solos comes from earnest emotional poignancy.

Unfortunately, Memories And Intuition becomes too smooth at times. This record feels like the breaking point of progessive rock and metal. While the performances are uniformly excellent, the songs themselves still rigidly adhere to the dogma set forth by the genre masters. Not every record has to reinvent music. However Shumaun often feels thinner than smoke on this record. Those vocal culminations at the center of the record feel less like emotional breakthroughs and more like a checkmark. All meaning feels lost.

The length of Memories And Intuition doesn’t help either. The record lasts for over an hour, and it shouldn’t. Individual tracks wander off-course, sometimes as soon as they start. So much of this record feels like it only exists because the band wanted to create a progressive album, and therefore felt like they needed longer instrumental passages and more padded out music. I obviously wasn’t in the recording studio, and I don’t know what the actual recording process was like. However, I cannot ignore the feeling that Memories And Intuition exists to sound a certain way first, and to be good music second. Decisions were made in service of the dogma, and not in service of the sound.

Still, Shumaun knows their stuff. Memories And Intuition overflows with talent. Even if the choruses are formulaic, they still sound nice. The well-played guitar lines and impressive drums sound delightful. All of these good pieces just don’t come together in a satisfying way. I’d recommend this to people who still regularly listen to newer Fates Warning and Dream Theater records. Hopefully this record was made for you.

Rating: 5/10

Tracklist:

  1. A Subtle Invocation
  2. Prisoners
  3. Memories Of Water
  4. Jabriel’s Song
  5. Invincible
  6. Under The Sun
  7. The Pursuit Of Happiness
  8. Tides
  9. Intuition Underground
  10. Breathing Light
  11. A Planetary Shift
  12. The Day We Said Goodbye

Total Playing Time: 01:03:28

Click here to visit Shumaun’s Bandcamp

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