Shiva Desert Dreams 2004 MTM Music - Reviewed by: Zerohour
|Track Listing01. MYSTERY OF MIND|
02. DESERT DREAMS
03. UNJUSTIFY THE TRUTH
04. COMPLETELY STRANGERS
05. LOSING MY CHILD
06. PASSENGER OF LIFE
08. PORNO STAR
09. DAWNING OF A NEW HORIZON
10. THE PREACHER
Swedish duo Shiva is made up of Mats Edstrom on guitars and keyboards and Anette Johansson on vocals. Edstrom moved his first steps in music at the age of 15 joining a band called Arrow and supported the tours of bands like Europe and Motorhead. After Arrow left the scene, Edstrom took part in lots of projects, bought a recording studio and in 1992 he created Yankee Heaven where he met Anette Johansson. As Shiva they released a self-titled album in 2002 for Z Records and signed for MTM Records which published this amazing CD “Desert Dreams” in January 2004.
If “Shiva” was AOR-oriented, “Desert Dreams” sounds like a modern version of Judas Priest, Painkiller-era, with his solid hard rock background mixed up with melodic rock. I must say that what makes this an outstanding album is the incomparable voice of Anette Johansson: her style, her vocal extension and her interpretations makes her unique and hardly comparable to any other.
Ten sparkling tracks all gifted with a strong identity where guitars and keyboards are great bearing columns; the singer’s voice is so strong that it sometimes loses its female feature… when I found out the vocalist was a woman I couldn’t believe it!
The opener “Mystery Of Mind” is a catchy up-tempo number that traces the road all the album will travel on. AOR makes his presence felt in choruses of tracks as “Desert Dreams” or “Completely Strangers” while 80’s melodic rock influences “Passenger Of Life”. “Losing My Child” is, in my opinion, the best track of the album--Niclas Olson from Alyson Avenue accompanies on piano an incredible performance of the vocalist. An incorrect impression is that there are two different singers making a duet: one is sweet and suffering, the other one is screaming of anger. A masterpiece without a doubt.
“Crucified”, “Porno Star” and “Unjustify The Truth” are the most heavy-oriented with their scratching guitars and angry voice while “Dawning Of A New Horizon” is a classical ballad, a little bit flat and far from being original…The last track, “The Preacher” is the one which sounds like Priest more than any other one: Johansson here is nothing less than a lyrical singer reaching very high notes and the guitar solo reminds of Swedish axe hero Yngwie Malmsteen.
The album was recorded in Edstrom’s private studio and it is well produced: drums and bass could have been more powerful but this is what happens with a band with only two members.
“Desert Dreams” is surely a 9 out of ten, one of the greatest album of the year. I hope to see them live really soon!