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Shark Island Gathering Of The Faithful Frontiers Records
FRCD292
· Produced By: Sercombe, Black & German Villacorta

· Running Time: 66.34

· Release Date: Out Now

· Released:

· Musical Style: Melodic Hard Rock

· Links: Shark Island
91%
Songs: 90%
Sound: 93%
The return of Shark Island…who would have ever thought it? This is a great thing for fans of the band, unanimous in their belief that the band's career was cut short before they ever reached their full potential.
There remains such a passion for the band's debut album Law Of The Order that this release is bound to find it's way into many hands.
Those that didn't pick up on the band first time around get a second chance here, but I feel that the majority that will be impressed with this release will be those long established fans.
This is a very interesting release. It is not entirely as I expected it would be, but after living with it for some 2 months now, I could not imagine it being anything else.
First a little background – before eventually splitting up, the band wrote and recorded a staggering amount of demos. Many have grouped these tracks and one certain grouping was being traded as the band's unreleased second album.
Truth is, things never got that far. The great number of demos were just that and no second album was ever recorded. Until now.
Gathering Of The Faithful is the result. Frontman Richard Black proclaimed that the band would first have to go back before they could possible move forwards, so on this album, the band's choice of 13 of their best original demos were gathered and re-cut from scratch.
No polishing or re-mastering here - these are 100% new recordings and in some instances, completely new arrangements of some well traded classics. As a long time fan of the band, these songs are very familiar. The 2006 arrangement and fresh treatment of them however is not.
I think fans that know these songs will be of the same opinion I have. At first the new arrangements took some getting used to. I was very surprised on at least a couple of occasions. The band have put a new spin on a few tracks here and the production and overall sound quality is perfect for the band. It is clear and mixed brilliantly.
The band individually sounds as good now as they ever did. The vibe might be a little more laid back in places and the album is definitely a more mature piece of work, but the class of the band as writers and as musicians shines through in every way.
Several tracks have a more acoustic base and a raw, stripped back feel, yet the attitude of the debut remains.
The feeling of a mellower album is probably exaggerated by the relatively relaxed way the album starts. Blue Skies and Tomorrow's Child are acoustic driven and somewhat easy going compared with the angst of the debut.
Then there is the sultry The Stranger, which although slow in tempo, is a more riff driven track and features that trademark Richard Black snarl.
The uptempo pop/rocker Go West typifies this album. It has the bluesy swagger of the band's traditional sound and a great little chorus, but is more relaxed in the overall vibe.
The rock ballad Welcome Goodbye is a very cool update on the original demo. Haunting, soulful and totally commanding of the listener's attention, the song features a warm but edgy vocal and spells out why this band means so much to fans.
The subtle, smoldering rocker Life Goes On sees the band dabbling with their Led Zeppelin affinity and is another testament to the musical ability of the guys.
Down To The Ground is one track that hasn't been changed much from how it was written. I saw this track performed live by the band once in 1992 and to this day the melody remains familiar to me. This is classic rocking Shark Island and I love it.
Looking For The Sun has been updated beautifully. It was always a sentimental ballad, but this version features a brilliant vocal and a terrific updated arrangement. Another highlight.
Heaven has been rocked up a little and given a slightly more modern guitar sound, but still rocks as it always has and is another typical Shark Island rocker.
If I Had A Dream is another of my long time favourites songs of the 'lost demos'. In this case it has been given the most dramatic facelift of all the tracks. The uptempo anthem rock ballad has been turned on its head to be a soft, subtle, emotional and haunting ballad, with an acoustic guitar and a raw, emotional vocal delivering the message.
It has taken the most getting used to, but is such a classy song in every way.
Will To Power is another traditional bluesy Shark Island rocker and like Heaven and Down To The Ground, could easily have been lifted from the debut. Same could be said of Need Your Love and Temptation, which fulfill the trend of the album getting heavier as it progresses. These two dramatic hard rockers have been updated with a more contemporary sound, but the style will be easily recognizable to long time fans.
The Bottom Line
The awarded score is reflective on me being a long time fan, even since the debut. I think those equally fond of the band will be of the same thinking, but those new to the guys may not be as easily impressed.
Shark Island devotees finally have another album they can wrap their ears around and imagine most will be impressed. What cannot be mistaken is the class of the performance and production, which helps bring some classic songs into the now.
Discography / Previously Reviewed
· Law Of The Order
· Gathering Of The Faithful

Line Up:
· Richard Black: Vocals
· Spencer Sercombe: Guitars, Piano, Keyboards, Vocals
· Glen Sobel: Drums
· Christian Heilmann: Bass

Essential For Fans Of:
· Shark Island
· Richard Black
Track Listing
· Blue Skies
· Tomorrow's Child
· The Stranger
· Go West *
· Welcome Goodbye
· Life Goes On
· Down To The Ground *
· Looking For The Sun *
· Heaven *
· I Had A Dream *
· Will To Power *
· Need Your Love
· Temptation
--*Best Tracks


31/12/06: mi11ion - mi11ion2000@yahoo.com
Rating: 100
One of the best albums I own. I'd pay good money to see these guys live. Richard Black's vocals are amazing!

18/08/06: Zok - micke_016@hotmail.com
Rating: 69
Ok Shark Iland realeased a good record i the 90´s but this is not my cup of tea at all. Where are the good hooks?

05/08/06: Mike - mr140657@aol.com
Rating: 95
Both Andrew's and Carl1's reviews have got it right. Mature, well produced and vey musical. I love Paris Calling et al, but I'd have hated to hear something that was just an attempt to make Law...pt 2.

Carl1 - thanks for the tip - the ltd edition (signed by Richard) has found a home in the UK!

02/08/06: Ross S. - restorey2001@yahoo.com
Rating: 90
Frankly, this is better than "Law of the Order." I like that there is more dynamics in the songs - more shifts from light to heavy. The melodic structure of the songs is generally better as well. Richard Black sounds much better in his lower register, and he uses it to great effect on this album. These guys and Black 'N Blue were the great "should have beens" from the Sunset Strip scene. It would have been nice if they had some of the late period hits rather than Warrant, Slaughter, and the like.

30/07/06: CEDRIC - cedric.vacquier@wanadoo.fr
Rating: 70
I use to be a fan , but i think this release it's by far too soft !
You had to wait until the 4th track to have some good energy !
The middle tracks are better , but the begining it's too flat for me
Not a bad CD , but not a really good one either !
Better buy HOUSE OF LORDS last CD

29/07/06: kathy - kathy200@yahoo.com
Rating: 100
brilliant!

19/07/06: Rich Rizzi - megametaldude@gmail.com
Rating: 100
I love this band their new cd "Gathering Of The Faithful" is killer, I can't wait to see them live on stage, Everyone should buy this cd and support Shark Island.

18/07/06: Carl1 - rochford@noonan80.freeserve.co.uk
Rating: 95
This is a welcome return and although it doesn't rock as hard as I would have expected it has class written all over it. There is plenty for fans of Law of the Order to enjoy and some new twists with acoustic flavoured songs that really groove due to the solid rhythm section. Glen Sobel is superb on the skins. Richard Black sounds amazing too has a commanding sense of melody in his voice. This album is a grower and every time you hear it something else presents itself for your enjoyment.
Check out the bands website for a limited edition version in a fantastically packaged gold embossed digipack signed by Richard Black.


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