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Album Review

Instead of playing the punk Balkan card again, this time around Kultur Shock turn more toward metal, and do it with the perfect producer — Jack Endino. He brings out not only their musicality, but also the crunch of guitars and the wail of vocals, especially on "Tutti Frutti" and the almost circus-like "Horse Thief," a song that goes through many moods, including a quieter interlude with stunning fiddle. That they've improved as a band is quite apparent. Everything has gelled, and the sense of risk-taking is palpable and exciting. They've also expanded their colors, venturing into the Middle East for "Hashishi," for example, and doing it very effectively. There's plenty of melody in with the metal, apparent in the themes from "Kamarage" and "Mustafa," which are quite lyrical. They're a band of quirks and forays off the normal, even the Balkan normal, and they've learned how to put the elements together most effectively, while still keeping the power of metal under it all. A record for both metalheads and world music fans.


Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Throw together a pair of Bosnians, a couple of Bulgarians, three Americans, and a bassist from Japan and you've got culture shock. Or at least Kultur Shock, the Seattle-based band who freely mix punk and metal with Balkan brass. Leader Gino Yevdjevich became a professional musician in his native Sarajevo when he was 16, making a good living playing commercial music. All that changed in 1991, when the war in the former Yugoslavia began. With no money and precious little food or electricity, the local...
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Kultura-Diktatura, Kultur Shock
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