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December 10 , 2018
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Infected Mushroom - Legend of the Black Shawarma

 ( Hommega/Perfecto ,  Sep. 2009 )

1. Poquito Mas 3:39 2. Saeed 7:03 3. End of the Road 6:47 4. Smashing the Opponent (feat. Jonathan Davis) 4:10 5. Can't Stop 7:23 6. Herbert the Pervert 7:17 7. Killing Time (Feat. Perry Farrell) 3:04 8. Project 100 9:38 9. Franks 8:05 10. Slowly 9:00 11. The Legend of the Black Shawarma 7:11 12. The Doors- Riders on the Storm (Infected Mushroom remix) 4:29

Ever since B.P.Empire was released, Infected Mushroom has been subject of a fierce discussion whether they are sell out's or are re-inventers of the genre. There is a sort of love or hate relationship with them, which is both their curse and benefit. One thing is for sure, and that is that every album they release is a big evolution, whether good or bad, from the previous one. Even the skeptics agree that Converting Vegetarians could be regarded as psytrance and downtempo, but it was with this album the border between psy and mainstream really began to erode. And with the release of I'm The Supervisor the last skeptics also agreed that Infected have jumped the train. Then there were the people just taking Erez and Duvdev's music for what it was, music, or to express it in a more poetic way, art. I am on of them and have greatly enjoyed the last releases, but it is clear that the direction of those albums was towards a more mainstream appealing sound. If this was a conscious choice or just natural evolution is hard to say, but most probably it's a mix of both.

The Mushrooms are obviously trying to reach out to a new audience, but they are still faithful to their older fans. More so on this album than on Vicious Delicious. The tracks can be divided into two categories: The first I would call 'psychedelic metal with pop and strong electronic influences' (tracks 1-5, 7 & 11) and psytrance (tracks 6 ,8-10). It is important to say that the lyrics are not used in an ordinary way, but more as a part integrated in the tracks, often synthesized, modified and twisted la Infected recipe. That is very prominent in theme song (T11). I see it as a great way for introducing listeners to pure electronica, gently fading the border between voice and computer generated sounds.
The album has a very smart planning where you are presented with more rock/psy oriented tracks in the beginning. This is especially obvious with Smashing The Opponent (T4), where Korn singer, Jonathan Davis, makes his guest appearance. The track contains a lot of the typical Korn atmosphere, perfectly mixed with Infected's magnificent production skills and unique sound. You are then introduced to the non lyrical, pure psytrance tracks.

The old and reliable Infected Mushroom formula is very present on this album. Change of tempo, twisted sounds, epic sensations, darker mystical excursions, and blissful uplifting panoramas are almost exclusively present on all the psy-oriented tracks. Never at any part does it ever get tedious or repetitive, this is and has always been Infected Mushroom's main strength, always evolving, ever changing.

There are moments in the psytrance tracks, when all former doubt regarding this release is washed away, and I remember why I fell in love with the band in the first place. The contrast between different parts of a track can be immense, and it's a universal truth that contrasts are what life is all about. The joy, playfulness, seriousness, melancholy, bliss, wizardry, genius and everything in-between that we know from albums like Classical Mushroom and B.P.Empire are still present, you just have to look for it. And elements from all previous albums are here to be found for the attentive listener. Often I find myself being thrown back in time to former installments during my listening sessions. A touch of nostalgia is never wrong! My personal favorite is without doubt Slowly (T10), a flawlessly executed, pure psychedelic track. I feel it's no coincidence that Slowly has the penultimate position. It might be a hint. Erez and Duvdev are clearly showing they still got the vestige to make pure psychedelia. They just don't want to, or life put them in another direction.

Recomendation:  In regards of what I think the album is trying to accomplish, converting a new generation of listeners to a more psy/electronic sound, showing of genius production skills, making more money for the duo, and satisfying older fans with a few tracks, it's perfect with a capital P. This is Infected Mushroom anno 2009, love it or hate it. Or as Erez and Duvdev might have put it, either you are with us, or against us.

Review by : Melancholyman

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