• 8/10
    ALMANA SHCHORA - Phantom Pain - 8/10


Zaza Recordings
Release date: March 21, 2010

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Sometimes lyrics matter more than music. However, there are tons of examples of how the music better channels the emotions inflicted by the lyrics. When it comes to themes of social disturbances in a particular society, those emotions can be bleak, unforgiving and quite depressed. Almana Shchora (Black Widow), based in Israel, is such a beast. This social animal, which indulges listeners, even if one does not understand Hebrew, to share the pain.

Israeli society is not what you always see in the media, it has its own inner social problems as any country has. Phantom Pain, Almana Shchora’s new album, is a product and an inner view of a somewhat ill society trying to cope with its own communal mess. The fight for the country’s survival and other elements took the Israeli society into a newfound emptiness filled with issues of identity, drugs, army, fear of coming wars and others. Almana Shchora, through their outstanding lyricism, made sure that every Israeli, and maybe any others that listens to their piece, to face the truth and try to work it out fast or that will be the end of them.

Musically, Almana Shchora made a few changes since their 1997 self-titled debut. Besides changing their line-up a bit, they used a different kind of Metal. Once there was a twisted form of Glam/Heavy Metal handled by cool Hard Rock features. Now, to be on the same side with the lyrics, and the band’s rising maturity, the music became rather dark. Inputs from Heavy Metal, Thrash Metal, Hardcore and modern Hard Rock are the band’s servants for this one. This hard mixture made the tunes from speedy heavy to flicks of feathers on one’s face. Nevertheless, Almana Shchora did go out to search for something new, as they mixed those sub-genres. Their music is quite basic and keeps to the point. In some areas, that simplicity did not buy them any additional points, yet in the end, it did not sour their efforts. Generally, Phantom Pain is an album for those who like modern Metal and for those who hope for something less tough in the same box.

One matter that was a bit disturbing over Phantom Pain are several aspects of production. On a number of of the tracks, probably over the mastering phase, some did not get the true power they needed so badly. When it comes to authority, it comes to the guitar volume/gain. Through tracks as “Dam, Zfardea”, “Kadish” and even “Lohkem Yakar” (especially this, which is a rather hard song about fallen soldiers), that distortion dish was badly needed. Moreover, sometimes it seems that Zulta, the band’s vocalist, has to battle the other band members to bring out his word, however, it’s good that this occurrence did not happen a lot.

Overall, Almana Shchora made a great comeback as an album releasing band. However, their language is solely Hebrew on their material. Yet, it does not mean others can not enjoy their music. If one can enjoy Rammstein or Oomph, one can dig the Almana.

Highlights: “Lohkem Yakar” (Dear Warrior), “Cama Peamim Savarta Ad 10” (How Many Times You Counted Till 10?), “Dam, Zfardea” (Blood, Frogs), “Zman Milhama” (Time Of War), “Kadish”, “Ima” (Mother).


  • Lior Stein

    Lior was a reviewer, DJ and host for our Thrash Metal segment called Terror Zone, based out of Haifa, Israel. He attributes his love of Metal to his father, who got him into bands like Deep Purple, Rainbow, Boston, and Queen. When he was in junior high he got his first Iron Maiden CD, The Number Of The Beast. That's how he started his own collection of albums. Also, he's the guitarist, vocalist and founder of the Thrash Metal band Switchblade. Most of his musical influences come from Metal Church, Vicious Rumors, Overkill, and Annihilator.

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