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Six years in the making, local Wellington metallers, Shakhan, released their debut Extended Play 'In The Zone' in November 2002. Deeply immersed in the scene from a young age of 15, Shakhan have been influenced and shaped by a wide selection of artists ranging from devastating yet melodic composers to classic eighties thrash metal bands.

Melodic and danceable without sacrificing rhythmic intensity and roughness, Shakhan create a groove based sound while still keeping true to the conventions and unique qualities of metal. Keeping it real and at the same time pushing the sound to a new dimension.

Uplifting and positive, they enhance a dynamic new angle on the metal sound; their style is a mixture of brutal grooves, charging guitar riffs, deep driving bass lines and harsh roughneck vocals.

From the very beginning (they still remain humble and down to earth) as a high school band in Wellington, Shakhan emulated such groups as
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SHAKHAN In The Zone album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
In The Zone
Power Metal 2002

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EP · 2002 · Power Metal
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Vim Fuego
You know when you’re not expecting much from something, but then when you get it, your expectations are completely blown away, and you wonder how you could have been so far from the mark? Listening to Shakhan’s ‘In The Zone’ was one of those occasions.

The CD came with a vague warning “it sounds a bit nu-metal-ish in places…”, which conjured up images of grown men whining like spotty teens, idiots dressed up in masks rejected from “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 17”, and guitars deliberately out of tune to disguise a lack of playing ability. Happily, the warning was wrong.

It’s always good to hear something which feels familiar, even on a first listen. A number of bands come to mind listening to this little EP- Re-Animator, Iron Maiden, Sacred Reich, Death Angel, Anthrax. Old school metal is alive and well, and resides in New Zealand.

In an age of one finger chords played over and over passing as “metal”, this was a refreshing listen. The rhythm guitar is strong but versatile. The riffing is far from straight forward, chopping all over the place, and intermeshed with leads, twin leads, harmonics, and plenty of other little effects.

The first riff on opener “Moth sounds a little like Skid Row’s “Slave To The Grind”, the only decent riff Skid Row ever wrote. Shakhan wrote lots of them.

While only five songs long, this EP shows an excellent understanding of dynamics and songwriting ability. “Sandstorm” has an epic feel to it, while the title track would be a mosh pit favourite.

An unusual aspect of the band is the vocals. They are shouted, yet tuneful, in the vein of Roger Miret from Agnostic Front or Lou Koller from Sick Of It All. There are also shades of Poison Idea and latter day MOD. The hardcore influence adds a more modern edge to Shakhan’s sound, even though a lot of it is reminiscent of the late 80s and early 90s.

After repeated listens, the nu-metal sound never emerges, for which we should all be grateful.

-rewritten from a review which first appeared in the Ashburton Guardian, 19 June, 2003.

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