(11 December 2000) Scheherezade are a dynamic club-oriented rock
band from Denver, Colorado (USA). Their self-released debut album Preak
was produced by vocalist and engineer Heather Lee at the beginning of 2000.
The group originated in 1998 when four musicians and long-time friends reunited
to create their own unique sound. Their main focus is currently on recording
their second album and may involve a move to the east coast next year. Heather
told us, "We feel we can reach more people through our performances simply
because there are more people to play for in the tri-state region. Exposure,
marketing and promotion will be key, but we need to target the right
Preak is comprised of ten original harder-edge progressive
rock-oriented tracks with heavy guitar and keyboard excursions and layered
vocal textures. Musical Discoveries was also provided a short demo of work
in progress with tracks "Blue Star" and "Autumn." Percussion and keyboards
are substantially more dominant than guitar contrasting the band's debut
album sound. The new ballad "Autumn" is moody but it is also highly melodic
with solo electric guitar underscoring Heather's soothing vocal layers.
Heather told us, "I wanted to include a few more songs on the
demo because it would provide a better idea of which stylistic direction the
band has been heading, but the studio that I work in and where we record has
been booked and I can only record off hours, of which there have been few."
Preak, by contrast has a heavier, mid-70s-ish Yes edge. Heather
continued, "We are intentionally weeding out the 1980s 'guitar-hero' sound
which you hear in some of the songs such as 'Close Proximity' and 'Road's
Whisper.' These songs were written long ago and we just had to get them
out of our system." A similar style is evident in the album's opening,
Those familiar with the British band and Classic Rock Society
favourite Fula will certainly hear a similarity to Scheherezade instrumentally
and vocally in the track "Secrets," "The Chase" and "911" where keyboards and
guitar blend with vocals to carry the song's melody forward. The album's
darker tracks include "Tumbleweed," "Spanish Rice" and the gloomy beginning
of "Close Proximity."
"Road's Whisper" is a melodic progressive rock track.
It's almost spoken solo vocals are supported by backing harmonies that
seamlessly blend with the instrumentals. Another progressive rock
number is is "Shameless." Layers of Heather Lee's bluesy vocals soar
above instense keyboard and guitar-based harmonies. We especially
enjoyed the softly rocking ballad "Her Way Out" with its striking
guitar solos and Heather Lee's sultry vocal lead and lovely layered
backing harmonies. The album concludes with the dynamic "Close
Proximity." Layers of vocals ride above a progressive and dynamically
arranged instrumental with crisp percussion, a metal-edged guitar and
lush keyboards. It is a fantastic concluding track.
Two tracks from the Preak album were selected to
be used in the feature-length film Picture of Priority, dealing
with teenage suicide. "The Chase" and "Stonegate" were chosen for a
couple of the rebellious scenes. The band's debut album can be obtained
at their official website and at their live performances in and around
Denver. Preak effectively captures the band's sound and with its
harder edge will appeal to progressive rock enthusiasts. A rather
significant departure from Renaissance—who they are compared to at
mp3.com—the band's music is adventurous in its genre and should be
explored further online. Notable instrumental and vocal
performances make the album a nice listen.