CZAKAN – State Of Confusion ’89 [Pride & Joy Music remastered] (2023) HQ *Exclusive*
The time has come: the re-release of the much acclaimed CZAKAN debut album ”State of Confusion”, which was awarded ‘record of the month’ in ‘Metal Star’ when it was released in 1989 and sold around 25,000 copies in Germany. The outstanding 2023 remastering by Robin Schmidt at 24-96 Mastering Karlsruhe brings the 1989 production far more than just to today’s level.
None other than Reinhold ‘Mack’ (Queen, Rolling Stones, ELO and many more) contacted the boys and invited them to a weekend at the Musicland Studios in Munich. He put Czakan to the next step of their career, recording a couple of songs.
This is pure German / Scandi Melodic Hard Rock / AOR akin Treat, Europe, Bonfire, Pretty Maids, etc, with melodic riffs, pumping basslines, mysterious sci-fi keyboards / synths, and ‘that’ big vocals / choruses.
A more than welcomed remastered reissue of a catchy album very hard to find with used copies above U$S 180.
Frank Bornemann, owner of Horus Sound Studio Hanover and mastermind of German based band Eloy, knocked. In April 1988 he signed Czakan to Edition Metromania – a cooperation with Warner Chappell publishing. The musical fine-tuning of the rough diamond Czakan began.
The band reaped the first benefits of this cooperation with the silver medal at the young talent festival, which the Rockfabrik Ludwigsburg organized in cooperation with the magazine ‘Metal Hammer’ on Boxing Day 1988. In the audience, executives of former German record company Intercord. After many lucrative offers, the band finally decided to sign a record deal with the guys from Stuttgart.
In June 1989 Czakan boarded the Horus Sound Studios. During that summer they created their first record. ‘State of Confusion’ was born. Already, after the first feedbacks it became clear that this band easily could measure up with any international competition. A tour across Germany followed as the opening act for Uriah Heep’s 20th Anniversary tour.
After that, and due to internal conflicts, the trail of this brilliant band unfortunately got lost in the sands of time… until today, because Czakan is back. With a grandiose remaster of ”State of Confusion” and lots of news for spring 2023.
Opening with ‘State of Confusion’, the listener is greeted with some pronounced harmonies and a magic ’80s synth intro that leads to a solid guitar-screaming groove very reminiscent of other bands from the time period. Familiar, but very effective.
Next up is the equally solid ‘Tears’. I love the rhythm in the verses and the slow down in the bridge just before the burst of energy that accompanies the chorus. However, the chorus is a bit of a let-down in that it’s too vocally busy. Lead singer Michael Schennach sings the lyrics while the background vocals sing a different set of lyrics and all of it is at the same levels, creating a overlap that muddles the sound.
In contrast, later track ‘Rock Will Survive’ has a perfect utilization of gang vocals that makes the chorus soar and compels the listener to sing along. It’s one of the best tracks found on this release.
‘Rock Will Survive’ is part of what I call the triple attack. Three killer songs in a row that are the pinnacle of the album (Tracks 6, 7, and 8).
First up is the very Bonfire-esque ‘So Cold’, with its opening being reminiscent of the track ‘Sword and Stone’. As an old-school Bonfire fan, this track could have come off their Fireworks album and will surely be a favourite track for fans of 80s melodic rock.
‘Eyes of The Gods’ takes the trophy for best riff. I am a sucker for bands that stop almost all of their instruments to let the guitar take the spotlight and showcase the main riff at the opener and guitarist Oliver Güttinger tears it up! The best guitar solo is found on this track as well. I listened to this track five times in a row before moving onto the rest of the album.
Then when I thought I had heard my favourite track on the album, along comes ‘Rock Will Survive’, a mid-tempo basher with a simple but incredibly good chorus.
Due in no small part to those songs collected together, I did find the second half of the album to be stronger than the first. Following those three songs is the fast paced, almost metallic ‘Thunder and Lightning’ and then an abrupt tempo change with the ballad ‘Too High To Touch’. Both songs are sonically diametrical but effective in their delivery to stir both the blood and the heart, respectively.
Many fans of the genre never heard about CZAKAN or their album ”State of Confusion” and I’m glad Pride & Joy Music remastered / reissued the CD and the group is getting a chance to be re-discovered.
It’s interesting to hear that they plan on giving it a go again nearly 35 years after their debut. Has a band ever done a “one and done” album only to return to the scene after a three-decade absence? One would think the magic would be gone or at least diminished, but I’m rooting for them.
This is a great collection of songs and if they can replicate what made this album so special, then we are going to be in for the surprise album of the year. Best of luck, gentlemen.
You’ve seen it first at 0dayrox
01 – State of Confusion (remastered 2023)
02 – Tears (remastered 2023)
03 – Run with the Wind (remastered 2023)
04 – King of Temptation (remastered 2023)
05 – High Speeder (remastered 2023)
06 – So Cold (remastered 2023)
07 – Eyes of the Gods (remastered 2023)
08 – Rock will Survive (remastered 2023)
09 – Thunder and Lightning (remastered 2023)
10 – Too High to Touch (remastered 2023)
11 – Heartbreak Savage (remastered 2023)
Vocals – Michael Schennach
Guitar – Oliver Güttinger
Keyboards – Tommy Fein
Bass – Frank Schrafft
Drums – Randy Arcachon
Backing Vocals – The Black Forest Allstars