One thing I can say right off the bat about The Shackleton Experience by Karl Schmaltz is that the concept is original. According to his website “The Shackleton Experience is a concept album that drops the listener back over 100 years to embark on a journey with Sir Ernest Shackleton aboard the Endurance and experience first-hand one of the most legendary stories of survival.”
Schmaltz doesn’t as much sing but narrates across the eight tracks on the album. He tells his story with emotional conviction as the music plays to emphasize the arch. His music comes in the form of post-rock, metal and some places in between. It’s fairly standard palette of drums, bass and guitar which often reaches for epic moments, chaotic interludes and more.
To Schmaltz’s credit The Shackleton Experience is a complete DIY effort. He played every instrument and took care of all the production, which is mighty impressive. The recording quality is good and Schmaltz has some serious technical skills as a drummer and guitarist.
I’m not going to give away the story but I will say it is an adventure worth taking even if it’s only once. Schmaltz’s narration sounds so serious at points that it comes off as comedic at times. I’m honestly not sure if this was intentional or not but I thought it worked either way. Since the songs aren't really something you can sing along to a little bit of comic relief was a good thing. Some of these moments occur when Schmaltz takes on more than one character in dialogue or the anxiety-ridden part where the crew is facing turbulent storms.
Overall, the story is engaging even if some of the lyrics were hard to make out at times. I have to say I think that some kind of illustration would be so cool with this project. If he could work with someone to draw a cartoon to go along with the music he could probably sell the package to schools, parents, etc.
Schmaltz is a young man with a unique mind and at only nineteen years old I’m sure is going to have some more out of the box type projects up his sleeve. In the meantime I can recommend you check out The Shackleton Experience - it’s certainly an original idea.
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