Santana: Shape Shifter Review

Santana is back, and this time he’s almost all instrumental. He’s created his own record label, and for its first release, he’s done something a little different. In Shape Shifter, his latest studio record, he mostly sheds the weight of lyrics to allow his music to speak for itself.

It’s always fascinating to see what music can say without using any words at all. In this instance, Santana uses modern instrumental rock to explore Native American beliefs and to show us how connected we are with the world and each other.

His huge, sweeping soundscapes paint the image of past tragedies while his mastery of the electric guitar manifests itself in gigantic riffs that revel in the majesty and joy of life in the present.

A wide range of musical styles are covered, from native chants in the title track to classic stadium rock in “Nomad” all the way to the very spicy salsa-influenced track “Macumba in Budapest.”

Shape Shifter is a very large, very ambitious project, and Santana’s wealth of experience shows itself worthwhile as he pushes out into ever new territory. As Santana’s music shape shifts, so do the boundaries in modern rock.

The Review: 8/10

Can’t Miss Tracks

– Nomad
– Shape Shifter
– Metatron
– In the Light of a New Day

The Big Hit

– Nomad

Review by Tyler Quiring

Pete Francis

Pete Francis is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Blues Rock Review. Pete launched Blues Rock Review full-time in 2011 because he felt there was a major void in how the blues rock genre was covered. Pete is the host of Blues Rock Weekly and a co-host on the Blues Rock Show.

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