Shelter was a New York based hardcore act that emerged from the straight-edge scene in the early 90's by vocalist Ray Cappo, who was a practicing Hare Krishna that enjoyed a lifestyle of clean and virtuous living. It's funny to think that he chose rock and roll as a profession, isn't it? Although, it might partially explain the development of music more "non-threatening" in nature as found on the two Roadrunner (currently Metal Mind) releases. Originally released in 1995, Mantra stands as the bands introduction into a more melodic and accessible take on the hardcore style as differentiated from previous band output.
Sometimes dubbed "Krishna-Core" due to that spiritual element that encompassed many of the lyrical ideas; there is a decidedly positive vibe that is fostered throughout the recording. Sonically, it falls somewhere between the output of Perry Farrell ("Metamorphosis" chorus) and The Beastie Boys; with a guitar driven pop sensibility that can recall Nirvana at times. In respect to that last influential nod, just listen to the very opening of the song "Progressive Man" (bonus track) and you will hear and almost "Come As You Are" type chord arpeggiation/re-harmonization. Coincidentally, this song is one of the more "progressive" songs that the band has done compositionally speaking; in part, due to the various tonal changes that comprises the verses and chorus. "Surrender To Your T.V." might be the one song that can please some of the earlier aficionados of the band. Delivered with an "almost" pissed-off & cynical stance; its punchy guitar and poignant, self-explanatory lyrics really make quite an impression in this sea of accessibility. It does, however, make you wonder if this song was a left-over from an earlier time. "Letter to a Friend" almost prophetically describes how the fans were going to feel after hearing Mantra by saying, "Rebels from birth /this world had no worth /but you went astray one day" followed by… "And I don't think that it is right/that you gave up the fight/and walked away". This could be the mantra of the disenfranchised feeling that began on this recording and further complicated their appeal on the next.
This Metal Mind reissue includes: 24 Bit Digital remastering on a gold disc, 2 bonus songs and a video clip for "Here We go". If you are a fan of the band than the bonus song "Progressive Man" is really worth it because it's arguably the best song on here; not to mention a pretty good working of "We Can Work it Out" by the Beatles.
1. Message of the Bhagavat
2. Civilized Man
3. Here We Go
6. Not The Flesh
9. Surrender To Your T.V.
10. Letter To A Friend
12. Progressive Man (bonus track)*
13. We Can Work it Out (bonus track)
14. Here We Go (video cli