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SMAK

Jazz Rock/Fusion • Yugoslavia


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Smak biography
SMAK was formed 1971 in Kragujevac, the present Serbia and Montenegro, by a guitar virtuoso Radomir MIHAJLOVIC nicknamed "Tocak" (the Wheel). The first stable line-up was assembled in late 1974 including Slobodan Stojanovic (drums), Zoran Milanovic (bass), Boris Arandjelovic (vocals) and Lazar RISTOVSKI (keyboards). During 1977-78 Ristovski was replaced by first Miki PETKOVSKI and then by Tibor Levay on keyboards, while in the period 1979-81 Dado Topic (ex TIME, KORNI GRUPA) collaborated with SMAK as producer and occasional guest vocalist before the band broke-up in late 1981. The original line-up gathered again in 1986 with a new keyboardist Milan Djurdjevic, but after the release of one LP they split again. The third comeback of SMAK happened in 1992 with Ristovski again as a member, when they mostly played concerts in Serbia and issued a live album. Finally, in 1994 SMAK re-appeared again, this time along with Tocak and Stojanovic they added younger musicians: Dejan Stojanovic (second drum kit), Dejan Najdanovic (vocals), Vlado Samardzic (bass) and Milan Milosavljevic (guitar).

SMAK was celebrated for Tocak's virtuosity in guitar playing, modelled on J. Hendrix and J. Page style, and for interesting, if not always successful, fusion of hard rock, prog rock, jazz rock with strong blues backing, with Arandjelovic's falsetto vocal often used as an instrument rather than singing. "Ulazak u harem", a folk-inspired instrumental issued as hit-single in 1975, showcased Tocak as one of the guitar-heros of ex-Yugoslavian music scene of the 1970s, while albums "Crna dama" ("Black Lady") and "Stranice naseg vremena" ("The Pages of Our Time") were highly celebrated among prog fans and were even released in English versions for the Western market. Their reunion, from the second half of 1980s onward, turned the musical direction of the band into less-inspired mainstream hard rock, abandoning any prog elements. As a comparison, one can mention similarities in style with artists such as DEEP PURPLE, TASTE, TRAFFIC, DOOBIE BROTHERS, SANTANA, LEB I SOL.

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Buy SMAK Music


SmakSmak
Import
Eastern Time
Audio CD$18.81
Smak / Rock To The RhythmSmak / Rock To The Rhythm
Rude Boy
Vinyl$8.45 (used)
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CD SMAK ODLIVENO LIVE ALBUM 1992 one records USD $18.00 Buy It Now 3 days
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Smak ?- Crna Dama / Plava Pesma RARE YUGO PROG ROCK ORIGINAL 1977 SINGLE 7" USD $16.00 Buy It Now 7 days
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SMAK-CRNA DAMA/PLAVA PESMA-ORIGINAL YUGOSLAV HARD-PROGRESSIVE ROCK PS 45rpm 1977 USD $7.99 Buy It Now 18 days
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POP START- V/A 12"LP KORNI GRUPA INDEXI SMAK YU GRUPA POP MASINA JUTRO 1975 EX USD $75.00 Buy It Now 18 days
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ASKA DISCO ROCK ALL FEMALE BAND 1982 SMAK BIJELO DUGME RARE EXYUG CASSETTE TAPE USD $14.24 Buy It Now 19 days
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HVAD GLANS BEHAG OCH SMAK 1700-tal Musica Sveciae MSCD903 1993 Sweden CD USD $6.99 Buy It Now 20 days
Smak LP Black Lady USD $9.75 Buy It Now 20 days
SMAK THE BEST OF SMAK , SERBIAN PROGRESSIVE ROCK CD USD $18.00 Buy It Now 20 days
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SMAK discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

SMAK top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.39 | 27 ratings
Smak
1975
4.28 | 44 ratings
Crna Dama [Aka: Black Lady]
1977
4.08 | 22 ratings
Stranice Naseg Vremena [Aka: Dab In The Middle]
1978
4.00 | 8 ratings
Black Lady
1978
2.28 | 6 ratings
Dab In The Middle
1978
1.69 | 10 ratings
Rock Cirkus
1980
4.35 | 22 ratings
Zasto Ne Volim Sneg
1981
1.44 | 8 ratings
Smak '86
1986
3.07 | 9 ratings
Bioskop Fox
1995
3.03 | 8 ratings
Egregor
1999

SMAK Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.71 | 6 ratings
odLIVEno
1992
3.91 | 5 ratings
Live Without Audience
1997
3.59 | 4 ratings
3. Mart 2000. Kragujevac Klub
2002

SMAK Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

SMAK Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.53 | 5 ratings
Ulazak U Harem - Plava Pesma
1977
3.10 | 2 ratings
Retrospektiva
1992
3.42 | 5 ratings
The Best Of Smak
1996
3.05 | 3 ratings
Star? Mlad. Vecan?*
1996
2.27 | 3 ratings
Istorija
2001

SMAK Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.67 | 3 ratings
Zivim... Biska 13
1974
4.00 | 3 ratings
Ulazak u Harem / Sto Ptica
1975
4.00 | 3 ratings
Ulazak u Harem / Epitaf
1975
4.00 | 4 ratings
Ljudi, Nije Fer
1976
3.24 | 6 ratings
Satelit
1976
3.50 | 2 ratings
Crna Dama (single)
1977
3.50 | 2 ratings
'Alo
1977
3.75 | 4 ratings
Smak Super 45
1978
3.50 | 4 ratings
Na Balkanu
1979
2.67 | 3 ratings
Rock Cirkus (single)
1980

SMAK Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Smak by SMAK album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.39 | 27 ratings

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Smak
Smak Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Orpheus-keys

3 stars Smak's s/t debut encompasses a wide range of variety. It is thoroughly ambitious in nature and it seethes with youthful enthuasism; - notably the track 'Perle' which kickstarts the album with a driving guitar theme led by Radomir Mihajlović "Točak", until the rest of the group join in and it becomes a mini-anthem with flashes of r'n'r ambience. Boris Aranđelović's style of singing is quite rowdy and extroverted; especially during brief outbreaks of falsetto which are a little bit too predominant in the mix, - allowing himself to become a little too exposed. Thankfully most of the record's shortcomings are somewhat endearing and it IS a stellar example of a record that gets better with every track. It has to be said from an objective direction that the group are stronger during the fusion- based moments, particularly the 19-minute closing track 'Put od Balona' which undergoes several exciting melodic themes, eccentric chord changes and soothing tempo changes whilst near-perpetually showcasing the remarkable talent of keyboardist Laza Ristovski and his lightning-speed organ chops, making it undoubtably the strongest track on the record and a must-listen for fans of ELP's 'Tarkus' and Focus's 'Eruption', - the latter being a stronger candidate in terms of structure-comparison. 'Biska 2' is the other instrumental track on the album, a four-minute hard-rocker which captures the musicians at their most organized and melodically accessible which should be instantly appealing for fans of guitar / synth interplay. In fact, the whole record should be very enthralling for guitar enthuaists; - Radomir Mihajlović in his heydey was regularly cited as 'The Yugoslavian Hendrix', but as a modern observer it's fair to say he was perhaps more versatile as he's prone to switch from psychedelic riffage to extended Hendrix-esque blues solos whilst still retaining a degree of acoustic sensitivity when necessary. 'Blues u Parku' is a fine example of his ability as a guitarist but the overall structure of the song isn't very captivating in comparison to the others.
 Stranice Naseg Vremena [Aka: Dab In The Middle] by SMAK album cover Studio Album, 1978
4.08 | 22 ratings

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Stranice Naseg Vremena [Aka: Dab In The Middle]
Smak Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Whilst I preferred the more instrumental take that Smak would take on 1980's Za?to ne volim sneg, this release does at least benefit from some nice vocals from Boris Arandjelovic.

Buyer beware: there was an English-language version of this album issued called Dab In the Middle, notable for cover art which looked like a rejected idea for a Scorpions cover. That version is best avoided, because the translation of the lyrics was slipshod and Arandjelovic clearly struggled to deliver the lyrics in English (which is perfectly understandable - singing outside of your native language is *hard*). The tragic thing is that the translation really wasn't necessary - you don't need to understand the words here to appreciate Arandjelovic's beautiful performance in his own, more comfortable mother language, and I would in fact set his performance here next to those of the greatest vocalists of the Italian prog scene - there's the same command of both operatic majesty and delicate nuance.

 Zasto Ne Volim Sneg by SMAK album cover Studio Album, 1981
4.35 | 22 ratings

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Zasto Ne Volim Sneg
Smak Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Radomir Mihajlovic hadn't meant to make another Smak album - especially after the creative blunder which was Rock Cirkus - but he accidentally did so anyway, as you might expect when the lineup here essentially consists of Smak minus its lead singer Boris Arandjelovic. This means that the album mixes instrumental tracks with ones with guest vocalists, in both cases working a style of jazz fusion which in some respects seems to point the way towards the neo- prog sounds of the early 1980s. An interesting little prog artifact from the years between the decline of the first prog wave and the rise of the next one, with a gloriously moody atmosphere that will appeal to fusion fans and neo-prog fans alike.
 Smak by SMAK album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.39 | 27 ratings

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Smak
Smak Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by GKR

4 stars ...and my journey for the reviewing of Smak album begin!

Yugoslavian prog is not exactly news, since I begun with Drago Mlinarec (still listen now and then) with some S Vremna Na Vremne and Drugi Nacin and later, of course, the beautiful Leb I Sol. But Smak was another kind of taste. The kind that grew slowly to become a whole with you. So, lets do it.

Smak' first album is of course one of their most hard rocking (at least of the begining of their career), and the first song is already a blast with heavy guitar and a performatic and powerfull vocals delivered in Ian Gillan's fashion. A tread for who like the genre. Mračni mol and Blues u parku are more "classical" and sit alongside more with blues... but not necessarily not-enjoyable, for that matter. The hard rock come again in Biska II, where a nice and full riff, reminding me the best moments of BUDGIE, finds way in a great closing song (for the a-side, in the case). The last song, a great epic, full instrumental, with amazing keyboard solos and fluent passages through each instrument is as good as any release of Uriah Heep, with some leanings towards some soundigns of FOCUS (Hamburgo Concerto), but it has its own spirit and caracter, certainly.

Its a solid 3,5 release, but as ambitious and strong debut are woth to be praise, I'am not afraid of roundig up!

 Crna Dama [Aka: Black Lady] by SMAK album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.28 | 44 ratings

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Crna Dama [Aka: Black Lady]
Smak Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by GKR

5 stars Second time in Smak' world. Second album. And what a album!

Bands that shows a great maturity from their debut to the second album must always be rpaised. Making music (and original music) may not be easy as it seems. Crna Dama (or, Black Lady) is perhaps one of the best Yugoslavian albums, and certainly a essential album of the genre (Jazz, Rock, Fusion and Jazz-Rock-Fusion).

All the caracteristics of the previous albums are persent, but they are perfected: the vocals are warm, the keyboards envolves you and the guitar lead you into the music (thats an expression I use a lot, but artists who REALLY do it are difficult to find). The three first tracks are great examplaries of the whole album, in a manner. The first brings the album with a great and catchy rythm, the sencond warm you all around with the vocals, but especially with the keyboards and guitars, and the third is a cheer up festival of all instruments showing the band members hability. "Alo" must have been a great track to play it live, and shows a jam in studio (something reminding me Deep Purple, I guess), "Tegoba" return to melody, as "Daire" dares to came back with great vocals. The closing track is a great closure for the whole ensemble, returning to the more melodic aproach of the album even with some string arreangements.

In a total time of 35 minutes, not exaclty a long album, Crna Dama is a work that can be easily apreciated but at the same time chalenges you to find the best spots that most suites you right after tha album is finished. As I already said, its a essential album, not only for the local scene, but for the universality of the musicianship. 5 Starts.

 Smak by SMAK album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.39 | 27 ratings

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Smak
Smak Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars A very good and popular group from Kragujevac, Serbia, originally named Gentry and formed around friends Radomir Mihajlović Točak (guitars) and Slobodan Stojanovic Kepa (drums).Next to join the group were bassist Zoran Milanovic and singer Slobodan "Koma" Kominac, while the line-up was completed with Misa Nikolic on Hammond organ.After kicking off as a cover band, the first original tracks brought and a change of name to Smak.Several line-up changes and a couple of short breaks later, while struggling to find a steady fan base, only Mihajlovic, Milanovic and Stojanovic remained from the original core, which by 1974 included Boris Aranđelović on vocals and Laza Ristovski on keyboards.A far better period followed with the first single of the group, lives next to Bijelo Dugme and Pop Masina, while they opened for Deep Purple during their venue in Belgrade in March 1975.Signed by ZKP RTLJ, they recorded a couple of more singles and their self-titled debut saw the light in the second half of 1975.

The diversity and talent of the group becomes clear already during the first few songs.While not very proggy, the tracks of the opening side offer inspiring, melodic and well-executed compositions with Classic Rock, Blues and psychedelic influences, highlighted by Mihajlovic'es incredible guitar workouts and Arandelovic'es crystalline voice.Keyboards help a lot by adding an excellent depth with mostly some great organ work, while the second tracks features some very GENTLE GIANT-like parts on clavinet.Very important is the fact that most of these pieces contain plenty of room for instrumental exercises, while the vocal parts are absolutely harmonic and expressive.The highlight is definitely ''Biska 2'' (dating from the group's early days), where the guitar work of Mihajlovic trully shines.From the decent compositions of the first side we turn to the excellence of the sidelong track ''Put od balona'', clocking at 19 minutes and covering the whole flipside.With links to the sound of TAKO and inspirations from KORNI GRUPA, this is a fantastic piece of Symphonic Rock with Folk and jazzy breaks, featuring rich instrumental themes, tightly connected movements and a well-synchronized sound overall.The psychedelic side of the group is not completely gone, but ''Put od balona'' is definitely built on keyboards to a higher deegree, twisting from smooth, melodic lines with symphonic leanings to more frenetic Fusion-like textures with impressive guitar solos and a loose attitude as a whole.Among the very best epics of ex-Yugoslavian Progressive Rock.

There is a CD reissue around by ZKP RTLJ, featuring material composed for the early and later singles of Smak along with a rock interpretation of a Scopian Folk song.Influenced by acts such as DEEP PURPLE and JIMI HENDRIX, these tracks move on a Heavy/Psych/Blues Rock field with edgy guitar and organ parts, but melody is always present.''Zajdi, zajdi'' though, the aforementioned Folk piece, is more than impressive.Based on the melancholic guitar of Mihajlovic and the atmospheric synthesizers, this ends up to be a highlight of Smak's early recordings and a good reason to chase the reissue.

A really nice album, among the goodies of Serbian Prog.The sidelong track alone deserves your attention, but the rest of the material is also good, albeit a bit far from the exceptional style of ''Put od balona''.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

 Live Without Audience by SMAK album cover Live, 1997
3.91 | 5 ratings

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Live Without Audience
Smak Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by BORA

3 stars So near - yet so far...

In recent months, I've checked out a handful of SMAK albums. Most of them are showing definite talent and if one grew up with the band, the support would be understandable. Definitely not Pop. Jazz-Rock it isn't either, more like somewhat proggy Rock.

In my search for a missing element I've turned to this live performance, hoping that the band may be able to stretch out somewhat and make me persevere with them as a result.

Well, not much luck. here either. Well, not bad at all, but the odd nod towards Hendrix - bordering on plagiarism - the drum solo, still won't fill that vacuum. This band just refuses to "swing" and the otherwise notable abilities remain pretty much wasted as such. I am left with the impression of buttered bread with the bread missing.

It's hard for me to tell good musicians that they underperform, but equally, if they fail to create the excitement, I am not the one responsible for that.

A potentially 4-5 star band siting on a solid 3. A bit of a loss, but some rather barefoot Gospel elements just won't cut the mustard. Even Van Morrison - someone I am not the least interested in - does a "better" job at that.

No, I don't assume that SMAK are conscious of doing heaps of Gospel, but to class them here as Jazz-Rock/Fusion is rather erroneous. Collaborators please take note.

 Ulazak U Harem - Plava Pesma by SMAK album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1977
3.53 | 5 ratings

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Ulazak U Harem - Plava Pesma
Smak Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This is a compilation or greatest hits album I guess you could say put out by their previous label to capitalize on the success of SMAK's second album. As Seyo mentions they used songs from the debut along with tracks from early EPs and singles. This is very much hit and miss for me and mostly the latter.

"Ulazak U Harem" is one of two tracks that I really enjoy. We get a steady beat with the guitar playing over top. This song would show up on their excellent third album. "Sumadijski Blues" is a smoldering blues number and it's a slow burner folks with vocals. Wyatt-like vocal melodies before 4 minutes as well. "El Dumo" is a ballad- like track with floating organ and vocals. Tasteful guitar 2 minutes in that goes on and on. "Mracni Mol" was on their debut and we get some raunchy guitar and passionate vocals here. "Oro" is a short uptempo instrumental with some good drum work.

"Plava Posma" is from their classic "Crna Dama" record and my other favourite. Just a beautiful track. "Ljudi Nije Fer" has strummed guitar as the vocals join in. A beat with organ follows as vocals continue. "Perle" is from the debut album. The guitar makes a noise as the vocals and a beat join in after a minute. Not a fan really. "Slikar Sa Pikadlija" is catchy with vocals and we get a good guitar solo before 2 minutes. "Satelit" is a commercial sounding song. Very catchy with vocals.

3 stars for this one and a good snapshot of their beginnings.

 Zasto Ne Volim Sneg by SMAK album cover Studio Album, 1981
4.35 | 22 ratings

BUY
Zasto Ne Volim Sneg
Smak Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars As Seyo mentions in his review the band had decided to call it quits after the disappointment of the previous album "Rock Cirkus" but Radomir the guitarist wanted to make one last record with the guys and put it out as a solo album under his name. This was to be a tribute to his brother who had passed away. Well the label insisted that it be put out under the SMAK name and that wasn't such a bad thing anyway because this album showed the fans that they still had it. Yes this is dark and powerful. A thing of beauty really.

"Juzni Voz" opens with organ then blazing outbursts of guitar and sounds hit us then here we go ! An absolute rip snorter as these guys set the soundscape on fire. Vocals before 1 1/2 minutes as we get more of a DEEP PURPLE feel the rest of the way. "Zajdi, Zajdi" opens with the organ floating in as the guitar starts to solo tastefully. Drums after a minute beat slowly. "Talisman" is a top three. This sounds so good ! The drumming and guitar especially. Nasty organ a minute in and the synths start to come and go. Such a powerful song. "Zasto Ne Volim Sneg" is another top three and it opens with atmosphere as sounds build to a powerful soundscape. A calm with vocals a minute in. Contrasts will continue. Amazing !

"Balet" opens with killer bas as sounds come and go. The keyboards and bass really impress. About halfway through the track the intensity starts to build. "Maht Pustinja" is my other top three. An excellent instrumental display early then it kicks in hard before 2 minutes. The guitar then solos as it settles back some. It kicks in again before 5 minutes. It settles again after 7 minutes and check out the guitar and bass ! The intensity is building again. What a song ! "Nebeski Splav" opens with floating organ as tasteful guitar then drums roll in. Vocals follow and it turns intense later on.

With three killer albums to their credit SMAK are my favourite band from Yugoslavia. A must have.

 Smak by SMAK album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.39 | 27 ratings

BUY
Smak
Smak Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This is SMAK's debut from 1975 and we get a lot of bluesy guitar and a side long suite. This is a mixed bag for me really with two outstanding tracks while the rest is average at best. Their next two albums were outstanding though.

"Perle" is all about the guitar early on. Nice. Vocals and drums after a minute. Not a big fan of this. Keys end it. "Mracni Mol" is nice and heavy as the vocals join in. This is pretty good. "Blues U Parku" is a fantastic track and a top two for me. The guitar is just so impressive early on. When it stops the vocals and a beat take over and this contrast will continue throughout. The guitar is killer. "Biska" is an instrumental and my other top two. Great sounding guitar to start then it changes style. Organ after 2 minutes.

"Put Od Balona (Biska 20)" is the 19 minute closer. To be honest this song doesn't do much for me. Not a lot going on until the organ and drums become more prominant before 5 1/2 minutes. Guitar before 7 1/2 minutes. It lightens again before 13 minutes then the organ comes in with power. Guitar takes the lead then the organ again 16 minutes in. More guitar a minute later. The last part of this suite is much better.

So a good album that pales when compared to their next two.

Thanks to Seyo for the artist addition. and to NotAProghead for the last updates

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