Karma To Burn


Written by: PP on 26/09/2011 04:03:20

Instrumental stoner rock group Karma To Burn haven't spent much time away from the studio since their reunion in 2009. Last year they released "Appalachian Incantation", a good album for what it was, a mostly instrumental stoner record with groovy guitars and two songs with vocals, and they're already done with their fifth album "V". What's special about the new album is that it completes the process of merging together two bands, Karma To Burn and another stoner rock band Year Long Disaster, both of whom have been touring on-and-off with each other's members switching roles and bands a couple of times. So out of the eight tracks on "V", five are instrumental (annoyingly called "47", "48", "50", "49", and "51" but in mixed order), and three which feature Daniel Davies of Year Long Disaster on vocals ("The Cynic", "Jimmy Dean", "Never Says Die").

The former pick up exactly where their fourth album left off (which in turn wasn't much different from their pre-breakup material) delivering highly Kyuss-inspired, tightly played grooves that depict the scenery of a barren, desolate wasteland or a desert, hence they are often tagged as 'desert rock'. The latter, however, is where things get interesting. The band's expression changes somewhat when the vocals are introduced, now referencing 70s psychedelia (think Zeppelin, or their modern incarnation Rival Sons, or even stuff like Wolfmother) with distorted howls and also otherwise demonstrating clear influence from 70s and 80s rock bands. "Jimmy Dean" even sounds like something straight off The Blues Brothers soundtrack given its playful lead riff.

It's a change that is likely to divide Karma To Burn fans in two camps: those that don't mind the vocals and the more classic rock oriented songwriting approach, and those that would prefer if the band stuck to their well-defined, leather-tight all-instrumental stoner rock grooves instead. Me, I don't mind either too much, because the new album still delivers on the same promise that has allowed Karma To Burn to garner (at the time of this writing) over 1.3 million plays on last.fm: solid all-around, driving instrumental rock that carries the stoner rock torch proudly and without shame.


Download: 47, 48, The Cynic
For the fans of: Kyuss, Scale The Summit, Pelican, Year Long Disaster
Listen: Myspace

Release date 27.05.2011
Napalm Records

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