Karnivool
Themata


4.5
superb

Review

by Puzzles USER (17 Reviews)
April 9th, 2010 | 26 replies | 6,506 views


Release Date: 2005 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Nirvana had passion, Tool had it, the Deftones have it and now, it's clear, so do Karnivool.

2 of 2 thought this review was well written

Passion seems to be a lost cause in the casual spectrum today's music. Not in a single place, but seemingly everywhere. Next to talent itself, it's an almost essential aspect required when one creates music that people will remember in ten years time, music worth waiting in line hours for and music that will draw on the jealousy of aspiring musicians and songwriters that constantly reiterates the question, "how do they come up with that?"In most cases, it's the same answer: They have passion. They put it all in, despite being without the assurance of what they may or may not get out. Nirvana had passion, Tool had it, the Deftones have it and now, it's clear, so do Karnivool.

Straight from the heart of the now-blossoming Australian progressive scene, Karnivool come with great promise and as a force to be reckoned with. Their unique brand of technically complex, epic prog-rock sets them apart from the average five-piece. From the very beginning (well, perhaps not the awfully forgettable self-titled EP), it was quite clear that Karnivool were going to be big. Not just big, but more in much the same way as Pearl Jam were when they released Ten in '91. As with the band's individual parts, frontman Ian Kenny screams individuality and oozes charisma, while drummer Steve Judd conjures up images of Danny Carey in his prime. Guitarists Drew Goddard and Mark Hosking consistently interweave their intimately progressive melodies amidst heavy textures and soaring vocals, but know when to stick to a sexy, brutal riff when appropriate, in cases such as "Roquefort" and "Shutterspeed".

The true genius of "Themata lies in the technical aspects of their music. While the band boast complex time signatures, obscure polyrhythms and make use of quite progressive song form, "Themata" seems to retain a certain accessibility without being at all radio-friendly. The intricate textures are what gives the record its unmatched replay value, and with each listen, the audience will find his or herself constantly discovering something new amongst the intricacies of each and every of these strangely named tracks.

The record opens with "COTE", in all of its rhythmically complex glory, perhaps one of the least immediate tracks of the record for its slowly building verse to chorus structure. However, after that second chorus, the track really soars like no other. Ian Kenny's vocal chops truly shine here more than ever, with a primary melody that more than fits the beautiful synth textures and heavy dual-guitar attack. The true incredibility lies in the title track. Indeed, nothing could have prepared the listener for one of the most flawlessly crafted rock songs in the history of Australian music. Boasting one of the greatest riffs in modern contemporary music and some utterly blissful dual-guitar interplay,"Themata" is a track that will remain on the listener's mind for weeks after purchase. Ian Kenny once again complements the instrumental work with complete perfection, and smartly incorporates a megaphone into the verses to add an extra touch to the musical spectrum. "Shutterspeed" and "Fear of the Sky" both follow, and both have some rightly divine choruses, what appears a recurring trademark of Kenny's vocal style. Both tracks sport some rather complex time-signatures, further sticking to their progressive style, but are by no means below the any other portion of the album and will both most likely spend a great deal of time in the listener's most-played list.

The fifth track, "Roquefort", boasts one of the most throat-grabbing, bone-breaking down-tuned introductions in modern rock music. That said however, the form meanders to a fair degree, and some sections seem forcefully soaring and "beautiful" which contrast a little too much with the more brutal sections. The remainder of the record gracefully continues its initial winning streak, but does by no means dip into mediocrity, a flaw from which many other progressive records suffer. There are more heavy tracks like "Mauseum" and "Synops", a short and sweet instrumental ("Scarabs") and the record's only ballad, "Sewn and Silent", which remains a thoroughly listenable track. First single and album highlight, "Lifelike" features a fantastic intro riff, and is without a doubt an electrifying experience when heard live. Kenny's vocals are punchy and to-the-point, as with "Mauseum", contributing heavily to the track's "single" potential.

There really is no middle ground in Karnivool's Themata. Nearly every track shines just as brightly as the next, and despite filler tracks "Omitted for Clarity" and "Change Pt. 1" (the former is 20 seconds of silence), it really distinguishes itself amongst contemporary music in general. Change Pt. 1 really leaves the audience with a feeling of anticipation. After it's cut off after its three minute crescendo, it becomes clear to the listener that Karnivool will, indeed, return soon.
When the record is over with, the listener can only feel satisfied that they've stumbled upon this obscure, yet classic piece of art. With every inch of its originality, complexity and enjoyability, Karnivool's "Themata" feels like an inspired, fully realized first effort. It truly raises the bar for the genre in every respect, and gives a great indication of what to expect from the country in future.



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user ratings (818)
Chart.
4.1
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other reviews of this album
Nick Mongiardo CONTRIBUTOR (4.5)
A soaring example of how great the often hated Nu-Metal genre can be...

thatdudeud0ntknow (3.5)
It may be inconsistent, but Themata hits the sweet spot for sure....

TheDistantFuture (4.5)
Another fine export from Land Down Undaaah....

blueyxd (4.5)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Puzzles
April 9th 2010



3065 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Gotta keep busy while while I wait for them to let me put my Deftones review up.

Once again, props if you made it through that one.

AtavanHalen
April 9th 2010



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Summary makes no sense.

Puzzles
April 9th 2010



3065 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah, you're right. I'll get right on it. But you have to vote for it.

AtavanHalen
April 9th 2010



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It's not bad, the review. Good for such a new writer, too, especially.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
April 9th 2010



7346 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is much better than Sound Awake imo. Considering Omitted For Clarity a filler is downright silly. Otherwise, it's a good review. Pos'd.

Digging: Kimbra - The Golden Echo

tiesthatbind
April 9th 2010



7373 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Definitely better than Sound Awake.

Eclectic
April 9th 2010



3302 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review, pos'd

Still
Need
To
Listen
To
This

Vooligan
April 10th 2010



3541 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Sound Awake kills this.

Hey Puzzles i really hate to nit-pick, but im gunna have to. Just so you know, when this was recorded it was just Kenny and Drew. Kenny did vocals and Drew did guitar, bass and drums etc. And Synapse heavy? No way lol. And Change Pt. 1 is by no means filler at all.

Also, Michael. Get this asap.

Eclectic
April 10th 2010



3302 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Oh, I have it, I just need to listen to it, lol

Eclectic
July 4th 2010



3302 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Finally listened to this, it is better then Sound Awake. To me, comparing them is like comparing Radiohead's "The Bends" with "OK Computer", one of them is a solid-as-a-rock album and the other is ultimately more complex and interesting.

Puzzles
July 10th 2010



3065 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah, you're dead on with that one. The bassist of the band actually said, quite fittingly, about their records that the "first one was an album of hooks, whereas the second is an album of lures." So I do prefer the first over the second, although Goliath and Set Fire To The Hive are both better than anything on the first record.

Captain North
July 10th 2010



6784 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Rubbish, COTE is the best thing they've ever done.

AtavanHalen
July 10th 2010



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

IDK I like Sound Awake more.

Vooligan
July 10th 2010



3541 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Sound Awake > Themata

coleba
July 10th 2010



788 Comments


Replace "Stupid Boy" with "COTE" and you'd have pretty much the best album ever. Themata is more digestible and immediate in terms of likability, but Sound Awake destroys it imo. You can tell the band rly collaborated and put much more into it emotionally. Last two songs on Sound Awake are better than whole Themata album :p

coleba
July 10th 2010



788 Comments


Simple Boy ^^

AtavanHalen
July 10th 2010



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Dude Simple Boy is amazing.

coleba
July 10th 2010



788 Comments


It's not bad, I don't know about it as an opener though, lyrics kind of annoy me. Musically though I really like it. Only other weak track imo is Illumine. Sound Awake is pretty much the best album I've found in a year or two as far as staying power. It also introduced me to whole Aussie scene.

Puzzles
July 19th 2010



3065 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Funnily enough, COTE was actually the last song that I actually started to like. Pretty sure when I first got this I was all about Roquefort, Themata and Mauseum, then Fear of the Sky, then the rest and THEN COTE. But like I said, sweet record.

^^To that guy, The Butterfly Effect introduced me to the Aussie scene. But my sis introduced me to TBE, so props to her. Seriously one of the best scenes in the world right now, and DLC look to be like the Nirvana of Australia (to anyone who knows the Seattle story) - they're could potentially blow us right open to the world. Oh, and Themata > Sound Awake> Shit > Simple Boy

AtavanHalen
July 19th 2010



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Puzzles, are you Alligator's younger sister?



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