Karnivool
Themata


3.5
great

Review

by thatdudeud0ntknow USER (15 Reviews)
September 29th, 2011 | 17 replies


Release Date: 2005 | Tracklist

Review Summary: It may be inconsistent, but Themata hits the sweet spot for sure.

In a recent interview, world-famous guitarist Slash expressed his love for a progressive rock outfit by the name of Karnivool who had not too long ago emerged from Australia and gained a respectable amount of popularity in the United States. He explained how he felt their music was passionate, how they possessed a certain “spirit” so absent in modern rock music, and summed up the five-piece band nearly perfectly when he stated that "You hear a lot of flash-in-the-pan bands that are catchy this or catchy that and there's something cool about it, but it doesn't have an enormous depth to it, whereas Karnivool actually have something going on that is very unique and multifaceted.” And while this is all very true-Karnivool’s music is unique, and it is multifaceted, perhaps one of their best qualities is that, while holding tightly to the aforementioned features, Karnivool manage to remain notably accessible. They hit the sweet spot somewhere between catchiness and complexity, approachability and originality. It’s a tightrope many a band has tried to walk-but only a handful has truly succeeded. (Such as Fair to Midland, Dead Letter Circus, etc.) Themata is certainly not an album your average mainstream listener couldn’t adjust to easily-but it’s also interesting and unique at the same time.

I was originally lured into this album after hearing the title track and undisputed album highlight "Themata" some time ago. "Themata" is a wonderful track, consisting of some impressive instrumentation, a huge, soaring chorus, and catchy verses-spiced up using a unique and intriguing exotic flair to the music. Unfortunately, upon hearing the album, I was disappointed to find the exotic flavor essentially absent for the remnant of the release. And although this is more a simple case of misleading first impressions than a serious flaw in the musicianship, it’s sadly true that consistency is not Themata’s strongest asset. For example, the incredible opening duo of "Cote" and "Themata" set hopes high for the album-expectations that can only be dropped once "Shutterspeed" commences. It’s not a bad song by any means, but it’s boring, drab and lifeless-and following the greatness of the emotional "Cote" and the soaring "Themata," it feels overshadowed. The next four tracks are all strong-particularly instrumental piece "Scarabs"-but then, the last three proper songs fail to impress or intrigue enough to warrant a full listen-with the exception of "Mauseum."

Don’t let this put you off though-Themata is a fantastic album. Despite the fact that you may not like every track here, the better songs present are impressive to say the least. There’s certainly plenty of hours’ worth of musical enjoyment to be found amongst the near-perfect vocals of "Cote," or the groovy melodies of "Roquefort’s" verses, or "Fear of the Sky’s" chugging riffs. And although Themata doesn’t display Karnivool’s potential anywhere near as well as the follow-up, Sound Awake, it is still a great piece of work.

It is, after all, approved by Slash.



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user ratings (826)
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4
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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...

Puzzles (4.5)
Nirvana had passion, Tool had it, the Deftones have it and now, it's clear, so do Karnivool....

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

blueyxd (4.5)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Scoot
September 29th 2011


17814 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

nice review

sound awake is better

Cipieron
September 29th 2011


3508 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i think it was another review on here... or maybe somewhere else... that said:

"Themata is an album of hooks, Sound Awake is an album of lures"

While I like SA more than this... it's still unbelievably good. There's not a track on here that I don't like tbh

Another excellent review though, pos'd

cb123
September 29th 2011


2029 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

i dunno about the inconsistency, ive found all of these tracks to have hooked me at one time or another

thatdudeud0ntknow
September 29th 2011


164 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"i dunno about the inconsistency, ive found all of these tracks to have hooked me at one time or another"

Even "Omitted for Clarity?" =P

"nice review, sound awake is better"

Thanks, and definately agree.

"Another excellent review though, pos'd"

Thank you =)

Phideaux
September 29th 2011


1654 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

If the whole album was as good as the first 5 songs this would easily be my favorite album. Still rules though.

Puzzles
September 29th 2011


3065 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Who are you and what the fuck are you doing?

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
September 29th 2011


10273 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3 | Sound Off

Good review, and you hit all the ideas I have about the album. Cote's breathtaking, but the album doesn't really maintain that momentum at all... And Omitted for Clarity just pisses me off honestly, what's the point even.

JesusChris
September 29th 2011


673 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Roquefort is so fucking sick. pretty sure it's named after a cheese too.

Piglet
September 30th 2011


4659 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"It is, after all, approved by Slash."

ughhhhh slash


thatdudeud0ntknow
September 30th 2011


164 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"Who are you and what the fuck are you doing?"
...Me?
"Good review, and you hit all the ideas I have about the album. Cote's breathtaking, but the album doesn't really maintain that momentum at all... And Omitted for Clarity just pisses me off honestly, what's the point even."
Thanks, and yeah it seems so stupid, why have a whole seperate track for 20 seconds of nothing? Just tack it onto the end of another song if you really want it.
Roquefort is so fucking sick. pretty sure it's named after a cheese too.
Haha. The horns version is really good too.
"ughhhhh slash"
Lol





tiesthatbind
September 30th 2011


7375 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I love this album, but yeah the last two songs are pointless.

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
September 30th 2011


10273 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3 | Sound Off

I've always thought it was really cool how the album ends with Change Pt. 1- when I heard Change on Sound Awake, I was so glad they put Pt. 1 on the first album. It made me so excited to hear the rest

thatdudeud0ntknow
September 30th 2011


164 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"band sucks"

Lol no.

porch
September 30th 2011


8459 Comments


they're bland and uninteresting rather than outright bad

cb123
September 30th 2011


2029 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

bland? hardly

Vooligan
September 30th 2011


3541 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

they're anything but bland

toxin.
September 30th 2011


12604 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I forgot how much I liked this band. Haven't listened to them in a while



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