Karma To Burn
Almost Heathen


4.0
excellent

Review

by Raul Stanciu STAFF
December 24th, 2011 | 9 replies


Release Date: 2001 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Karma To Burn at their peak.

Karma To Burn were on a roll in the late 90s releasing 3 albums that all are instantly memorable and a lot of fun, whether they are instrumental like 'Wild, Wonderful Purgatory' or 'Almost Heathen' or filled with vocals, like their great eponymous debut.

A lot of people when hearing about an instrumental album are turned off, expecting monotonous structures or endless suites and solos, therefore losing interest halfway throughout the album. But on 'Almost Heathen', the music is varied within the desert/stoner rock genre. The band blends anything from energic, hard driving riffs (akin to Kyuss) to slower, doom-like ones(more similar to Sleep). Also, all the tracks clock in at a maximum of five minutes, making them more accessible and to the point.

The band plays real tight and the production is flawless. Rob Oswald's drumming is really malleable, he knows when to have more presence or when to just let loose, while bassist Rich Mullins' fat bass tone completes Will Mecum's fuzzy riffs, creating the overall heavy, dirty sound. So, whether it's the stomping rhythm of "Thirty Nine", the darker, heavy "Thirty Four" or "Nineteen" or the sharp riffs of "Five", they are all amazingly good and keep you attentive, just waiting to see what's next.

If you really want to take this album as a soundtrack to something, it could be a hot rod drive through the desert. You never ask yourself where are the vocals, because the songs don't need them. The riffs are pounding and twisting and they never seem to run out of them. Karma To Burn don't necessarily achieve anything new, nor do they want to sound pretentious, so they just give more of the same and you don't really need more, since everything here sounds so good. As a result, in the end you can't really pick one track (okay, maybe one or two that are clearly highlights) and you just put the album to play and lose yourself in the music.

However, taken in smaller doses Karma to Burn is great, but after listening to 'Almost Heathen', chances are you won't listen to this or another record head to toe again. The whole record is attention demanding and after 50 minutes you really feel like you've had enough for now. That's the flaw of giving more of the same.

Unfortunately, after this, the band decided to quietly disband for the next 9 years and the two albums that they have released since reconvening are less rewarding, leaving this album a peak of their career for now.



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user ratings (31)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Voivod
Staff Reviewer
December 24th 2011


6143 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Good review, pos.

Great album, although the songs/instrumentals are not so memorable overall.

Digging: Raven Throne - ???????? ?????????

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
December 24th 2011


3418 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks Voivod! I saw these guys live last week, they were mindblowing and the sound was so good. Better live than on the album, but still, I love this album(I felt the need to say this I don't know why)

Digging: Electric Wizard - Time to Die

DoubtGin
December 24th 2011


6752 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

fuck yea

greg84
Staff Reviewer
December 24th 2011


7395 Comments


I haven't heard this one yet, nor their latest album. If you like this you should check out Elder - Dead Roots Stirring. Good review!

Digging: Lo-Pan - Colossus

DoubtGin
December 24th 2011


6752 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yea, that Elder album is incredible

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
December 24th 2011


3418 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@greg84 I've heard a few times about Elder, I'm gonna check them out. Thanks!

emester
November 19th 2013


3532 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

EVERYTHING on this album is super fucking catchy. Like the perfect jam session.

Digging: Godflesh - A World Lit Only By Fire

conesmoke
November 19th 2013


5225 Comments


cool review, havn't checked these guys but now i'm intrigued.

Mad.
March 10th 2014


3863 Comments


Damn, never bothered to check these guys before but they're really fucking good. Didn't realise they were instrumental until now. Great review mah man



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