Karnivool
Asymmetry


3.5
great

Review

by GooGuGajoob USER (2 Reviews)
July 20th, 2013 | 18 replies


Release Date: 08/06/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Karnivool's next step is an album that you'll only swallow once you force it down.

Hype seems to be a major stir up for new releases these days, but none of it I would buy. ‘The Refusal is going to be the Set Fire to the Hive of Asymmetry,’ or ‘listen to Sky Machine live, that’s maybe more what you’re after.’ Despite all this, I simply knew that the songs we were given, first the Refusal and then We Are just didn’t kick it for me. I don’t know what else to say other than Sound Awake will always be my most adored album of all time, and I don’t think any other will steal its place. Karnivool led me into the greater world of music, in the days I was maybe still directed by the top 20 or such some years prior, but even in exploring other bands and other genres, Sound Awake always found itself climbing higher and higher on its own shining, elegant column that I always looked to when it came to the art and design of what makes a masterpiece. 4 years on, now Asymmetry is the next step in Karnivool’s discography, and everyone seems to be praising it like it’s the next best thing.

This album first of all is convoluted with interludes, and to put it in perspective, the title track itself is an interlude, as well as the album’s opening and closing tracks. Now, pardon me if you think I’m making unfair comparisons, but the fact is; when you compare to how Change left you once Sound Awake finished, compared to Om’s sustained piano notes over dialogue, what you imagine is exactly the impression Asymmetry left me with, maybe throughout its entirety.

The first half of the album is the most consistent. Steve Judd’s drumming from the get go serves to impress, though it also seems a lot of these songs are constructed from rhythms rather than melodies, most notably The Refusal. When it does fall flat, is when Steve Judd isn’t doing much impressive, such as A.M.War when Steve Judd seems to be playing a thrash beat around 2 minutes in (and repeated again later on), and the riff loses half its strength in the process.

Songs like Aeons thrive off Karnivool’s skill in conducting a song through atmosphere, though the guitars don’t seem to be as busy as we’ve maybe come to expect from Karnivool. For this reason, songs such as Float or Alpha Omega seem like Ian Kenny highlights, but not essentially resulting in the highlights of the album due to the lack of substance. In fact, it seems that Karnivool are inconsistent as to what they’re trying to achieve with Asymmetry. The first half of the album suggests a heavier, more prominent metal sound, while the albums latter half is made up of weaker songs simply existing to elevate Ian Kenny’s voice alone, and not to serve the band. I’m sorry, if I wanted to focus purely on Ian Kenny’s voice, I’ll go to Birds of Tokyo for that where there’s space for that approach, but in the realm of Karnivool, it comes off as a revisit to Themata’s latter half...you know, the songs we barely re-listen to. I don’t think I’ll ever get over the first minute of Sky Machine, because I just cringe at that poppy chord progression and sound it opens up with.

In the end, Asymmetry seems self-indulgent for whatever reason, I do not know. Some songs seem to exist to put the spotlight on either one of the five that make Karnivool, most notably Steve Judd in the more successful pull offs. As a result though, it leaves Karnivool with an album you’ll only swallow once you force it down. None of the riffs stick, none of the songs seem to really leap above each other in terms of originality or personality. It’s a good listen, but I can’t help but feel this is polished up potential in which Karnivool has probably been persuaded to release due to the hype and the fans who don’t really know what they want. Yes, it’s a good album, maybe a ‘great’ one...but if we really stop to think of what we expect and what we’ve heard in terms of the products Karnivool are capable of delivering, maybe we’ve got the wine before its time.

GooGuGajoob


user ratings (481)
Chart.
3.7
great
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Drummerboy123
July 20th 2013


2423 Comments


Good review. Pos.

I agree about the interludes but I like the direction they went with being a bit more bare bones and focusing on rhythm and texture rather than hooks and melodies. It seems to me people wanted Sound Awake Volume 2 and are now disappointed that this is a bit of a departure.

I do wish that Kenny would focus more on Karnivool than the Birds IMO.

tempest--
July 20th 2013


14639 Comments


climbing higher and higher on its own shinning, elegant column




its own shinning, elegant column




shinning

Mongi123
Contributing Reviewer
July 20th 2013


11817 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Very good review but it reads more like a 2.5 IMO

Digging: Rishloo - Living as Ghosts with Buildings as Teeth

Underflow
July 20th 2013


2675 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The "I do not know" bit jumped out at me. As the reviewer, you should always know why something
doesn't work and be able to convey it to us. But on the whole it's all good in this review, so I'll
throw down a pos.

Cipieron
July 20th 2013


3508 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Sadly I very much agree with this review. I really wanted to love this album.. but right now it's just okay. I'd probably look upon it higher had they never released Themata and Sound Awake, but as it stands this ranks lower than both of those

KILL
July 20th 2013


72280 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

damn

Digging: Throwing Muses - Throwing Muses

demigod!
July 20th 2013


45266 Comments


the shinning was my favourite treehouse of horror segment

Digging: Black Sabbath - Master of Reality

tempest--
July 20th 2013


14639 Comments


def was trying to get a reference into my post somehow demi but i just couldn't work one out

donovan909
July 20th 2013


24 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I was getting the itch to write a review if all I saw was 4's or 4.5's...but I am think your review covers it. I love Karnivool and this album definitely doesn't justify the wait between albums. One thing no one has fully delved into is the production. The sound is flat and so noisy at points the instrumentation is hard to even decipher. I respect growth, but if they want to eliminate 'hooks' and be another Isis or Sunn O))) why waste the services of such a talented vocalist?

PistolPete
July 20th 2013


3650 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

good review but that summary might just be one of the most awkward things I've ever read (not sure if you meant it to sound like that on purpose or not)




...or maybe I just need to get my head out of the gutter =]

sixdegrees
July 20th 2013


17731 Comments


dw i'm real good at swallowing

Digging: Satomimagae - Koko

Drummerboy123
July 20th 2013


2423 Comments


"I don’t think I’ll ever get over the first minute of Sky Machine, because I just cringe at that poppy chord progression and sound it opens up with."

Eh?

GooGooGajoob
July 22nd 2013


7 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I do believe you have a point with the recording and mix, though I think that's just something that's easier to blame and focus on because I don't think it really would make a great difference. Good music and good mix/recording comes hand in hand I believe, out of necessity. I just believe these songs are somewhat under cooked and also that this album doesn't have Karnivool sound like a band simply within the song writing itself on Asymmetry.

And yes I find the first moment of Sky Machine...Lame for lack of a better word.

Also, thankyou for reading. This review was on a whim and it's pretty astonishing that everyone judged it instantly yet kept a positive response.

UnnamedOcean
July 22nd 2013


3980 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I actually like the poppier side of the band. That's when Ian sings at his best in my opinion.

GooGooGajoob
July 22nd 2013


7 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

More up his alley I suppose. Another thing I have noticed since donovan909's response is the mix of We Are compared to the rest of the album, ironically the first single to truly air for Asymmetry...I thought that was pretty interesting, a hint as to what's happened behind the making of this record.

lacesoutdom
July 22nd 2013


1 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

The one thing about this album for me is sound wise, its very pleasing on the ears, initially i listened to the album without listening to the songs, just the sounds. then thinking, actually i haven't listened to the songs. I made a conscious effort to listen purely on the merits of the songs, and i was really disappointed.

This IMO was a great sounding album, very well recorded and produced, but the songs aren't good, no catchy lyric, Melody or in honest, no catchy riff that would bring me back to the album.

For me there is no single song that i would choose to put on, which is sad, and ive got my fingers crossed for when i see them in November then dont do an album tour and only play a few from the previous two albums.

grindingdeath2013
August 26th 2013


1 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Pos'd. My favourite review so far. Sums up everything about the album accurately. The first half of the album is extremely strong. But once they go into too much atmospherics and vocals over just pure rock, it kinda gets annoying in the second half. Sound awake was a 5. This purely on the merit of the first half would get between a 4 and 4.5 but due to the second half, gets a 3.5 from me

Mongi123
Contributing Reviewer
August 26th 2013


11817 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

You like Sky Machine grinding? One of my favorite songs by them.



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