Karnivool
Asymmetry


2.5
average

Review

by Nick Mongiardo CONTRIBUTOR (74 Reviews)
August 10th, 2013 | 58 replies | 2,395 views


Release Date: 08/06/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: With Asymmetry bursting at the seams with forced unusual time signatures and experimentation, Karnivool releases their most inconsistent record to date.

No album has left me with a loss for words in the sense that this album has. After listening to this many times, I’m still left speechless, but for all of the wrong reasons. Something is missing from Asymmetry that made their past releases epic and amazing. Whether it be the dip in lyrical quality, the pointless interludes, the monotonous snare drum, or Ian’s sometimes forced vocals, the record wears its flaws on its sleeve. The record is still not terrible, but one must question whether Karnivool was just experimenting with sounds or if they just lost the drive to create compelling progressive rock music.

The biggest flaw of the album that really brings the whole experience down is the annoyingly intrusive snare drum. For some reason, the band thought it was a great idea to give the percussion a heavily monotonous feel. It clearly wasn’t and the snare sticks out like a sore thumb in the albums average mixing. Steve Judd is an incredible drummer, but songs like “Nachash” and “The Refusal” do not do him justice. Karnivool has always experimented with unique time signatures and it always payed off for them. However, songs like “Nachash,” the unusual time signature is incredibly contrived, but the soaring guitars save the song from being a total disaster of an opener. “The Refusal” is the biggest offender of this snare drum gripe. It sounds like Steve is literally just banging on the snare the entire time. Jon Stockman also does something screaming in it and Karnivool doesn't do this often. It’s an odd choice because screaming has never fit Karnivool's style.

Karnivool doesn’t seem to know the proper time and place to use interludes either. Not only are the interludes like “Aum” and “Amusia” completely uneventful, they serve no specific purpose on the album. However, the title track has an unusual beauty to it and it actually leads into one of the standout tracks “Eidolon.” The interludes don’t bring down the experience as much as the percussion, but the interludes should really be saved for concept albums, which Asymmetry is not.

Ian’s vocal delivery for the most part is exceptional, but songs like “AM War” and “Alpha” really showcases how he forces these notes out occasionally. It sounds like Ian is aiming to hit notes that he can’t hit anymore towards the end of “Alpha,” but the song is overall fantastic to say the least. Ian shouts “I’ve gotta get out of the way” towards the end of “AM War” and it is one of the albums most awkward moments in edition to most of the record’s contrived time signatures.

Remarkably enough, tracks like Eidolon, Sky Machine, Float and We Are really saved my rating from dipping any lower. The title track interlude leads into Eidolon and the song is undeniably catchy with the climax around the two minute mark being one of the record’s best moments. Sky Machine is one of the band’s best songs and it is one of the only songs on Asymmetry where the percussion sounds normal and doesn’t intrude on the listener. Ian’s emotional delivery, epic guitars, and the lyrics really shine on this one. Float has an amazing aesthetic to it and it is incredibly soothing. It is almost as if Ian is singing us a lullaby and you actually feel like you’re, well, “floating” as you’re listening to it. We Are’s infectious lyrics and guitars really absorb you just like Sky Machine even though Sky Machine is extraordinarily better.

What it really comes down to with this record is that the word “inconsistent” really defines it. It’s strange some of the band’s best work ends up on this album. It’s clear that the band tried to experiment with different sounds on “Nachash” with Ian’s singing being heavily distorted and in “The Refusal” with Jon screaming, but for the most part it didn’t pay off. Now that it’s all said and done, it is extremely unclear where Karnivool is going to go next. Hopefully we’re not in for another four year wait.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
KerfuffleinaHussle
August 10th 2013



729 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Nice review. Just one small gripe:

"releases their most inconsistent release"

I think 'releases their most inconsistent record/album/effort/etc' sounds a little better

Pos'd

Mongi123
Contributing Reviewer
August 10th 2013



9096 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks man and you're right actually I'll edit that when I get home.

Calc
August 10th 2013



11989 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

with forced time signatures huh?

Digging: Kashiwa Daisuke - April. #02

Mongi123
Contributing Reviewer
August 10th 2013



9096 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I also changed that to forced unusual times signatures haha I should have said that. I mean that they
just don't feel natural like they did on Themata or Sound Awake.

Puzzles
August 11th 2013



3065 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is interesting because I literally don't agree with a single point you made in this review

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
August 11th 2013



30873 Comments


The concept of different opinions is really that interesting to you? Man, you must get distracted by shiny paper for hours if that's the case...

Digging: FaltyDL - In The Wild

Underflow
August 11th 2013



2526 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Lol. Good review.

Mongi123
Contributing Reviewer
August 11th 2013



9096 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

@puzzles well that seems obvious judging by your rating lol thank you for not neging it because of that though. I appreciate it.

NapalmCrusader
August 11th 2013



1737 Comments


Good album but is a letdown compared to sound awake

Drummerboy123
August 11th 2013



2312 Comments


No mention of Aeons? That's right up there with Sky Machine IMO.

Digging: Sleepmakeswaves - Love of Cartography

Mongi123
Contributing Reviewer
August 11th 2013



9096 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

ehh not that big a fan of Aeons. Not one of the worse tracks on it but not one of the best so just didn't mention it.

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
August 11th 2013



9999 Comments

Album Rating: 3.2 | Sound Off

A very grammatically sound review, but I wish there was more meat to it. It feels like your main point is that it has unnecessarily complex time signatures-- trust me, I get that, but I feel like it's not enough grounds to dismiss this release, you know? To be fair, you did also mention the snare drum being strangely loud, but that also strikes me as a smaller deal. I guess my question to you as a reviewer is why do these things kill the experience for you? Try to think about that next time, because things like complex time sigs sound like a pro to most prog fans.

Also, Judd's drumming on The Refusal completely makes sense to me. He's adhering to particular time signatures that are utilized in the track, and are anything but random. I get what you were trying to say there, but it's worded a bit disrespectfully towards him. #becauseheisanamazingdrummer

Digging: Deniro Farrar - Rebirth

Mongi123
Contributing Reviewer
August 11th 2013



9096 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yea it get that it's prog and odd time signatures is what makes it prog but honestly that snare did
kill a lot of the experience for me. So damn annoying. And that comment about how he's banging on the
snare wasn't meant to be disrespectful that's what it actually sounds like to me lol I just feel like
he was really underutilized on this record. I should mention that prog is my fav genre too.

I hope that answers your question man haha I know it wouldn't bother most people, but it really is a
big deal to me. And the time sigs on songs like Nachash is make no sense to me and the song just
doesn't flow well. Just doesn't make sense like it did on Fear Of The Sky or Goliath or Umbra.

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
August 11th 2013



9999 Comments

Album Rating: 3.2 | Sound Off

It's just weird that you think the time signatures make no sense, because they are as complex as a lot of songs on Sound Awake-- and I think they make a decent amount of sense with these songs. I will say Judd could have approached his playing more subtly, but that's entirely different from placing the blame on the time sigs.

And the production is not horrible, what are you on about? It's all over the place, sure, but this shit sounds like the Karnivool we all know

Drummerboy123
August 11th 2013



2312 Comments


Fucking hell people rant on production on the site all the time. It's fine!

PunchforPunch
August 11th 2013



5891 Comments


production sucks

Drummerboy123
August 11th 2013



2312 Comments


U sUcK!

Scoot
August 11th 2013



17681 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this and the blackest beautiful are two of this year's biggest disappointments if only because i had such high hopes for them

both aren't bad at all, just nothing fantastic like i was anticipating

Digging: Unjust - Glow

zuzek
August 11th 2013



750 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Drummerboy, I can't speak for everyone, but as someone that records music and has some mixing experience it's just a natural part of the presentation that needs to be judged. I'm sure I'm not the only one in that position. Regardless, if the snare doesn't trouble you I have bad news for your ears...

Good review dude. Solid basis although I think you could've fleshed out some arguments a little more.

Mongi123
Contributing Reviewer
August 11th 2013



9096 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks zuzek. What parts should I have fleshed out? Basically what Omaha said?



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