by blueyxd USER (15 Reviews)
October 17th, 2005 | 439 replies

Release Date: 2005 | Tracklist

The scientific idea of "selection" is where the best biological traits are carried on through many generations, while the weaker traits die off because they can't handle the environment as well. It brings about a healthy population which is very well suited for it's surroundings.

From Western Australia, Karnivool are a band who have gone through rather intense selection since their self titled EP from 1999, one which they prefer people not to know about. From what I've heard of it, it' was rather basic, and compared to what they have managed with Themata and I'm not surprised that they want to forget about their lowly beginnings.

When it comes to relatively light nu-metal and soft, clean vocals with emotional lyrics, the biggest name at the moment could only be Linkin Park. It's no secret that Linkin Park and similar bands are rather hated by the fans of "real music" and "bands who can actually play their instruments".

It's pretty obvious where I'm going with this. Karnivool manage to cover both ends of the spectrum, and they do an extremely good job. There's no half-heartedness or compromises here, they know exactly what they're doing and they aren't going to fall into the gap in the middle and just disappear.

In the first minute of the album, it seems pretty standard, but then you hear a rather intricate bass riff filled with harmonics and a beat that you can't quite follow... the music suddenly get a lot more interesting... and it doesn't falter for another 50 minutes.

They may not have the technical ability of Dream Theater and the like, but they can a lot better than many other bands, especially compared to others within their style of music. With their great guitar and bass riffage, clever use of delay, and some mind bending time signatures, they still manage to keep it listener-friendly to those still floating around in the mainstream. Ambience and string sections are also common place on Themata, and there is even a Drum 'n' Bass section in the middle of Synops.

As for the flow of the album.. to me it seems the first two songs stand out so much, that most of what's to follow doesn't have that spark. In reality it's still very well done, sadly, it just sits in a bit of a shadow. It picks up a bit in the middle with Lifelike and the Meshuggah-like instrumental, Scarabs.

As the album draws to a close, the ambience level jumps right up. The last two proper tracks don't show much sign of heaviness at all, although it's clear that Change is about to explode, it's kind of annoying that it ends on the verge of awsomeness, but it leaves you with the thought that Karnivool is not planning to disappear any time soon.

Production wise, the album is fairly well done. I can hear all the instruments well, the music punches just right, but sometimes it sounds too big for the music. Not such a big problem, just something I noticed.

So... you would probably like Themata if you're into any of the following: fairly good musical ability; relatively catchy, yet powerful songs; great songcraft. I'd recommend them to fans of both Linkin Park and Gordian Knot - probably a fair indication of what to expect on Themata.

Given how far they have come since their early days, I just wonder how much more selection they can undergo before the next release. I'm looking forward to it, so are you.

A solid 4.5/5

Songs I'd recommend:
Fear Of The Sky

I don't recommend:
Omitted For Clarity - it's just 20 seconds of silence


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Comments:Add a Comment 
October 17th 2005


Album Rating: 4.0

Very well written review. I agree with everything you've said there, particularly about the album ending in such an annoying way. It just leaves so much anticipation for a follow up.

I didn't think Persona was too bad though.

And finally, I'm seeing the live again on Thursday, which will be awesome as they are amazing live.

October 17th 2005


Album Rating: 4.0


Persona was good, but they had another EP before that, which is the one I had mentioned.This Message Edited On 10.17.05

October 17th 2005


Album Rating: 4.0

:lol: Upon re-reading it I happened to notice it says "self titled EP". Silly me.

/did not know that there was a S/T EP

November 21st 2005


Album Rating: 4.0

Good review! I love the fact that these guys aren't afraid of a little melody. Ian Kenny's voice is brilliant. I think the whole idea behind change pt.1 is to set it up for a sequel on the next album. I love the eccentricity of Fear of the Sky.

November 29th 2005


Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, it was probably obvious enough too need a direct mention. I like Fear Of The Sky for the rhythms at the start, too confusing to know which instrument to follow, then almost like magic, the drums straighten out and it becomes so obvious. It's some pretty clever music.

July 18th 2006


Album Rating: 4.0

Good review dude but i cant believe u compared them with linkin park! karnivool kick their linkin park arse! saw karnivool live at luna park for the cometogther festival i reckon they were the best band there!

September 19th 2006


Album Rating: 4.0

I'm catching these guys at the ANU bar in Canberra in a couple of weeks. It'll be awesome! I think people are starting to realise that they are really a good band as a chick on Aussie Idol (more like aussie idle if you ask me...) sung Themata!!!

October 4th 2006


karnivool are mad didnt they get signed to an american label or some shit?? i dunno but that chick who sung it on idol the othernight suked anus tho. i was gonna go to strikback the other day but i wasnt gonna watch like 68 bands just to see karnivool do about 5 songs at the end.they were the only good band there

December 2nd 2006


Album Rating: 5.0

Awesome review!! Spot-on!

Themata is such a great album, the guys have some great musical talent, especially when you consider that Drew, the guitarist, also played drums on the entire album (bar "Lifelike") aswell as guitar. I saw them live last week and i couldn't believe how great they were live - the crowd was going crazy, their live performance was even better than the album, even though the album is great too.

BlueYXD; it's funny that you should say that their 1999 EP was very basic (I've never heard it myself), and then rate 'Lifelike" - as "Lifelke" was written in 1999. I'm not dissing anything you're saying, it's just a little odd that people (that you heard from) would say negative things about it, but i've never heard it so i couldnt say.

-GNThis Message Edited On 12.02.06

December 2nd 2006


Well-written review, you really got it down well. I'll vote

March 16th 2007


Album Rating: 4.0

This a damn fine album, only drama with the review was some of the spelling & grammar, but overall all you have done a good job.

March 16th 2007


Album Rating: 3.5

Very good disc, but they really excel on stage.

March 16th 2007


I just got my hands on this. Will give it a spin, and hopefully, as you suggest (pretty well), will be impressed.

April 2nd 2007


Album Rating: 5.0

Probably the best band in australia at the moment!

best song on the album is definatly fear of the sky!

does C>O>T>E stand for centre of the earth? im not sure thats wat my mate told me and i wasnt sure... any ideas anyone?

April 12th 2007


Album Rating: 4.0

again, patriotism prompts me to check this out in the future.

April 28th 2007


Album Rating: 5.0

GEE. What is wrong with these Aussie-bands, They're too d*mn awesome to be true. Though Karnivool still stands below The Butterfly Effect and long gone Memento to me, it's still amazing group. I love the lyrics here, they reach for poetry.

August 25th 2007


Album Rating: 4.5

i love this album, every song is strong and accessible to fans of good music, but i don't think i'd reccommend to fans of linkin park though, it seems that fans of their music dont accept it when someone better shows up, and dont apreciate anything out of the ordinary

i'd reccommend Roquefort to get into their kind of music.

also, the singer sounds alot like the guy from Birds of Tokyo.This Message Edited On 09.07.07

September 14th 2007


Album Rating: 4.0

damn, this album is pretty good.

November 4th 2007


Album Rating: 3.0

This album actually isn't bad. Some songs I really like actually.

Probably the best band in australia at the moment!
Very very wrong.

December 19th 2007


Album Rating: 3.5

I bought a few tracks a few months back, only to discover that it was on sale for like $6 on iTunes, so I bought the rest, and it's rather enjoyable

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