Review Summary: Intimate dissonance
Sometimes the most pleasant surprises are the most unexpected. I had never heard of Karmacipher until a couple of days ago, when I discovered them by chance while scrolling a metal chart. I was looking for something that I might have missed over the last few months, and, voilá, I uncovered this dissonant new snack from Hong Kong. What drew my attention, besides the obvious stylistic bond to Ulcerate, was Introspectrum's
polished and crystalline production. Instead of the atmosphere present in bands such as Ulcerate, Ceremony of Silence or Noctambulist, Karmacipher relies on a clean, polished sound, through which we can taste all the small, subtle details.
Speaking of details, let me start by mentioning the remarkable performance by drummer Kévin Paradis (Benighted, Aggressor), who confers an admirable volatility to Introspectrum
. His drum set has a magnificent sound, from the polished cymbals to the snare, everything in his tuning seems to match the instrumental background perfectly. Kévin's dynamic breaks are something to be admired. Musically, the album is closer to Necroracle
rather than to the following EP 陣獄, which explored greater atmospheres. As I mentioned previously, Introspectrum
has a cleaner, polished approach, which highlights the technical virtues of each musician. The variety of tempos is a constant throughout the album, and although not exactly a novelty in the genre, Karmacipher does it splendidly. 'My Spectrum's' early decrescendo is a fine example of this. The harmony sporadically present in the band's debut album has now faded, however, with due attention, we can still find some brief melodic glimpses, as in the subtle final harmony of 'My Spectrum' or the somewhat melodic clean guitar in 'Involuntary Converged'. As you might expect, it's not just the drums that shine, we find interesting riffs a bit everywhere, including the tremolo picking in 'None' or the dissonant, contagious riff present in 'Quadrant'. Of all instruments, the bass is certainly the most shy, nevertheless we can still see it peeking in 'Involuntary Converged', which is better than nothing, I might say. Consistency and quality accompany each song, however I would like to highlight 'My Spectrum', 'Revertant' and the closing track 'Eternal Departure', which is the smoothest song on the album.
may not be a fresh take on the genre, nor does it intend to reinvent the wheel, but it does deliver an intimate and appealing dissonant formula. Its refined approach takes us close to the band, into a small rehearsal room somewhere in Hong Kong. And I've already booked my seat, right next to the drums.