KARMA TO BURN - Appalachian Incantation

Karma To Burn - Appalachian Incantation

9 songs
44:02 minutes
***** **


The new Karma To Burn CD is full of surprises. First of all I didn’t expect the American instrumental stoner rock band to make a comeback after a nine year period of silence. The psychedelic cover artwork is already quite promising, but why doesn’t it feature the band name and title? The songs have also been named weirdly. It must be hard to find an appropriate title for an instrumental piece, so the band resorted to just number them, possibly in the sequence they were written.

Their debut from 1997 featured a vocalist due to pressure from their record label, but the band quickly fired him to continue as an instrumental power trio. The new CD features seven instrumentals (44, 42, 41, 46, 43, 45 and 24) plus two vocal tracks with more regular names for which they hired the services of two renowned singers who do their job quite extraordinarily. On Waiting On The Western World, Daniel Davies of Year Long Disaster adds his talents, the concluding Two Times comes with no other than desert rock legend John Garcia (Kyuss, Unida, QOTSA, Hermano, Slo Burn). In my opinion, these two tracks work far better than those without vocals. Karma To Burn play great riffs straight from the dusty deserts, but after some time, their mix of stoner and southern rock becomes a little monotonous. The first two thirds of the album show the band from their heavier side. The last third sees Karma To Burn in a more drone oriented mood, with the songs viscous as lava. The vintage production lets this slower material sound a little like Black Sabbath, but I still prefer the more rocking tracks.

It wouldn’t hurt Karma To Burn to rethink their band philosophy, because they do sound more convincing with a vocalist. The two vocal tracks have definitely more vitality than the instrumental material which would be more fitting as a soundtrack for a Tarantino or Rodriguez movie. Those who like the dirty, gritty appeal of stoner rock shouldn’t mind though if Karma To Burn play with or without a singer.

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