|Review: Karnivool - Themata|
Label: Bieler Bros Records
Year released: 2007
Genre: Progressive Metal
Review online: July 23, 2011
Reviewed by: Bruce Dragonchaser
This album was many years in the making, and it shows. Karnivool are an Australian band playing what can loosely be described as Progressive Metal with a modern twist; that modernity coming from the vocal arrangements and choice of chord sequences (some of it not corresponding to metal at all, but when pushed through an amplifier, it knocks you for six). Like all great Prog Metal acts, Karnivool are difficult to quantify, in that what they are doing isn't quite like anything else on the market. Closest comparisons have to come from Riverside (who they share a stylistic sensibility with), Wolverine, Dead Air Radio, Novact, early Pain Of Salvation, Votum, and Porcupine Tree. Now, Karnivool are heavier than most of these acts; their guitar work is full of crunch, with riffs that span from the metallic chunks found on "Shutterspeed" and the title track, to the subtle, intricate clean-channel on stupendous opener "Coté". The soaring vocals weave between layers of guitars and electronic keys, rampant and inventive percussion, to create mesmerizing visual images, haunting soundscapes, and real states of mind, from rage all the way to paranoia.
Part of Themata, the band's debut, was recorded in 2001, then the rest in 2004, though it wasn't released until 2007, where it went to little fanfare, even in the Prog Metal community. It's a disservice to a band that clearly have the talent and sophistication to the share the stage with the genre's giants, but as such things go, you'll find the most capable acts hiding in the underground with works of art such as this. If Progressive Metal with a current feel is your cup of tea, let Karnivool show you how genres can be integrated, how creativity can be stretched across the board. An infectious album of contemporary adult metal.
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