Being an instrumental band, Karma to Burn is probably never going to get the recognition they deserve. After all, it’s the frontman that draws the crowd in and makes the big statement, right? Well, these guys let their guitars do all the talking instead — and in this case, that’s really enough.
Karma to Burn has been out of the scene for a while now. They started touring again recently, but hadn’t released an album since 2001. If you’re unfamiliar with them, they started out back in 1997 with a self-titled record on Roadrunner. They set out to be an instrumental band, but Roadrunner forced them to get a vocalist. The resulting album was really good, but clearly not what they wanted as they ditched the vocals and subsequently got dropped. That was probably the best thing to happen for them in the end.
They released two gargantuan-heavy instrumental records and then the group broke up in 2002. That leads us to a 2009 reunion and the release of Appalachian Incantation in 2010. The group is billed as a stoner rock band and constantly compared to Kyuss — I guess there could be worse things than being mentioned with one of the most beloved stoner rock bands of my generation. And they certainly don’t seem to want to get away from that, either, as the latest album was produced by Scott Reeder, the former bassist in Kyuss. But these guys don’t feel like typical stoner rock to me. They crank it to 11, toss out some crazy rock riffs and shake the house with volume.
And what an awesome reunion this turned out to be; Appalachian Incantation is a killer kick in the ass, full of catchy yet totally dirty rhythms. It would make a great action movie soundtrack — villain walks down the alley, turns the corner and is confronted by a dozen thugs which he proceeds to beat into oblivion while “Forty Six” plays in the background. And there actually is one song on it with vocals, provided by Daniel Davies from Year Long Disaster on ”Waiting on the Western World.” But have no fear, it’s the only track as the rest is just a crazy loud wall of stoner goodness.
Every album they’ve put out has had a handful of perfect tracks on them, their new release included. This almost comes close to their 1999 release Wild, Wonderful…Purgatory as their finest work and as of right now, this has to be the best metal release of 2010. Hunt this one down — it’s out on Napalm records. Now let’s hope this does well enough and they keep their shit together so we don’t get another pesky nine years between albums as Karma to Burn may very well be the best band you’ve never fucking heard of.
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