Wednesday, August 13, 2014

KARMA TO BURN: Arch Stanton

Best Album Since Wild Wonderful Purgatory

                I was first introduced to Karma To Burn a few years ago by (same idea as Pandora), which played the tune “Twenty Nine”, and I was hooked.  A fat distorted bass lick kicks off three minutes and three seconds of aggressive, catchy riffs which evolve before they ever get monotonous.  No vocals; KTB is an instrumental band which specializes in three to five minute aggressive, ass-kicking jams.  Their first album had vocals and “normal” song titles, because their record company refused to publish them without vocals and traditional titles.  After the first album, the band fired the company (Roadrunner Records) and put out “Wild Wonderful Purgatory” under the independent label MIA Records.  “Wild Wonderful Purgatory” has been the band’s defining record, with numbers for song titles, and of course no vocals.  The song titles are not even sequential; Track one is titled “Twenty”, and track two is “Twenty Eight”.  Track nine is “One”; you get the idea.  Some tunes are better than others, but the album is solid through and through, and contains three of my top five KTB tunes: “Twenty Nine”, “Thirty Two” and “Eight.”  Subsequent albums “Almost Heathen”, “Appalachian Incantation”, “V”, the remake of the first album, and the six track import from Heavy Psych Sounds in Italy have all been great releases., but for some reason “Wild Wonderful Purgatory” has always been my favorite (possibly because it was my first).   When a band writes so many instrumental tracks, there are bound to be some awkward transitions here and there, but overall Karma To Burn has done an impressive job of reinventing the wheel, album after album.  Enter “Arch Stanton.”  The very first track, “Fifty Seven”, did for me what “Twenty Nine” did years ago – it just hit me the right way and became an instant favorite.  And the fifth track, “Fifty Five” (see video below) also joins my top five KTB tune list.  If you don’t like instrumental hard rock but are thinking of bands like Earthless and Tia Carrera, with their twenty minute floating jams, give Karma To Burn a try.  The tunes are shorter in length, heavy and focused.  In this age where so much popular music is created in the studio without any real instruments, bands like Karma To Burn remind us of how bad-ass a guitar player, bass player and drummer can really sound.    -Ultra

"Fifty Five":

Karma To Burn is:

Rob Halkett: Bass
Evan Devine: Drums
William Mecum: Guitar

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