Release DetailsLABEL Nuclear Blast
RELEASED ON 3/25/2003
Karma in Black
posted on 3/2003 By:
Swedish metallers The Defaced return for a second round with their new album, Karma in Black. They've pretty much stayed on the course set by their debut album, Domination Commence, while upping the melody just a touch. (On that note, I opened up the case of DC, and the disc was missing. Damn!) With Karma in Black, you're in store for a thrashy, crunchy, choppy ride that sounds more at home in the US than in Scandinavia...and when I say the US, I mean Oakland. The last album caught a lot of flak for sounding like a lost Machine Head album, and while Karma in Black has moved past MH a bit towards developing their own sound, the comparisons can still be made. The production is nice and clear, with the guitars right up front where they belong. The most notable element of the band is vocalist Henrik Sjowall. Through modern advancements in genetics, science has produced a carbon-copy of Rob Flynn and set him down in Sweden. The similarities are striking. He sounds like Flynn while singing softly and while barking. Fortunately, I think Flynn has a great set of pipes when he's not rapping, so I'm not complaining. Don't worry, there's no rap to be found here. Darkane's Klas Ideberg and Mattias Svensson handle the guitar duties with honor. Jorgen Lofberg's bass and the drumming of Soilwork's Henry Ranta hold down the rhythm. Karma in Black starts off in fine fashion with the ripper "Fumes from the Swamp". An alarm-type sound opens up the song over a Meshuggah-styled line, before a galloping thrashy verse kicks in. Very nice. The next song, "Once in Between", features a chorus that would fit in quite nicely on Soilwork's Natural Born Chaos - clean, emotional singing, synth keys for atmosphere, you know the drill. I'm looking at you, Ranta. "10 vs 9" is a bit softer and diverse. It features the best clean chorus on the album, and also features a main riff that sounds a bit like something Sevendust could've written. "Fading Suns" is fast and pounding until about halfway through the song when they slow it way down in total Machine Head fashion. "Soulsides" resurrects the Soilwork influence and mixes it with a little bit of Pantera. "Forever Winding" showcases a softer side of The Defaced in what is their most complete song on the album. Bottom line: Karma in Black isn't an essential album, and it doesn't break any new ground, but I think it's a nice progression from Domination Commence, although it may be a bit too nu-metallish for the diehards. It's definitely worth a listen and makes for a solid side project.
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