Release DetailsLABEL Bieler Bros. Records
RELEASED ON 4/10/2007
posted on 3/2007 By:
With an easily-accessible stop/start groove, relatively generic and inoffensive clean vocals and exceptionally strong songwriting, Western Australia's Karnivool are your grandpa's relatively dull Tool, chipping slowly away at the tiniest hole that comprises what's left of the diminishing creative potential in sophomoric prog rock. Sure, the dedication to craft is admirable to an extent, but we've heard this done in a far darker, more dangerous and ultimately exciting fashion than what is offered here on Themata.
Before I continue, it must be said that Karnivool are often as catchy as humanly possible. The vocal hooks are insane, and when vocalist Ian Kenny more closely follows the instrumental flow of guitarists Drew Goddard and Mark Hosking the results are even more spectacular. The problem? The rub only runs skin deep. I want tension, guitar freak-outs and unexplainable wails. Instead, I find myself in the protective midst of a record resistant to character. Karnivool really does sound like a less-interesting Tool fronted by a gifted but bland vocalist. The tone and range is there. The personality and conviction is not.
As much as I am not moved by Themata, I could easily see A LOT of people digging Karnivool for their groove and the Tool comparison. In all honesty, they do write a mean song, the title track and "Lifelike" being the strongest examples. I can't help but picture the band surrounded by the Australian version of The Matrix producers, concocting radio-friendly prog rock romps just complex enough for adult audiences and simple and light enough for Tool-minded teens. Themata is artistic ambition crystallized in an overly radio conscious sheen. As soon as the band discovers how to walk that careful balance, they'll successfully stand on their own two feet. Until then, they're impressive but forgettable.
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