Karma to Burn - V
Yet again this band releases something and I have no idea why people like this stuff. It is possibly because I am a singer and like to hear singing that it leaves me so cold. But it takes a lot to impress me when it is an instrumental album (mostly) and this just doesn't. It is more like Karma to Bore. This is atmospheric stoner rock I am told. I wonder if that means it only works if you are in fact stoned off your head.
Considering the tone of this review it will not surprise anyone to know that in fact I like one track on this CD quite a bit called "The Cynics". The two other songs that include Daniel Davies of Year Long Disaster as vocalist are a Black Sabbath cover (gee how original) and "Jimmy D". They are, at least, interesting to listen to and have some attraction. Their first album had a vocalist on it at the insistence of Roadrunner Records. I think RR was on the right track. Fans of this band obviously disagree.
Pagan's Mind - Heavenly Ecstasy
Keyboard ladened proggy heavy rock with lavish amounts of Scandinavian pop rock touches. The opening track "Eyes of Fire" is the heaviest love song you will hear for a while. Every song on this release has something that is missing on most prog influenced metal albums, catchy as stink choruses. Check out "Live Your Life Like Dream" for a track where it all comes together wonderfully. Every single song has quite a sing-along quality as if they were trying to be a slightly more edgy Europe. And there is nothing wrong with that when it drips with such quality. There is an almost Winger like quality to some of these tracks.
What helps is the lead singer Niels K. Rue has a voice which is slightly distinctive in tone. There are qualities in his voice that remind the older listener of Graham Bonnet of Rainbow and Alcatrazz fame. The package just works all around. There is not one duff track on here, even managing to get through the minefield that is a ballad with aplomb, a tad cheesy but not too much. There are times when the band brush all sorts of genres from prog to Scandinavian pop to power metal. No matter what it sounds like it just works all around. Imagine if a Scandinavian band had recorded Empire by Queensryche and you are getting somewhere.