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Kavorka – Internal Rituals

Kavorka
Internal Rituals
by Rachel Montgomery at 08 April 2020, 4:16 PM

I wanted to like this album. KAVORKA is an Icelandic band formed in 2016; as an aside, I’ve been there, it’s an awesome place. Their album’s vinyl version has been postponed due to the global COVID-19 crisis, as have their tours, but the songs are out. Again, I wanted to like it and I was looking forward to enjoying the album. It sounded like they were going to get into some angsty, hard topics that great music has come from. Instrumentally, the foundation was there for a great, vintage-sounding hard rock album. However, the static in the production and the grating vocals killed it.

The opening track, “Juggernaut” begins with a winding buildup with a whining, sonar note. And while the instrumentals are tight, I personally think the vocals are a little too far back. They’re not entirely muffled, but they sound a little lost behind the instruments. Other than that, the opening track is a hard-rock anthem with its edges softened thanks to the impending static. It honestly sounds like a 2000s rock song coming through an old radio. Which is a shame, because if it had the production clarity, it could sound like old ROB ZOMBIE or MARILYN MANSON, and I would completely dig the vintage vibes. The rest of the album plays the same way. Some bite comes though in “The Cadavers”, but it’s still mired in this grainy overall tone that makes it sound like it’s coming from a busted car. Also, the vocals are butt-rock levels of bad. There are gritty stylized vocals, then there’s belted yelling into the microphone. Maybe it’s your cup of tea, but I really don’t care for it. Maybe I would if the album were produced better, but as it stands, it doesn’t add it style, it adds awfulness.

They are particularly horrible on “Black Halo” where the yelling into the microphone just sucks. I feel like I’m being screamed at; it’s everything people who say they hate metal cite as why they hate metal. And no, the background vocals on this track do not help. And they have a seven-minute track, “Wino”. The intro would be good if the static hadn’t been turned up to eleven. Once the vocals come on, I can barely stomach it, especially since the song becomes the worst combination of the yell-singing and the static at that point. The closer, “Iron Tomb” is somewhat of a saving grace. If they used this speak-singing throughout, I could have accepted this album as a progressive experimental piece, even with the static. Then, they start yelling through the static. The rest of the track has nothing redeemable, no experimental flairs, no high points, just yelling, static, and sludge.

Overall, I did not enjoy this. I hate giving bad reviews because I know that even with albums that aren’t great, a lot of work went into them. When something clearly had potential and could have been a passable or even great piece, but it’s completely screwed the pooch in production and vocal stylings, that’s not OK. The production needed to be clearer. The vocals themselves make me wish I were listening to NICKELBACK. If they have a chance to re-record, I will say make the production clearer, nix the static, and use the vocal stylings at the beginning of the last track, perhaps with some creative ambiance thrown in. But as is, I have to give it a hard skip.

Songwriting: 6
Production: 1
Musicianship: 5
Memorability: 2

1 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Juggernaut
2. The Cadavers
3. Black Halo
4. Wino
5. Great PerilHindsight
6. Crossbearer
7. Iron Tomb
Lineup:
Sæþór Þórðarson - Guitar & Vocals
Haukur Már Guðmundsson - Lead Vocals
Arnar M. Ellertsson - Bass
Haukur Þór Finnbogason – Drums
Record Label: Independent
     


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Edited 05 June 2020
 

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