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Karma Violens - Mount Of The Congregation

Karma Violens
Mount Of The Congregation
by Thomas Mulhern at 02 May 2021, 1:49 AM

There is a sample at the beginning of KARMA VIOLENS’ song “Death is Symbolic” from their debut album “Dormancy” about the irrelevance of categorising Metal bands, if its fast and heavy its metal regardless of what sub genre people think it is.  Three albums later one would wonder whether this was veiled warning of what was to come. They went from metalcore to blackened death metal to black metal, all pre-defined categories, so the irony is pretty evident. But regardless of the experimenting they choose to get here, I think they are getting awful close to the sound they were destined to end up with. And please don’t get me wrong, their first three albums were perfectly good in their own right, its just this is definitely their best - by a long shot.

Although they released their first album in 2011, KARMA VIOLENS have been around since 2002 and in that time, they have gained quite the reputation as a live band. Down the years they have shared a stage with bands as diverse as OPETHJUDAS PRIEST and AMON AMARTH, and it’s very easy to see how their songs up to now would translate well live. Their latest offering “Mount of the Congregation” consists of 13 songs, any of which will go straight to the setlist. The album starts with a short instrumental that is reused at the end of the second song “Embrace”, which is one of many, many simple but ingenious ideas.  That song, in itself, is one of the best on the album, nicely paced blackened death metal, heavy and harsh.  This is the predominant sound throughout, and sometimes it’s just straight-out Black Metal, but there is also a fair smattering of Thrash in there too, which was a very pleasant surprise and it doesn’t seem out of place at all. One downside of that, though, is that the finger tapping seems a little overused at times. Once or twice would have been enough; but I’m nit picking here. The next tracks “One Way Journey” and “The Observer” have nice changes of pace and are full of hooks, the latter even has an old school metal intro as do a few more songs further on.  All the while, the vocals fit perfectly with the ever-changing tones and the drumming is perfectly timed and thought out. The quality continues with “Great Old Ithaqua”,  “MyStorm Up On You” and “Kingdom of the Deserters”. The title track is really nicely arranged with the addition of guest vocals from Natasa Tsirou, which gives it an ethereal atmosphere; and it is beautifully buttressed by two instrumentals “Exodus”, and “Fly In Starlight”, which perfectly accompany that feeling. The album then finishes very strongly with firstly “The Gathering”, one of my favourite cuts on the album, with a very simple bass interlude idea in the middle; then “Mark On My Forehead”, that has a great change towards the end, and the album closer “The Light Beyond The Event Horizon”.

“Mount of the Congregation” genuinely has no fillers and even the order of the songs has been meticulously laid out to lead one into the other effortlessly. This album ticks all the boxes for me. Its production is beautifully balanced, the song writing is full of inventiveness and it’s heavy and melodic at the same time. Definitely as good as I’ve heard in a while and I'll be keeping a close eye on their tour dates for sure. But none of this is a surprise of course because the quality of these musicians has never been in doubt, only the ratio mix of the genres they chose. I may have been over critical of the route they took to get here but I can’t say enough good things about the destination reached. S'efharisto KV.

Songwriting 8
Musicianship 8
Memorability 8
Production 8

4 Star Rating

1. Necropolis
2. Embrace
3. One Way Journey
4. The Observer
5. Great Old Ithaqua
6. My Storm Upon You
7. Kingdom Of The Deserters
8. Exodus
9. Mount Of The Congregation
10. Fly In Starlight
11. The Gathering
12. Mark On My Forehead
13. The Light Beyond The Event Horizon
Illias ‘Blackbones' Zounis - Vocals
Costas Papadopoulos - Guitar
George Karakouzidis – Guitar
Steven Elpiziotis – Bass
Sevan Barsam – Drums
Record Label: Independent


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Edited 28 May 2023

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