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Karmamoi – Room 101

Karmamoi
Room 101
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 31 May 2021, 1:42 PM

“Room 101” is the fifth studio album of Italian Progressive Rock Band KARMAMOI, out on May 28th. The album is inspired by George Orwell's ‘1984’. It revisits some of the novel’s themes and concepts, adapting them to the present day and focusing on the human mind and its weaknesses. Produced by Daniele Giovannoni, co-produced by Mark Tucker and Octavia Brown, “Room 101” features the participation of some great musicians, including Adam Holzman and Steve Unruh. KARMAMOIi also intend to make this album their first ever vinyl release.

“Memory Holes” leads off the album. It opens with some electronica, with charming lead female vocals. Bass and drums join in, along with some guitar notes. The sound is tense, and I am not sure where it is headed. It stays in the sublime role, never quite breaking out. Some funky electronic comes in towards the end of the song. “Drop by Drop” is a similarly long song, with more of those melancholy tones. It finally breaks out, with harmonized vocals and some lead guitar notes, but retreats again. The sound drops to near whispers. At the half-way mark, some more sound enters. But for the most part, it stays within that sad realm for much of the song.

“Dark City” features a similar sound. It’s so delicate that it hardly registers as music. This song reminds me a bit of THE CARPENTERS early work. The sound picks up for a spell but retreats again. With mostly just clean guitar notes, dreamy vocals, some light bell strikes, and soft percussion, there just isn’t much to this song overall. “Zealous Man” is an eleven-minute opus, beginning with smooth piano notes, and more dreamy vocals from Daniele Giovannoni. Suddenly, she stretches out into the upper ranges. Thick bass guitar notes can be heard amidst the chorus of vocals. It fades in an out for much of the song, ending with some spacy keyboard passages and spoken words.

“Newspeak” begins with more pretty piano notes, and a steady pulse of electronica with a few bass notes. Guitar and drums join in, and it’s a slow build from there. Some keys join in, then the sound drops back to just piano towards the end. Daniele is actually quite talented on the ivories. The title track opens with some ambient tones, and then a dark guitar riff and some more pronounced percussion comes in. This song has more sonority and presence. It builds with layers throughout, ending with a fully realized sound that reminds me of PINK FLOYD. “The New World” closes the album…another ten-minute beast. This song also has more sonority and is a bit psychedelic. Around the mid-way mark, it really comes at you with all cylinders firing. The following minute is super quiet, then the sound returns to completion.

My main critique of this otherwise quite charming album, with a great lead vocalist, is that there just isn’t much sonority with which to grade the album. I usually love this kind of music, and the band is talented, but the overload of melancholy tones wears on me though the length of seven long tracks. I have nothing against melancholy music, but too much of a good thing can be bad in the end. There is much potential here, but it just wasn’t quite met.

Songwriting: 6
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 5
Production: 8

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Memory Holes
2. Drop by Drop
3. Dark City
4. Zealous Man
5. Newspeak
6. Room 101
7. The New World
Lineup:
Daniele Giovannoni – Drums, Keyboards and Backing Vocals
Alex Massari – Guitars
Alessandro Cefalì – Bass
Record Label: Independent
     


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