Release Date : May 27th, 2011
Karma to Burn’s V, or five in Roman Numerals, for those of you wondering, is hence the title, the fifth studio album by this West Virginia stoner trio, as well as the second to be released on Napalm Records. The band is known for their energetic instrumental dirges, along with the use of some creative song titling. V is no exception to this trend.
After relocating to Los Angeles, along with a seven year hiatus before K2B’s previous album, Appalachian Incantation was recorded, V was produced by John Lousteau in none other than Dave Grohl’s Studio 606 in L.A. The lineup features the same core members as on previous works, with bassist Rich Mullins, guitarist Will Mecum, and drummer Rob Oswald. Three of the eight songs on the album were recorded with Year Long Disaster front man Daniel Davies, who had been featured on Appalachian Incantation, although he left after the recording was completed to pursue other projects. Also just like on previous works, the band uses numbers for the titles of their instrumentals, which correspond to the order they write them in, along with worded titles on the tracks featuring vocals.
Karma to Burn is one of those bands that you just have to see live in order to obtain the full experience and energy these guys possess. One can immediately appreciate the way that the eight songs on this album contain the energy of a live show. The first track, “47” starts off with a slow, southern laced guitar opener, after which the listener is thrown head first into a mid tempo jam. While the song is not overly technical, it is a good, fun opener to the album, and sets the stage for the pieces to follow. As with their previous instrumentals however, the album seems to be missing an element. It’s as if the vocals were recorded and scrapped at the last minute. Nevertheless, the resulting jam sessions are enjoyable on their own, with Oswald’s in the pocket drumming holding the songs together, and Mecum’s guitar carrying the tunes forward.
Two more instrumental pieces follow – the feedback drenched “50” and another more energetic piece entitled “48”. Both contain the same energy found in the first track, and so far the music sounds like it would make excellent background music at any party. These are the kind of songs that get stuck in your head, even with no lyrics to sing along with.
We then get to hear the first of the vocal tracks on the album, a stoner opus entitled “The Cynic”. This is one of my personal favorites on the record. Davies’ slightly distorted vocals add a refreshing dimension to the normally instrumental group, and the song could very well be the band’s single.
We are then treated to two more fun instrumental pieces before sliding back into the finale. Davies returns to the microphone for the breakneck paced “Jimmy Dean” and the album’s closer, a Black Sabbath cover of “Never Say Die”, the latter of which was featured on a Metal Hammer compilation.
Karma to Burn might have released their best number yet with V. They are a band with no limits to what they create, and never fail to impress with their uncompromisingly energetic jams. V will appeal to fans of Kyuss, Queens of the Stone Age, and more. This is most definitely an essential album in the collections of K2B fans, and stoner rock fans alike.
Rating : 8.8/10
Notable Tracks : The Cynic, Never Say Die, 47, 51