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Released: Jul 19, 2013
Genre: Progressive Rock, Alternative Metal
Label: Density Records
Number Of Tracks: 14
Definitely one of the most interesting progressive releases this year, "Asymmetry" creates a dark soundscape and then fills it with creamy riffs mixed with angular licks.
AsymmetryFeatured review by: UG Team, on july 23, 2013 4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Sound: Honestly, this album was the first release I've listened to from Karnivool. I went back and listened to their back catalog to get a handle on the band and their history. They initially formed in 1997 in Australia, but had a shaky lineup until it stabilized later on and has stayed the same since 2004. Ian Kenny (lead vocals) and Drew Goddard (lead guitar and backing vocals) are the only founding members remaining in the band. Mark Hoskirg (guitar and backing vocals) has been a member since 2003, Jon Stockman (bass guitar) since 2000 and Steve Judd (drums) since 2004. They have been compared loosely to Tool in the way they create atmosphere with their music, but honestly it seems like that is a common and lazy comparison used for an entire breed of progressive rock/metal. Karnivool's early sound had a lot of elements of nu metal, but has taken steps with each release to move into a more progressive direction. This may be in part due to the band admittedly not feeling confident in their songwriting and as they've slowly grown more comfortable their songwriting has matured rather drastically.
"Asymmetry" is the band's third full length release, and contains 14 tracks. The total runtime of the album is somewhere in the neighborhood of just over an hour. The track "The Refusal" was the first single and released in May, though only locally to radio stations in Australia, it seems. A music video for "We Are" as released shortly after in June. The album opens with a short track titled "Aum," which is an instrumental soundscape that just helps build atmosphere. From there the album goes into "Nachash" which has an interesting futuristic vibe to it. "We Are" has a strong bass presence and some tremolo effect going on, while the vocals have a more contemplative feeling to them. The track "The Refusal" has an almost doom metal feeling to it, with some very heavy bass and guitar riffing. The title track "Asymmetry" has a weird glitchy looped opening which builds up with some very heavily distorted atmospheric guitar work. "The Last Few" is almost certainly the most aggressive song on the album with heavy riffing and an almost out-of-control feel. The track "Float" has an interesting lilting carnival lullaby type of thing going on. "Alpha Omega" is a slower tempo track with a light melody going along with the vocals and a basic drum pattern helping to fill it out and the track slowly builds to an almost schizophrenic crescendo. The album closes out with "Om," which is mostly a very sparse piano melody and a monologue (possibly from an old move I couldn't figure out where they pulled it from). Really an excellent track to end the album with, as it has just the right type of vibe for that purpose. // 8
Lyrics: Ian Kenny has a voice well-suited for progressive rock/metal, though at times does seem comparable to Maynard James Keenan or Steven Wilson (from Porcupine Tree). As a whole, the band's musical vision is pretty original, and Ian's voice acts as a good counterpoint to all the craziness the instrumentation throws at you. Honestly, while I haven't been familiar with Karnivool before this album, I would rate Ian up towards the top of the spectrum with progressive vocalists. The lyrics from the album all have the appropriate introspective and abstract feel for a good progressive album. As an example, here are some of the lyrics from "We Are": "I know there's something wrong/ stop making it up/ We're too proud to see/ we've lost more than our trust/ and now there's nothing left/ well is dead and dried up/ Its disease has left a foul taste in our cup/ It just keeps on flowing / and we drift on knowing/ it just keeps on flowing/ this babble from our mouth/ who we are/ I fear most of the time/ carry on shuffling/ in order and in line/ who we are/ I fear most of the time/ carry on whipping boy/ stare into the light/ stare into the light/ and it feels familiar for good reason." // 8
Overall Impression: This is one of those albums that I'm really happy to have reviewed because it opened me up to some good music I wasn't otherwise aware of. Listening back to their previous work, Karnivool is evolving in an interesting direction that I look forward to watching as they continue to release new music (hopefully on a faster timetable than their previous releases). My favorite tracks from the album would have to be "The Last Few," "Float" and "Alpha Omega." There aren't any tracks to dislike on the album. This was a really solid effort by Karnivool.
cjb2293, on august 06, 2013 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: Karnivool has finally released another album, titled "Asymmetry." This album has been quite a few years in the waiting, but was definitely well worth the wait as the band's sound continues to build on the musical complexity of the "Sound Awake" album. Perhaps what makes this album unique in relation to prior releases is the willingness of the band to experiment with ambient tracks which create unusual feels between certain songs (the title track "Asymmetry" is certainly a good example of this experimentation). Between these experimentations comes that same well crafted Karnivool sound we have all grown accustomed to; a sound that can only be described as the best of the progressive scene. Another thing to make note of is the beauty and time that was put into the album artwork. Both the normal and deluxe album covers offer a visual sense of intricacy that compliments the sounds of the album well. // 9
Lyrics: Lyrically this album has to be the best yet! You can really see how the band members are continuing to grow in their songwriting through their lyrical ideas, which are built upon mostly problems that nearly everyone in the world has or will face. Their single "We Are" is a prime example of the lyrical complexity that has been added to this album, which is a perfect balance to the complexity of the music. The song talks about the issues that the world is dumping on the younger generation, and the band states that they wish they could "reset it all."
The singer is perhaps one of the most impressive elements of the album. In songs where it is easy to lose yourself in the change of time signatures and catchy guitar riffs, the vocals are still able to remain the primary focus and deliver the exact emotions that most effectively compliment the song. // 10
Overall Impression: This album truly is the best of the progressive scene today. Songs such as "We Are," "The Refusal," and "Sky Machine" will become an instant, essential part of your music library and will leave you wanting more. However, the songs "Asymmetry," and "Amusia" may prove to be a bit on the more experimental side of the album and may not sit well with all of the album's listeners.
All in all, this album is great if you love the new progressive era and may end up broadening your horizons in the end of the day. I purchased the Deluxe version with the DVD included and would re-order it in a second if it were ever to be damaged. // 9