Karma To Burn

Karma To Burn

Almost Heathen

Spitfire

Much like fellow jam-meisters Clutch, the all-instrumental Karma To Burn have steadily attracted a devoutly cult following with each passing year and record by touring like madmen and laying down grooves fatter than John Goodman. Their third and latest album, Almost Heathen, finds them with a new label, the hard-working Spitfire, and thusly a new lease on life in the fat lane, as they somehow lost support from their former label, the ever-fickle Roadrunner, and were increasingly marginalized as a freak act. Well, freak act they may be • in the best of connotations, ‘course • but Karma To Burn have delivered yet another headbanging slammer-slab with Almost Heathen. Really, aside from it being probably their least improv-oriented release thus far, the song remains the same on Almost Heathen: Song titles are replaced by numbers, no vox in sight, and repetition • but not repetitiousness, natch • is milked and contorted to the unfathomable Nth degree, groove after groove after groove piled high and plentiful, the trio attaining a sort of gas-huffed catharsis/coma by song’s end (“Thirty Five”), perpetually operating between early Montrose-gone-gonzo strut and “Children of the Grave”-esque demonic boogie (“Thirty Three,” “Thirty Nine”). Whether punters argue that Karma To Burn have painted themselves into a corner from the beginning (1993), it matters not, ‘cuz with such a clear-cut identity and exacting craftsmanship, we should welcome any new dosage of wild wattage with open arms. More like Almost Heaven.

Spitfire Records, 101 Bay Ave., Hicksville, NY 11801; http://www.spitfirerecords.com

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