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Crunchy - 80%

NoSoup4you22, September 11th, 2019

Based on the “melodeath” tag I was given for Karmatic, I expected something like Skyfire or pre-suckage In Flames (cue the joke everybody makes). What I got is quite a bit different, and I’m reminded of genre arguments we used to have all the time about that term. Whatever it may be, Unlimited Energy is a success.

This album is quite a bit groovier than I expected, and melodic in less obvious and pandering ways. It’s not the most ambitious in terms of experimentation, but damn, the riffs are heavy and satisfying, and that’s what metal is about. I would liken them to something between Gojira and Amon Amarth. There’s some hints of sophistication beneath the midtempo stomping, like brief fusion-esque clean parts, tapping lead embellishments, and an active bass player, but it mostly lives on the catchiness of the riffs. I don’t think it’s the band’s intention, but I get a tribal vibe here. Besides the swampy low end and the singer’s neolithic bellow, there’s a certain call-and-response logic to the phrasing, a natural simplicity that makes you wonder why you didn’t think of it yourself.

The secret star of the show might be the awesomely heavy mix, which jumps out from the very first second. It’s like the audio texture equivalent of Captain Crunch, except your gums are still intact afterwards. This album wouldn’t work with a lesser mix.

I don’t know if Unlimited Energy will be a part of my permanent rotation, but it’s got a refreshing modesty about it. At 36 minutes, it does its thing quickly and gets out, no filler or downtime, and just has extremely solid fundamentals. Plus, if you look closely, you can spot a tit on the album cover, 10/10.

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