West Virginian trio Karma To Burn have been plying their trade now for nearly twenty years, and whilst they might not have been given the credit afforded to the like of Clutch and Kyuss, they have been instrumental in crafting some of the finest stoner rock releases you could wish for. With “Arch Stanton”, there sixth album they have returned to a strictly instrumental release after briefly flirting with vocals on 2011’s “V” which featured Year Long Disaster’s Daniel Davies.
For those unaware of the band, stoner rock and instrumentals can often mean long – winded free form jams, but there is nothing of the sort on here. Karma To Burn specialise in three or four minute masterpieces, simply without a vocalist. The format that has served them well in the past has delivered another winner. They have once again stuck to simply numbering their tracks, but as usual have mixed them up so they appear out of sequence, so try to stay with me here.
First up we have ‘Fifty Seven’, followed by ‘Fifty Six’, which open up the album with a couple of raucous, melodic classics full of huge riffs. There is a slight change of direction next, as ‘Fifty Three’ comes in, a sprawling, almost melancholic doom laden monster, before normal service is resumed roughly halfway through the track.. ‘Fifty Five’ is a much more menacing tune than you would expect Karma To Burn to play, but as always they keep everything moving along at the right pace, so even a curveball like this just seems to fit well. Closing track ‘Fifty Nine’ is another departure from the rest of the album, featuring samples and dialogue from Sergio Leone’s classic “The Good, The Bad, The Ugly”. The album title is also a reference to the film, and these samples fit right in along their trademark grooves.
Once again, the band have come up with an amazing album. It seems that they disappear for a while and only to return with another slice of genius. They are one of the few bands I can recommend to everyone I know regardless of their musical taste, and this is a perfect reason why I do this. Basically, if each of the eight tracks on here don’t have you nodding your head, or at least tapping your feet, then you may actually be dead.