Karma is a bitch, or so the saying goes. If you live by the golden rule, karma just might be your bitch. I try to follow the rule, but sometimes I end up being a prick just like everybody else. That is when it happens: late for work, flat tire, spilled coffee – karma. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Because of this, sometimes violence begets violence, especially in the name of revenge. The extreme metal band Karma Violens of Athens, Greece takes their name from these examples, because every action these days seems to elicit a violent response. Formed in 2002, they have only released an EP (“Katara” in 2007) and an album (“Dormancy” in 2011), but both have been well received. Karma Violens’ latest offering, “Skin of Existence,” was released via Growl Records on May 25, 2015.
Karma Violens’ version of extreme metal is a healthy blend of death, black, thrash, and even a little deathcore mixed in for good measure. Like a good India Pale Ale, their music may open with one flavor, and then shift to another, and then finish with another. Most of the tracks start with an intense aroma of Swedish melo-death. ‘Bloodbath,’ ‘Floating in Sadness,’ and the title track are the most pungent with At The Gates characteristics. The flavor of French marching elephants is strong in the Gojira-like ‘Le Temps Du Suicide,’ ‘About My Creator,’ and ‘Dead Man’s Story.’ ‘Soulless Child,’ ‘Si Vis Vitam Para Mortem,’ ‘Incubation Bay,’ and ‘Paralyzed’ are filled with the hoppy punch of Lamb of God.
The band as a whole sounds great. However, for me the real all-star of the album is vocalist Marios Dupont. The subtle changes in his vocal delivery from song style to style are what really help set them apart. The overall sound quality of the record is great. Karma Violens did an excellent job of recording and producing the album themselves. Having Daniel Castleman (As I Lay Dying) mix it and Alan Duches (Motorhead, Dillinger Escape Plan, Converge) master it helped as well.
“Skin of Existence” is a definite step forward for Karma Violens. Their time on the road with the likes of Judas Priest, Amon Amarth, Fear Factory, Arch Enemy, and The Black Dahlia Murder has definitely helped them forge their sound. I just hope it does not take another four years for them to put out another record!