Double Play: Karma To Burn & Nader Sadek

Two reviews for the price of none!    

Iann Robinsonby Iann Robinson


Karma To Burn


Napalm Records


I have no idea what the hell is going on with Karma To Burn. First they break up, and then they get back together and release the incredible album Appalachian Incantation. That record featured vocals from Year Long Disaster singer Daniel Davies, which is bizarre since Karma To Burn fought so hard to remain instrumental after Roadrunner tried to force a singer on them. Keeping up with the drama, Year Long Disaster and Karma To Burn tour and then decide to merge. Daniel Davies joins up with Karma To Burn and they record the band’s newest release V. Just as V is about to come out Daniel Davies leaves Karma To Burn and starts another band, which is a concern since three songs on V feature Davies’ vocals. Oh and let’s not forget about the entire recording Karma To Burn has done with John Garcia, recordings that have yet to see the light of day.


Stop, take a breath, and let it all go. Regardless of the drama that follows Karma To Burn like a bad case of fleas, the music is still great, still far and beyond many of their rock peers. V is classic Karma To Burn, thick grooves, dirty fuzzed out tones and all of it layered over intricate song structures. The opening riff of album, for the tune “47”, is pretty close to rock genius. You will be forced to groove to this riff There is no way to escape the pumping fist or the head bop where you utter the eternal music phrase “Fuck yeah”.


The next tune, “50” (sensing a pattern here?), is a full on stoner groove. The bastard results if Black Sabbath’s “Children Of The Grave” and the Kyuss tune “Space Odyssey” had a child. “48” is a more straight-ahead rock jam, a seventies arena rock intro spiced up with a pinch of Motorhead. Tossed into this instrumental mix are three tunes with Davies singing that, interestingly enough are the only titles with words in them. Davies voice is haunting at times but without losing the Rock God attitude. While I prefer hearing Karma To Burn’s instrumental work, the vocal tracks are pretty killer. The best of the three is “Cynic”, which comes alive with a ZZ Top meets Thin Lizzy vibe and “Never Say Die”, which conjures up images of Van Halen performing Kiss covers. 


Throughout it all Karma To Burn keeps V interesting by never limiting themselves to just the grooves. The band weaves some great guitar and bass parts just beneath the main riff. The drums also play an important part here, which can be rare when the term stonerrock is bandied about. Instead of mimicking the bass or keeping time with the groove, drummer Rob Oswald is constantly changing it up, conforming his drums to the shape of the riff being played instead of just the groove. 


I’m interested in how the band will perform these songs live without Davies in the band. The core of what V is comes from the interplay between the two guitars and the bass. Without that the synergy of the songs could be off and that would seriously lesson the impact live. Whatever happens next with Karma To Burn, V is another example of how this band won’t die and refuses to make anything but great music.




Nader Sadek review on Page 2…



Nader Sadek

In The Flesh

Season Of Mist


For those outside the underground art scene, the name Nader Sadek may be something of a mystery. For those who know his work, the New York based and Egyptian born artist is a dark talent known for his bizarre sculptures, masks and art installations. In the music scene his work has been used by underground legends like Mayhem and Sunn O))). After years producing work inspired by the darker arts, Nader Sadek has put himself into the eye of the storm with his musical debut In The Flesh


This could be seen as an all-star record as it involves a veritable who’s who of extreme music artists. Most of the work here is the collaboration between Nader Sadek and ex-Morbid Angel songwriter/vocalist Steve Tucker. Playing alongside Sadek and Tucker are Crypstopsy drummer Flo Mounier and composer/guitarist Rune Eriksen (ex-Mayhem). Other guests include Attila Csihar (Mayhem), Travis Ryan (Cattle Decapitation), Tony Norman (Monstrosity), Descructhor (Morbid Angel), and Nick McMaster (Krallice).


While the roster is impressive, the music behind In The Flesh is equally so. It’s clear that Nader Sadek approaches music from a visual art perspective. The songs here are swathed in textures and broad strokes of both noise and guitars. Some will say this Black Metal, other Death Metal, but to me In The Flesh is more Nader Sadek’s twisted art vision born into a new medium. The music is brutal and clearly has its roots in more tepid extreme music, but something deeper is going on. There is a screaming desperation, a guttural ugliness that transcends genre. In The Flesh is performance art with guitars, a noise album of feedback that picks up a groove pushed along but methodical drumming.


One of the things that make it clear that Nader Sadek is creating an artistic statement within the music is the use of tension. The first part of the album is peppered with these short soundscapes that almost act as palette cleansers. You’re exposed to a torrent of brutality and then calmed again. Half way through In The Flesh, the soundscapes end and you’re left with nothing but straight brutality. The lack of those palette cleansers makes the end of the album quite an experience. I was also moved by the desolation of the record, how with so much going on musically, the album still seemed cold and lonely. If you examine Nader Sadek’s work, you can similarities between his visual art and In The Flesh.


Anytime extreme music steps out of itself I enjoy it even more. Like all genre it can become stale if bands don’t push the limitations. While Nader Sadek is more of an art project than a straight band, it may inspire other musicians to take new risks and chances with what they do. In The Flesh is a raw exercise in brutality, not to mention a solid extreme music record. Outside of that it’s also an example of what can happen when art and music collide in a very dark arena.