Music Review: Karhu
CD: Survival of the Richest
Prog rock/Metal has always been a mixed bag for me. On one hand, I have always appreciated the musicianship the players in these bands were able to display with their respective instruments. On the other hand I always felt I need to break out my Calculus book and calculator to understand the music while the songs always seemed a bit self-indulgent.
So last week I receive a email from a guy named Mark in the UK telling me about his band Karhu(meaning bear in Finnish), which is comprised of members from both the UK and Finland. He tells me Karhu is similar to bands like Finland’s Stam1na and are also a prog metal styled band and that he was interested in me giving the band a listen and reviewing their album. So I was like sure, I’ll give it a shot and started brushing up on my geometry and advanced math skills. So what did I find in Karhu? X+5(3 x7)=y to the sub-space cotangent…warp 9 to metal Mr. Sulu! My brain just pooped itself.
The first positive for me on Karhu’s ‘Survival of the Fittest’ is I didn’t find the songs very self-indulgent at all. By my definition of self-indulgent, I mean that there were no songs that ran for 15 minutes while having 37 different musical arrangements trying to fuse all genres of music together while putting me into a boredom coma. THANK GOD. On the album you have one song that hits over 6 minutes which I found to be a positive note for the type of prog music found here, especially with the album sporting 13 tracks. Which leads me to…
The music on the album is extremely well done and I can tell it is performed by very talented guys. Unlike the prog rock guys you would find in say, Rush or even Dream Theatre the music is VERY aggressive and very intricate. I was really, really impressed by the guitar work. There are some slow interludes also in the album that also really showcases Karhu’s musical talent. From top to bottom, any fan of complex and intricate guitar work, will really enjoy what ‘Survival of the Fittest’ showcases here.
On the flip side, for me, the vocals are a bit spotty. I’m not saying the singers can’t sing in the type of genre they are singing in. I’m just not a particular fan of the vocal styles. Karhu sports two vocalists. One sings in a more Death Metal style, which I have always struggled with, and the other has a style that seems akin to say Soundgarden or Alice in Chains. Now I know the growl type vocals will fit with the aggressiveness found here and such but like I said, I just have never been a fan and that is just my personal taste. Having said that, I even found songs where the both styles fit in well with the songs.
To sum up Karhu’s ‘Survival of the Richest’ I have to say this. Even though I am not an ardent Prog Metal guy I was very impressed overall by what I listened to. Even though the vocals were not my thing I still enjoyed what I heard. If you are interested in or a fan of aggressive, fast paced intricate guitar work and in your face music, this is the music and band for you won’t be disappointed in any way. Just bring a super computer to calculate up all the musical formulas used here.
I will list my rating but I think for a true fan of this genre you could easily add an extra point to my score.
Band Official Home Page:
Listen to the Album here: