Defiant heavy rockers, Karma To Burn, continue their reunion with V. Always resisting commercial expectations and viability, K2B still offers their heavy, stoner, rock numbers as, well, numbers, unless of course there are vocals. Oh yeah, the vocals, and ergo the defiance. Roadrunner demanded it on their eponymous first album, and it sold poorly. So K2B, undeterred, went for the uncompromising instrumental course. That is until they collapsed in 2002. Resurrected with same lineup six years later, Karma To Burn toured extensively before recording their well-received come back Appalachian Incantation. And once more they would give vocals a go, if only on a few songs.
So repeats V. There are eight tracks on this short album: five instrumental, and three with vocals provided by Daniel Davies (Year Long Disaster). The instrumentals can be boiled down to heavy, groove-laden, material. Some are fine rockers like 47 and 49. (Remember instrumental songs are numbered.) 50 is heavy and rumbling with nice bass work (but the bass work often sounds muted throughout). 48 is deep, resonant, and well-paced. And 51 is steady and unpretentious, mostly redundant heavy rock.
For the three vocal tracks the best are The Cynic and Jimmy D with highly infectious rockers. Actually, they're the best cuts on album, not because of the vocals which are muted, but simply because they are more spirited groove rockers (and Jimmy D has a guitar solo). Never Say Die is a Black Sabbath cover of the same name which was the last album and last single with Ozzy before a reunion 20 years later. K2B does okay, but that there may have been other, better, choices from a more interesting Sabbath era.
Ultimately, while I liked V, I was not overwhelmed by this presentation. However, for great American heavy rock, there's few doing it as well as Karma To Burn.
With V, Karma To Burn offers a near carbon copy of previous work. It's good thing they're very good at the same thing.
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