What you see is what you get. Boasting two baseball-capped West Virginian dudes and one of the scariest looking drummers ever, [a]Karma To Burn[/a] like to keep it simple. There’s no singing, no setlists and not much in the way of rock posturing, just riff upon riff upon heavy riff. With added riffs.
They don’t even have song titles, preferring instead to identify their tunes by number alone. “They’re numbered after the order we wrote them in,” they offer, helpfully. So, songs called ’38’, ‘5’ and ’29’, no sex-god singer (they reckon they fired Kyuss‘ John Garcia for sounding too much like Ronnie James Dio) and not much in the way of a stage show.
But what they lack in the way of rock’s traditional trappings, [a]Karma To Burn[/a] make up for with sheer brute force and dynamics. One-part Black Sabbath and two-parts Black Flag, their set is a twisting, snarling beast that, given a decent sound desk, is like being trapped inside Satan’s own washing machine.
But 30 minutes in, and there’s just not enough peaks or troughs to make up for the lack of thrills. No matter how cool Rich Mullins looks as he swings his bass around his head, there’s still something missing. What’s Ronnie James Dio up to these days anyway?