To say that the debut album Survival Of The Richest by UK metal band Karhu took me more than twice as long to review than most albums i have previously done is an understatement. It consists of 13 tracks with a total running time of 52 minutes and has more time changes than a Guns And Roses tour, onstage time schedule! The album is a very challenging listen but definitely worth the effort. It’s not the sort of music that can be played in the background as it needs 100% of the listener’s time to fully appreciate every nuance. Not one track sounds like another on it and there is so much musical diversity, it is difficult to categorize. The main influence i can pick from their press release would be Opeth, but after many plays, i can hear segments of Dillinger Escape Plan and At The Drive In there.
As good as the music is, the dual vocal attack by guitarists Joseph Parry and Osku Kinnunen are the album’s selling point in my opinion. Listed as clean vocals by Joseph and growled vocals by Osku, they are a force to be reckoned with as they bring to mind Randy Blyth/Michael Akerfeldt and Chris Cornell between them. Although the band are unsigned, Survival Of The Richest is available via Amazon, Spotify, i Tunes or direct from Karhu at www.thekarhugroove.com.
I made so many notes on listening to the album it would take an age to type it all in but brief album highlights would be opening track Lambent, just under 2 minutes of haunting vocals over serene guitar chords. Reality begins with a vintage Opeth stomping riff with alternating vocals but at just over 2 minutes long, seemed too short just as the song was progressing. The album’s title track kicks off with brooding/chiming guitar riffs into Opeth like passages before growled vocals over a driving beat are followed by clean vocals, then the opening riff comes back in. Ignorance is the fastest song on the album, it’s insistent riffs, snapping drums, pissed off vocals and a brilliant fluid guitar solo somehow manage to squeeze into 3 frantic minutes! An example of the album’s diversity is shown in the 6 minute long The Dream. Beginning with a sparse guitar, ethereal vocals, a majestic guitar riff, death metal growls and speed metal breakdown, clean vocals come in after 3 minutes to great effect followed by the opening riff and a pleading Chris Cornell like vocal on the final verse. D-44’s Megadeth like dual guitar opening segues into a prog metal groove which builds into call and respond clean/aggressive vocals. Isa’s abrasive guitars and death metal vocal precede some awesome clipped speed metal riffing midway as the song ends in a crashing Opeth like finish. Darker Days is a full on metal assault with shared vocals and yet another killer guitar solo. Open begins with Sabbath type riffing, before heading off into Megadeth speed technicality over roaring vocals. Album closer Vinette begins with a spacey guitars over double tracked clean vocals before a Rush like mid section closes the song. Karhu have amassed a set of technically faultless songs which no doubt will slay in live setting. A band to keep an eye out for the future!
Karhu band members :-
Matthew Morris – Bass.
Joesph Parry – Guitar/Clean vocals.
Ollie Davis-Gower – Drums.
Osku Kinnunen – Guitar/Growled vocals.
Album track listing :-
Survival Of The Richest.
A flawless album so it gets 10/10!