Death Karma - Official Website

The History Of Death & Burial Rituals Part I

Slovakia Country of Origin: Slovakia

2. Madagascar - Famadihana
3. Mexico - Chichén Itzá
4. Czech Republic - Úmrlčí Prkna
5. India - Towers Of Silence
6. China - Hanging Coffins

Review by Felix on May 28, 2023.

Not only in terms of heavy metal, Eastern Europe stood in the shadow of the western half of the continent for a long time. But after the fall of the Iron Curtain, it became more and more evident that the metal scenes of the eastern countries also have a lot of interesting bands to discover. Death Karma joins the ranks of original groups from the east. Inter alia because of personnel overlaps, their musical preference lies in close proximity to that of Cult of Fire. The full-length also demonstrates once again that Master´s Hammer had a big influence on the Czech and Slovak scene. In particular the aura of “The History…” equals that of their masterpieces “Ritual” and “The Jilemnice Occultist”. For example, listen to the short straightforward parts of the opener. They sound like a forgotten recording of the Czech forefathers.

The production unites keyboards and guitars in order to shine with a very dense and intensive sound. It is based on the mighty instrumentation which leads to a powerful and thrilling experience of horror. With these requirements, the burial rituals develop their full effect in an irresistible manner. One has hardly any chance to escape the funeral atmosphere, because the musical implementation reeks of the smell of death without interruption. It is not that kind of rottenness that (Swedish) death metal bands evoke. Nevertheless, the songs seem to be the soundtrack of a funeral which takes place on a grey day in November. This does not mean that the music itself is dreary or monotonous. The group does not suffer from a lack of ideas. Do not be confused by the fact that the band has recorded only six songs. The musicians have integrated a lot of fantastic breaks so that the album does not show any deficiencies. The surprising effervescent keyboard line of the fifth track, which occurs after 58 seconds, illustrates the unexpected twists of the compositions perfectly. By the way, this piece is a very well designed instrumental.

Death Karma takes us on a trip around the world. They want to make us familiar with the special characteristics of different cultures in dealing with death. Countries like India or Mexico are represented. But I have to admit that the compositional approach of the single tracks stays more or less the same during the entire album. I am fine with this, because the constant emanation of transience matches very well with the concept of this full-length. And I do not want to hide that the band has involved rarely surfacing oriental or Indian sound sequences. All in all, the quality of the songwriting is admirably high. Only the third track needs three minutes in order to reach the amazing level of the remaining songs. This is just a minor flaw in view of the highlights such as “China – Hanging Coffins”. It leaves no questions unanswered while offering powerful and captivating guitar lines, unleashed drumming and atmospheric keyboard sounds. The majestic overall impression is the result of the stylish arrangements of harsh sections and mystic interludes. The latter ones are characterised by spheric keyboards which reveal a surreal aura. They stress the mysterious feeling of entering a new dimension.

Of course, you are free to dislike the outcome that the band presents. You can reject its lyrical content as well as the music itself. But you will not have the right to call this album insubstantial, half-baked or uninspired. It is an outstanding work in its own way. The only question is whether you like the combination of keyboards with extreme metal. I guess that no supporter of the black / death genre will deny that the sinister flair of “The History…” hits the mark. Hopefully, its second part will be published before I die. I am curious to see what comes next; Australia? Luxembourg? The Fiji Islands? However, I want to be buried in Germany. But from my side, this project definitely has no priority.

Rating: 9.2 out of 10