I had seen it coming but could not believe it would be so convincing. Vicious Rumors had already started sounding great with their latest two albums, ”Warball” (2006) and ”Razorback Killers” (2011), but with their eleventh album ”Electric Punishment” they come to prove why they were one of the best American bands of all times, especially in the late ’80s to mid ’90s.
My Sleeping Karma, this progressive, psychedelic, space, groove rock band from Germany, are quite known for their love for “mystical” themes. Their fourth album, “Soma”, walks the same path. As they did on “Tri”, My Sleeping Karma are again dealing with Hinduism. In the Hindu philosophy, soma is the intoxicating drink of the gods and is made up of six ingredients, whose names are cleverly given to the main tracks.
What My Sleeping Karma have managed to do here, is to create an album so fluid, like the drink itself. “Soma” is composed by six tracks that are separated by five transitional interludes. On the one hand, the tracks are quite dynamic, with heavy riffs that start off as simple but are building up into something really intense. In each song there is a main musical theme and then the whole song revolves and evolves around it. It’s like My Sleeping Karma have given a certain direction to each track. The tone changes are minimum, but somewhere in the middle of every track the music seems to soften or harden for a bit, just to regain your attention (as if the was a chance of losing it).
On the other hand, you have the interludes; five interludes that are similar and yet so vastly different from one another. After every dynamic track, you have a mellow interlude that makes the passage from one song to another smoother. And in the end this is what makes this album so fluid. But what makes the interludes stand out and even allows them to stand on their own is the intelligent way in which they are composed. In each interlude, only one instrument plays the dominant part, with the rest supporting it without stealing the attention.
What adds another dimension to them is the use of sounds of the nature. At the beginning of the interludes, you can hear either the rain and birds, or a beating heart and breathing. To tell you the truth, I was taken aback by how complete this album sounds. If you added or removed one single thing, it wouldn’t sound as good as it does. Just listen to the first track, “Pachyclada” (and in my opinion the best composition in “Soma”). A soundboard melody opens the track, then the rhythm section kicks in softly and after that the guitar creates a powerful start. The amazing riff that comes in the middle makes it even better.
Listen closely to the soft guitar-work and the tone change in “Ephedra”. Notice how the bass stands out in “Eleusine Coracana” and how the track softens magically in the middle, only to offer you a powerful return. Pay attention to the light thumping of the drums in “Somalatha”.
“Soma” is a masterpiece, simple as that. The multilayered compositions, the enchanting melodic parts, the clean production and of course the artwork, a creation of Sebastian Jerke, everything comes together to form a parallel mystical universe in which you completely lose yourself. And you will gladly do it again and again.
|Track List||Line Up||01. Pachyclada
03. Eleusine Coracana
|Matte – Bass
Seppi – Guitar
Steffen – Drums
Norman – Soundboard