Karmic Society - Journey. 2007 Germany

Karmic Society are a new, primarily instrumental German band who have a sound somewhere between the early 1970s German/British heavy prog rock sound (2066 and Then, Odin) combined with some 1960s jam band elements (Grateful Dead, QMS), and even some Kraut space rock similar to Ohr-era Guru Guru. Nice to see the high quality reissue label World in Sound beginning to produce some fine new talent in addition to their excellent reissue inventory. Journey opens with a fascinating cover of an obscure mid 1960s synthesizer composition, though with a full sounding rock band (organ, guitar, bass, and drums). From here they launch into their 4 original compositions, which are easily the highlights of the album. Hammond organ and electric lead guitar are the solo instruments of choice, and to my ears at least, they sound like the best of the retro hard prog rock groups like Black Bonzo, Blood of the Sun, and the Wicked Minds. One aspect of Karmic Society’s sound that I find highly appealing is their strong melodic sense, something that is lost on many newer bands. The final 3rd of the disc comprise of all covers. 'Yoo Doo Right', the old Malcolm Mooney era Can chestnut gets a much needed upgrade, and I find Karmic Society’s version considerably better and more focused (and frankly less annoying). Quicksilver’s 'Witches Moon' is up next, and Karmic Society are up to the task with a riveting version. They close with the Dead’s 'Dark Star', which if nothing else takes a lot of guts. There are literally thousands of live versions of this opus (by the Dead themselves of course), many of them masterpieces in their own right. They’re stomping on sacred ground here, and perhaps it would be better not to try an attempt, even if they do indeed produce a fine version I must say. An excellent album from a band we never heard from again (as I update this review in 2017).

Personal collection
CD: 2007 World in Sound

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