2023 (self released)
We’ll just continue with the next review. This time, we’re taking a closer look at the new album by Karmamoi, “Strings From The Edge Of Sound.” I only know the Italian band from one previous album, and now, with the newcomer included, they have six albums on the shelves. The Karmamoi I knew had a female lead singer, but that changed in 2022. I was quite surprised when I heard a man singing. Was I disappointed? Absolutely not. Valerio Sgargi sounds fantastic with his warm and expressive voice. However, his presence is not the only reason for celebration.
The album features a mix of four new songs and five earlier compositions that are enriched with beautiful orchestral arrangements. What’s remarkable about this nine-piece is its remarkable coherence. The theatrical vocals and captivating orchestral arrangements are an unmissable binding element, and the four new songs also feature plenty of keyboard work that complements the overall sound. This piece of work perfectly showcases the new direction the band has taken. Everything sounds more passionate and fiery.
“Strings From The Edge Of Sound” opens with a new song, Black Hole Era, and it’s a clever choice. Led by the acoustic guitar, this atmospherically constructed song immediately draws you into the album. The thunderous drum beats from band founder Daniele Giovannoni are striking. Somehow, Karmamoi creates a gothic atmosphere (not metal) that permeates the entire album. The mood of Black Hole Era concludes with a delightful guitar moment, making you anticipate more delights from the album.
With the subsequent tracks, Nashira and Take Me Home, the orchestra joins the band, resulting in something beautiful. In the case of Nashira, melancholic passages and rhythmic elements alternate, leading to a grand finale. It’s all worth listening to – subtle, tasteful, and inspired. Take Me Home is melancholic for a long time, with Sgargi’s deep vocals, sparkling acoustic guitar, and a haunting ending that exudes a Russian vibe. It’s another piece of music with immense depth, and orchestral arranger Emilio Merone deserves all the praise.
Nevertheless, Karmamoi shows with Tell Me and I Will Come In Your Dreams that they can also shine without the orchestra. Tell Me has a bit more power, enhancing Sgargi’s Freddie Mercury-like grandeur, adding value to the overall performance. However, it’s the pastoral ballad I Will Come In Your Dreams with its beautiful melody that could almost be considered the album’s highlight, if the gorgeous Zealous Man hadn’t shown up yet. Delicious bombast here, reminiscent of Big Big Train.
The album concludes with the short title track. This atmospheric piece highlights how much the album benefits from such an artistic oddity.
“Strings From The Edge Of Sound” is an exceptionally good album. I can’t comprehend how people are capable of creating such beauty. Where do they get it from?
© Dick van der Heijde 2023