Karma to Burn – Mountain Czar EP (SPV/Rodeostar)

Monday, 7th March 2016
Rating: 8/10

As usual, Karma to Burn are quick on the turnaround, following up 2014’s excellent Arch Stanton with a short split last year with Sons of Alpha Centauri, and now pumping out the Mountain Czar EP. It’s been the pattern since the band reformed in 2009 – Karma to Burn are both productive and vital, perhaps moreso today given how many lesser bands have followed in their instrumental/stoner wake. The fact they’re still without a vocalist (more on that in a second) doesn’t diminish the long-held fact Karma to Burn are the style’s go-to band.

Five cuts in all here, starting with the thumping “Sixty-Two,” a song that in a way, encapsulates a lot of what the band does so well, in particular, those hardened stop-starts, jangly chords, and smash-happy drums. It’s a great beer-clutcher of a song, if you will. Both “Sixty-One” and “Sixty” unearth largely the same heaviness and size, with guitarist William Mecum angling his guitar work toward the sludge border. The only real surprise on Mountain Czar is the cover of Tom Petty’s “Running Down a Dream,” hereby renamed “Uccidendo Un Sogno” and graced with vocals from Italian singer Stefanie Savy.

West Virginia’s finest couldn’t disappoint if they tried; well, that is, unless someone forced them to get a vocalist (again). Considering the massive amount of material Karma to Burn has amassed over the years, another ‘ole batch suits just fine on Mountain Czar.

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