Karma To Burn

Karma To Burn
Played at Graspop Metal Meeting
2009 / 2013


United States


Roadrunner Records ziet in 1997 een goudhaan in KARMA TO BURN als eigenzinnig instrumentaal stonerrocktrio. Het label verplicht hen echter eerst hun koppigheid van vocalen te voorzien vooraleer er een contract zou worden getekend. Net na de split van die andere undergroundlegende, Kyuss, blijkt diens frontman John Garcia de geknipte persoon. K2B trekt met Garcia doorheen Europa en scoort vooral op Dynamo grote ogen. De Kyuss-stem zou echter nooit op plaat belanden (althans niet tot 2010). Het titelloze debuut wordt daadwerkelijk – ferm tegen de zin van de groep – met zanger opgenomen, maar het is opvolger ‘Wild Wonderful Purgatory’ die de bal aan het rollen brengt. In de annalen van de stonerrock is dit album ondertussen uitgegroeid tot een klassieker die zijn gelijke niet kent. Na het al even tot de verbeelding sprekende ‘Almost Heathen’ is de lont echter opgebrand. De leden nemen afscheid en gaan elk hun eigen weg. Bezieler William Mecum komt in 2009, met een herbronnen originele bezetting terug én met een platen die ons meteen terug naar 1998 katapulteren. Na vier jaar touren en twee nieuwe platen onder de arm ('Apallachian Incantation' en 'V') ziet u zondag een van de coolste riffmachines van de planeet.

Forged deep in subterranean West Virginia in 1994 by two careless and angry young men, William Mecum and Richard Mullins, Karma To Burn initially gnashed its teeth at the conventional wisdom you need a whining, posing douche-bag at a microphone stand to play rock and roll. They were of a mind to create a power trio free of this biologically inferior component. In the absence of lyrics, they titled the songs by number. Before they’d counted as high as their educations permitted, Roadrunner Records offered to release their debut album . . . on the condition that they get a singer.  The base beliefs of Karma To Burn—that true power was in the instrument, the extension of the body, free of the eviscerated flesh and mind—never wavered. Except when they were offered cash. Then it fell like Satan from the stars.

The first record, compellingly titled Karma To Burn, featured such nods to convention as vocals, lyrics, and song titles. However, just as Dr. Frankenstein could not make his creation a man by swaddling it in men’s clothes, our heroes were likewise unable to make Karma To Burn anything but an instrumental outfit. Exercising their God-given right to stick to their baseless, narrow-minded convictions, they responded to those trying to convince them that their hatred for lead singers was misguided with the trained response, “Now not having a singer, that's what’s called being a man.”

They carried on as a three-piece, jettisoning drummers hither and yon before recruiting current madman Evan Devine. They released two more albums of instrumental heavy rock, Wild Wonderful Purgatory and Almost Heathen, to astonishment and accolades. Accolades almost begat money. Almost money begat opiates. Opiates begat differences, and differences decimated Karma To Burn in 2002.

In 2009, with the maturity of three screaming, biting five-year-olds Mullins, and Mecum put aside their differences. Soon after minting the phrase “L.A. Cunt,” Karma to Burn booked a small reunion tour, to the consternation of all innocent bystanders and the furious joy of all participants. They followed that tour with a summer stampede across Europe, including Download Festival (UK), Hellfest (FRA) and Graspop Metal Meeting (BEL), where they unveiled the latest in their numbered paeans to pandemonium. Bees attacked. LPs sold out. They have no choice but to carry on, and so there will be more to come. In November 2009, Karma to Burn returns to Europe, and in December support Monster Magnet in the UK. In the glorious spring of 2010 there will be a new Karma To Burn record, brought to you by the almighty hand of Austrian Metal Giant Napalm Records.