Even before listening to Death Karma, there is a lot to process. First of all are the members which already inhabit the semi popular Czech act Cult of Fire and Lykathea Aflame. Secondaly, the concept for Death Karma’s debut record, The History of Death & Burial Rituals Part I, also gives reason for more attention even before beginning the first track. Instead of easing into the world of black/death, the act has decided to dedicate themselves to a global tour of burial rituals from Slovakia to China. This would already be an interesting prompt for a metal record but the addition of Death Karma’s unorthodox approach to the black/death sound makes it near spectacular.
It is important to note the multi-instrumental approach for Death Karma with two members and guest. Even though the mix has all instruments including woozy synth, the production feels light and spry. This atmosphere leads to a particularity dangerous feeling of dread without the addition of oppression. Black/death can be buried in its own sound but The History of Death & Burial Rituals Part I connects with audiences whether it be by fist, claw, or jagged branch. If the angular ascent on “Mexico – Chichén Itzá” doesn’t halfway interest you, I would question whether or not you are truly breathing or recently dead.
Death Karma shows themselves to make an interesting record which is full of surprises and points of entertainment. “Czech Republic – Úmrlcí Prkna” has a wonderful catchy riff which runs through the spine of the song while the background for “India – Towers of Silence” is a chaotic garden filled with dangerous plant life. The build in the final track “China – Hanging Coffins” makes the whole blistering conclusion fitting to the experience. Most of the time, black/death can be enjoyable. The times when it is arranged in a unique pattern is when it becomes astounding. I feel I knew Death Karma before even hearing their debut. This band comes with a long procession leading into their releases. I am happy that all of this hype has lead to a descent through mortal coils.