Karma to Burn – Arch Stanton


Review by Jason Guest

Faba Records

Release date: 18 August 2014

For anyone unfamiliar with Karma to Burn that happens to happen across one of their shows, with three guys bashing away at their instruments on stage facing a crowd of silent heads slowly banging their approval, this band’s gigs must be an incredible spectacle. Amongst the nodding heads, there’s probably one, maybe two people air-guitaring – albeit in a little less obvious manner than someone at a Dragonforce gig – and maybe even one guy – drunk possibly – singing along with the riffs note for note. And with the crowd calling out numbers between songs like they’re at a Bingo callers convention, it’d be all over, the door wouldn’t be near enough to make that oh-so-desperate rapid exit.

But were they to stick around a while, they’d soon get it. Long-time rulers of instrumental stoner metal, Karma to Burn are a bunch of adept musicians like no other. With their distinct ability to create instrumentals that are as heavy, groovy, and melodic as they are captivating, catchy, and hypnotic, any and all outsiders, were they to allow the band a track or two, would soon be nodding their head and perhaps giving a sly strum of their secretly concealed air-guitar or even shouting out a two-digit number in a crowded room in the hope that K2B have a song that relates to it.

2014 and the band are back with album number six, Arch Stanton, another collection of outstanding (and out of sequence) instrumentals numbered, for the main part, in the fifties. Since reforming in 2009, the lineup has seen a few changes with the only original member remaining being guitarist William Mecum. But despite this, like releases from most bands 20-plus years into their career, Arch Stanton has K2B’s blood, sweat, and beers pouring from its every pore.

A squeal of feedback and the steady pummelling thump of the drums and the band’s jams are quickly being kicked out. Voluminous riff after riff are churned out of Mecum’s guitar while Rob Halkett (yes, he of The Exploited) cranks out huge farting bass lines to cement the melodies and the grooves into Evan Devine’s colossal drumming. “But”, comes the cry, “where be the vocals?” Simple answer: don’t need ‘em. There’s not a bad track here, not one where you aren’t hooked, and not one where your head isn’t rocking back and forth in rhythmic appreciation of the mighty grooves and hooks that just keep coming and coming and never showing the slightest sign of ever leaving your memory. And in taking its title from the grave in The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, the album’s also taken the cinematic feel. So, if you want to go a-ridin’ into town, a-whompin’ and whoopin’ every livin’ thing that moves within an inch of its life, stampede cattle, or shoot the sheriff in a high noon standoff to a killer soundtrack, you’d best send somebody back for a shitload of dimes to buy this.

Karma to Burn – Arch Stanton8 out of 10

Track listing:

  1. Fifty Seven
  2. Fifty Six
  3. Fifty Three
  4. Fifty Four
  5. Fifty Five
  6. Twenty Three
  7. Fifty Eight
  8. Fifty Nine