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Karmic Link - "No Light but Rather Darkness Visible" (CD)

Karmic Link - "No Light but Rather Darkness Visible" CD cover image

"No Light but Rather Darkness Visible" track listing:

01. Over You
02. Sickness
03. Destination
04. Still Here
05. Hide These Words
06. Devil's Dance
07. Paralyzed
08. Weak Being
09. Foreign Land
10. No Light but Rather Darkness Visible

Reviewed by on July 2, 2009

"Sweden’s Karmic Link make their debut with an album that seeks to dazzle and kick things up into a fury via substantial keyboard passages and ripping coordinated instrumental passages. "

Sweden’s Karmic Link make their debut with an album that seeks to dazzle and kick things up into a fury via substantial keyboard passages and ripping coordinated instrumental passages. Leading the charge on the debut is vocalist Mina G, a talented and versatile vocalist with a sultry and pure voice akin to a more vibrato-heavy version of Simone Simons of fellow prog metal titans Epica. “This night the skies will open wide,” the opening lines of “Over You,” signal the coming of a melodic power/prog metal assault. Guitarist Elias Koskoris and drummer Manos Matsos storm ahead in a style akin to that of Finnish melodic power band Sonata Arctica. In fact, “No Light but Rather Darkness Visible” boasts the guest talents of guitarist Jani Liimatainen of Sonata Arctica, as well as guitarist Bob Katsionis of Firewind and Septicflesh.

Keyboardist Stathis Kassios heads up the production duties on this album, as well as supplying a great deal of synthesizer to lose one’s self in. The sound of the keyboards is very bright and almost bleeds Rush influence at times, while bordering on “Enthrone Darkness Triumphant” era Dimmu Borgir at other times. The technicality is flashy, but understated for melodic use in most of the parts, so it fits in quite well. The drums are clear and boisterous, though the kick drum is mixed with lots of treble, giving an unfortunate stapler sound to it.

Bassist Alexandros Stavrakas stays towards the back of the mix for most of the album, but assists well. The shining features of this album are Mina G’s vocal talents, the keyboardist’s melodic leads and song construction, and the guest guitar talents, whose solos make some impressive passages in the music. The track “Sickness” starts off a bit sounding like The Cure, but the song is quickly made their own as the band takes the high road, going for layered vocal harmonies and coordinated rhythm work in a sultry Eastern-influenced passage. Other songs like “Paralyzed” have the same Cure instinct, but give way much the same. “Destination” brings a touch of doom into the picture. “Still Here” holds some of the most memorable singing on the album. “Devil’s Dance” is a Russian-sounding fandango of guitar and keyboard duels and badassery.

If you’re in it for thrills and musicianship this is a good band to turn to, especially since this is only their first album. If you’re in it for singalongs like other bands in the Scandinavian prog scene produce, this isn’t bad either. If you’re looking for something you don’t have to be a nerd to enjoy, this is also great. Simply put, “No Light but Rather Darkness Visible” is impressive. With a debut this melodically intricate and fun, one can expect the upcoming sophomore release to further refine the rough features and really dominate.

Highs: Serious keyboard talents, bright-sounding production, soundscapes to get lost in.

Lows: Vocals are occasionally slightly off-pitch and lacking force.

Bottom line: A great debut prog metal album from a Swedish camp of experienced players.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)