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Karkaos - "In Burning Skies" (CD/EP)

Karkaos - "In Burning Skies" CD/EP cover image

"In Burning Skies" track listing:

1. Catharsis (1:37)
2. Awaiting The Clock's Last Turn (5:46)
3. Ashes (3:51)
4. The Last Stand (4:53)
5. Lie For A Lie (5:07)
6. The Tempest (4:07)

Reviewed by on December 27, 2011

"Having quite a few similarities to the new supergroup Mayan, albeit on a more underground scale, the band’s debut EP doesn’t land neatly into any one or even three sub-genre categories."

One of the most surprising breakout releases of the year, “In Burning Skies” is a powerhouse of a release from the new Canadian act Karkaos that goes on a whirlwind tour of all things metal. Having quite a few similarities to the new supergroup Mayan, albeit on a more underground scale, the band’s debut EP doesn’t land neatly into any one or even three sub-genre categories. Across an intro and five proper tracks, there is enough going on to keep an entire orchestra busy, even though everything is handled by only a handful of musicians.

Karakaos’ main vocalist is Veronica Ortiz Rodriguez, but before the idea of a metal band being led by a front woman causes any typecasting to go on, be assured we aren’t deal with the standards of metal here. Although there may be some minor similarities, Karkaos most definitely doesn’t fit into the metal slot filled by Arch Enemy anymore than it would fit into the styles championed by Within Temptation or even In This Moment.

“In Burning Skies” is incredibly varied, having a little bit of everything in one package, and the vocals are no exception. The singing and growling covers essentially the entire metal spectrum, with both male and female vocals that alternate between clean and harsh. The music itself is based in melodic death metal, but there are huge influences from across the board, hitting on symphonic, gothic, and even folk elements. “The Last Stand” is a prime example of how the EP’s songs have colliding sounds from different areas, mixing up the melodic death metal direction by suddenly breaking out the Finntroll style humpaa folk.

The sound changes and evolves throughout the EP’s run time, sometimes drastically, but there’s always a continuing thread that holds it all together so it doesn’t collapse and scatter. “In Burning Skies” covers a lot of ground and ends up being quite an accomplishment for such a young band, showing that Karkaos is a group to look out for in the future.

Highs: Wide range of sounds held together well without clashing

Lows: Production could use a bit of polish and the intro doesn't flow perfectly into the real music

Bottom line: A breakout release for a young band that crosses genre boundaries and covers a huge range of sounds.

Rated 4.0 out of 5 skulls
4.0 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)