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I was recently turned on to this band by my friend David Reed Watson who is the vocalist of Sweet Home Alabama (a Lynard Skynyrd tribute band out of Las Vegas) and Kill Ritual. Both bands are demanding on the singer and command different vocal styles. Here, David Watson changes from southern fried rocker to chaotic metal frontman. The music is as brutal as the vocal attack, and every track has its own tick of insanity.

We begin with, “Just a Cut” that slices to the bone from opening riff to closing fade. “Rise” and “The Enemy Inside” take lunacy to new heights with a tinge of vintage Alice in Chains, even getting the manic waver in the vocals like Lane Staley. “The Key” greets you at the door with a nice intro and soothing voice. But the bass soon kicks you in the gut with its distorted sound keeping you pinned to your speakers as the insane sounds of Karma Machine put the finishing moves on your senses.

I can’t help but be blunt when a band puts an instrumental together. That being said, “My Green Room” is one of the most chaotic melodies since “Merciless Onslaught” (Metal Church). It’s a well thought out plan for revenge with a clean getaway. “Kundalini” will awaken enlightenment in a violent sort of way. So if you think this yoga titled tune will put you to sleep, think again! “Land of the Dead” carries on the thrashing and throws in some zombie vocals in the chorus as well.

Ending too soon is the open aired feeling of “The Camera’s Eye”. It’s a trip to listen to as it leads you into forests and then wrap you up tight in a strait jacket. The classical guitar at the end just seals your fate leaving you drooling in your padded cell.

Kill Ritual
Karma Machine
(eOne Music)
Written by: Tim Duran
10 out of 10

Downside is that I wish I had heard of these guys before now. Going back to their earlier songs, they really put a dark flair on an already blackened genre. Upside, this is an enjoyable ride through lunacy. Heavy on the metal side with enough progressiveness to keep the nerds like me entertained. The song writing and arrangements keep the record flowing. Everyone is level in the mix and the solos are impeccable. I enjoy the soft distortion on the bass and the incredible abuse on the drums.

I find myself very fortunate to know first-hand what David Watson can do. He gives new life to the late, great Ronnie Van Zant and really puts his back into the gritty soul of Kill Ritual. I’m giving Karma Machine a big 10 for simply killing it in the headphones!

Also check out David Reed Watson for more info on this amazing vocalist.

Tim Duran, HMS

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