KARMANJAKAH seemed to have crashed onto the prog scene out of nowhere and have been teasing curious fans with a taster of what’s to come with their spectacular track Color (read more about it in Weekly Roundup #11). Now the EP has finally dropped and – my goodness – Color really was just a tip of the iceberg of the unexpected mini masterpiece which is this debut EP. These progressive Swedes draw from a lot of influences, including obvious nods to djent legends PERIPHERY and TESSERACT (the latter’s own Acle Kahney actually mastered this EP), but there are also some post-hardcore vibes happening here once you dig past the dominant progressive layer.
Kicking off proceedings is Growth, which is one of the heaviest tracks on the EP. A strong introduction to the band it features all the KARMANJAKAH components which appear throughout the record; heavy riffs, soaring clean vocals with the occasional screams and just pure, blissful melodies. It is hard to put into words what mesmerising journey this EP takes you on, but the lyrics encourage you to join the band on their progressive adventure “Here I go, watch me as I lift-off”. And bloody hell do the band lift off!
Second track Proposal is another heavy affair, this time being graced with the brutal vocals of ENTHEOS’ Chaney Crabb which give the song an absolutely punishing dynamic. One of the punchiest tracks on the EP, Proposal also demonstrates how KARMANJAKAH comfortably sway between heavy genres, a debut EP is the perfect opportunity to dabble with ideas but the band seem to be able to pull off anything they try. The same goes with Color, a song which potentially could have seen critics moan about KARMANJAKAH being ‘another copycat djent band’, but the band accomplished writing such a beautifully melodic and powerful song, they should be able to stand their ground and silence the naysayers.
Fourth track The Mill is quite possibly the highlight of the album. Beginning with a chugging guitar hook, the song frequently spaces out into a spellbinding melodic haven, with a gorgeous piano accompaniment and the incredible vocals of frontman Jonas Lundquist. However, it is towards the end of this track the EP hits its peak with all these elements combining to reach what only can be described as progressive metal enlightenment. Strong words I know, but you won’t forget the first time you hear this song.
The EP finale Roselund is a storming closer. Once again bringing in the djent influences but having a killer chorus to match, you’ll be left wishing this was a full length album by the time the song starts fading out. If KARMANJAKAH can appear out of nowhere and independently release a stunning debut release such as this, then imagine what they can achieve when the KARMANJAKAH ball starts rolling.