Karma to Burn

Almost Heathen

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AllMusic Review by

Few recording artists aspire to the stylistic purity of Karma to Burn, and nowhere is this fact better demonstrated than on the band's 2001 Spitfire release Almost Heathen. Even the title reinforces the near-decadence, and the strange but necessary elusiveness of artistic completeness. To say that Almost Heathen "rocks" would actually be a disservice to disc. It is more than a great record. It is form as function, the combination of craft and content, meditative, aloof, and sublime, if only for its singularity. Each of the ten non-sequentially numbered tracks do more than rock; they turn and roll, twist and slide, rattle and hum like large metal life forms, first rolling over desolate landscapes on four wheels, then standing upright, growing hair and pounding the rocky soil with the sun-bleached bones of Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Sleep, and Kyuss. Picking highlights is impossible, as each "song" acts more like a minutely textured tile in an all-black mosaic, relying heavily on the listener's reflection, leaving the assignment of meaning to individual imagination. Stoner/doom fans and everyone else who appreciates heavy music will all get a thrill from Almost Heathen, a significant hard rock accomplishment.

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