"NDV" stands for Nick D'Virgilio, as in the drummer best known for his work with Spock's Beard. With those credentials one would expect a solid prog rock album in this release. On that promise it delivers. What you might not expect from a solo release by a drummer, any drummer, is an album that comes close to being a full "solo" album. That, however, is something else that Karma gives listeners. Indeed, D' Virgilio performs several of the pieces here completely solo and handles many of the guitar and keyboard chores, as well as pretty much all of the vocal ones, throughout the CD. Perhaps those solo cuts are his way of letting the listener know that he chose his accompanying musicians because he wanted them on the album, not because he needed them here. And what a supporting cast it is. Of course, a couple of his Beard cohorts are along for the ride in a couple places (Alan Morse and Ryo Okomoto). He also included performances by Mike Keneally, Bryan Beller, and Rick Mussallam (all of Beer for Dolphins). That was not enough, though, because musicians as far-ranging as Dave Carpenter (Andy Summers, Louie Bellson), Mike Johnson (Dinosaur Jr.), and Kevin Gilbert (Toy Matinee) are also present. The music really does run a gamut as well. It ranges from modern-sounding AOR/alternative rock to Rush-ish tones to beautiful poignant balladic structures. Of course, the disc will draw comparisons to Spock's Beard, and some of those will be valid, as there are Beard-ish moments present in the album. Really, the true story here is a drummer stepping from behind the kit to show that there is much more to his musical skills than just a pair of drumsticks. Indeed, he has given listeners a uniquely varied and quite entertaining modern progressive rock album that is very accessible.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Gary Hill