Let it be clear. Australian progsters Karnivool have yet to disappoint, and I can’t say that I really blame them for taking such a large break between their momentous 2009 opus Sound Awake to oil everything up proper for this latest album. And to be honest, I was quite skeptical. You see, the promotional track “The Refusal” had me almost frightened for a second – I was afraid that maybe the band had themselves gotten a little cold-footed and thought that maybe they should venture into the popular sound of core and djent on this one. But after hearing Asymmetry in its entirety, I can certainly say that this is not the case. Asymmetry literally takes what we know from Karnivool – the Tool influenced soundscapes, throbbing metal riffs and fantastic structural passages – and kicks them up a notch. Way up a notch. I can honestly say that this is one of the best Karnivool releases that I’ve ever heard and that’s saying a great deal. Although the djent influenced core track “The Refusal” is still here and you might see those unnecessary steps taken in a scant few of the other tracks featured on the disc; once you’ve heard “Sky Machine” with your own ears, you’ll be wondering why they even bothered to record the rest of the album at all. This track soars higher than anything in their roster and brought me literal tears of joy. If a penultimate step has been taken, it can be found within that masterpiece which is well-warranted its lengthy time slot.
The disc does have a quite a few interludes that seem to convey the album’s universal message, but couldn’t be readily enjoyed by themselves. Hence, within these thickly veiled interludes and short instrumental pieces; the actual songs on the record do manage to stick out and reverberate in your head with the same sort of ridiculously catchy flows that you would expect from the kind of material featured on Sound Awake. As far as I have seen, the overall consensus of reviews for this release have been good; just a pinch higher than mine if you can believe it – and by people who really seem to know their prog. But I, just like those other people; am also well versed in my prog (I fancy listening to classic prog while cooking, to be honest) and if it has to take four albums to get these guys into the hall of recognition, then so be it. Asymmetry is certainly a crowning achievement, regardless of one small fluke which in the scope of things; becomes absolutely microscopic. While I don’t believe there’s a way to bargain the band into the removal of “The Refusal” as the discs have already been pressed and booklets printed; I will certainly revel in the joy that I can just skip right over that one and continue the fantastic voyage of mind let loose with this newest opus. Which leads me back to the point I made in the beginning: Let it be clear that Australian progsters Karnivool have yet to disappoint. (Eric May)
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