Despite all the years of metal knowledge I have gained while living on this floating rock, there are still times where even I am stumped about what it is exactly that I am listening to. No matter how hard I may try and dig as deep into the depths that my brain can go, the only word that can come to mind is this: eclectic. I should also mention that not only am I struggling to come up with some good sub-genre identifiers, but I wouldn’t even consider My Sleeping Karma to be metal. Hell, even they don’t consider themselves to be metal, and I quote from their official website, but “psychedelic groove rock”.
If you have been following us here at Metal Blast for a while, then you should know by now that my predilection to metal heavily favors that of the extreme variety, and may be surprised to see that it is I who is reviewing “Soma“. This may come as a surprise to most of you, but I really like my music to put me in a good mood. After I pummel my mind, body, and soul for days with nothing but furious and vile metal such as this, there are times where I like to just wind down and let myself get lost in something that is far softer or soothing. Examples of what I find to fit that criteria will follow the likes of “Colma” by Buckethead, soundtracks to the Final Fantasy video game series, the dark ambiance of Desiderii Marginis, and anything that Ulver has ever written, and I am happy to say that My Sleeping Karma will be among their ranks in my “Chillax” Playlist in iTunes.
Now that I have given you a bigger insight into my ridiculous self, allow me to help those of you who may not be familiar with the type of music that is on “Soma“: you guys are familiar with Isis, right? Do you remember how great they were when they would tone down their cataclysmic and crushing tones for something cleaner and calmer? Imagine an entire album just filled with that. That sounds pretty promising, doesn’t it? If that sounds appealing to you, then I implore you to grab “Soma” immediately.
My Sleeping Karma have crafted to “Soma” to feel like a story being told through instrumentals, meaning that there is always a gradual rise and abrupt fall to the compositions. To add onto the excellent pacing of the album, there are also shorter interludes that appear on every other track, adding a great context for the next song. Even having something as simple as a few plucks of the guitar and bass over the natural and soothing ambiance of birds chirping and wind blowing is enough to lull me into an almost catatonic state of relaxation.
What I find to be most appealing about “Soma” is how the band were able to create not only a few noteworthy tracks, but to ensure that each of the eleven songs are ones that you want to experience over and over again. This is helped due to the fact that there are so many elements that are at My Sleeping Karma‘s disposal. Ranging from the “psychedelic groove rock” that is the groups mainstay, you will also hear lots of ambiance, middle eastern, and classic rock influences throughout the auditory journey.
The production values of “Soma” may be some of the best I have heard this entire year. Each of the four members is glorified perfectly in the mix, with everything working in unison to give “Soma” a very unique and well-crafted sound. At no point in these songs does anything feel drowned out or overpowering; complete auditory orgasms abound.
For an album like “Soma” I am normally pretty quick to find the faults within it, much like a bloodhound is quick to find the trail of an escaped convict. However, no matter how good of an ear I have for glaring mistakes, My Sleeping Karma took great and immense care into making sure that their music would be at its best in every sense of the word. Everything is perfect. Literally everything. It is exceptionally rare when I find an album in a genre group that doesn’t interest me that much to grow on me this quickly. It won’t only appeal to those who dig psychedelic rock, but a wide array of people who can enjoy compositions that are out of the norm and like to be put into a relaxing state of mind. “Soma” is easily in my top five of 2012 releases, and I think anybody who enjoys anything mentioned in this review should go throw your money at My Sleeping Karma. You will not be disappointed.