Karhu - 'Survival Of The Richest' (Self Released) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Gaz E   
Thursday, 31 May 2012 05:00

karhuThe word 'Karhu' may never have passed through your lips before, might even prove a little problematic to spit out through your teeth, but, after listening to the band of the same name's self released debut album, 'Survival Of The Richest', they may become the first name on your lips whenever somebody asks you to list the finest unsigned metal bands in the UK.


A labour of love, like so many other projects undertaken by young bands dreaming of success in a business that eats its own, 'Survival Of The Richest' was self recorded, mixed and mastered in the bedrooms of the band members, three in the UK and one in Finland, and will be self released through the band's website on June 1st. The results, as you will be able to hear on the official Karhu website, are, given the circumstances, stunning.


The brooding opener 'Lambent' and the beginning of second track 'Reality 2.0' don't really prepare you for what is about to break free of your speakers and push your senses to breaking point. A minute into that second track and the smart metal riffing snaps into a menacing Lamb of God style workout before, and this is key, a voice born of the metal gods tears through the darkness and takes this song, this band, to the next level.


Guitarist Joseph Parry is in possession of a voice that many a rock frontman would sell their soul, possibly arse, to possess: giving Chris Cornell a run for his money in the vocal stakes, Parry's staggering turn at the mic, coupled with the growls of Finnish guitarist Osku Kinnunen, is the reason why this band will stand out from the pack chasing the metal dream. Whereas the gruff/clean vocals of metalcore bands are as original nowadays as a Hollywood movie, to find a similar dynamic in a proper metal band opens up a dimension that few have dared explore.


While the Lamb Of God fans may balk at the mention of a similar sound being crossed with that of a more traditional rock vocal they should remember that those of us untainted by fashion always regarded Soundgarden's Cornell as an old school, and supremely talented it has to be said, metal singer who, while lumped in with the grunge fashionistas of the '90s, had more in common, musically, with Ronnie James Dio than he did Kurt Cobain and his scabby ilk. The one-two of Kinnunen's demonic grunt and Parry's angelic soaring vocal are the reason why Karhu, if there's any justice in the world, deserve the chance to mix it with the genre's finest.


The album's lead track, 'B-Vera', was used to promote the forthcoming album for a reason; it slays. The ten songs that follow it are worthy bedfellows, however: at no point does 'Survival Of The Richest', the title song of which is another bruiser, threaten to limp out of the race. So many bands fall lame of idea as the minutes add up - not Karhu; the album's fifty-two minute running time finding mammoth riffs and killer vocals lapping at its sides throughout.


You will need final song, 'Vinette', and its slow-burning opening, in order to shake yourself down and assess what has just happened. Karhu, from nowhere, have summoned up a monster of an album. It might not be ready to stomp across cities destroying everyone and everything in its path just yet but, hiding in the shadows waiting to jump out and pulverize, this album, and band, should be feared, especially by those musicians who think that this being in a band lark is about fashion and drowning social networking sites with invites to their third on the bill support slots to tribute bands.


'Survival Of The Richest' will be available from Karhu's official website which launches on June 1st: