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Karma To Burn: Mountain Mamma's (remaster)

Mountain Mamma's (Metal Mind) is a digitally remastered, 3 CD tri-fold digipack collection (limited to 2000 copies) of the works of Morgantown, West Virginia's desert rock pioneers Karma to Burn. This collection contains all 3 of the bands full-length recordings: Karma To Burn, Wild Wonderful Purgatory, and Almost Heathen plus over 15 bonus tracks from various sources such as bootlegs, assorted live recordongs and E.P. releases. **Of interesting note is that a 24 page booklet is supposed to be enclosed, but this particular "sealed" edition did not have one.

Disc 1: K2B is known for being an unconventional/experimental (they named their songs numerically) instrumental act that hired a personal friend-- turned professional singer-- for their debut record, Karma To Burn under pressure from then label, Roadrunner Records. This recording is very organic sounding, with a huge floppy bass sound and fully distorted, down-tuned guitars somewhere in the realm of Kyuss and Monster Magnet. Big and direct is the description that comes to mind. This is not thinking man's music. Rather, music to groove and smoke too-- amongst some other things that your imagination can conjure up. For a healthy dose of imagination look at the song titles and don't even bother to try and figure them out! Anyway, listening to the southern smack of "Ma Petite Mort" with Jay Jarosz singing about "avoiding the law" and "getting high" you get the feeling that the vocals were almost done randomly-- but they are very rythmically and sonically appropriate-- until they come to the end of the road and then… they hit you with a kick ass instrumental jam to ride the song out! Many people preferred the band sans the vocalist, but I really like what he adds. Listening to "Patty Hearsts Closet Mantra" with some hypnotic drumming serving as the intro, he performs the song as if it is some sort of séance until the song kicks in and it turns into a harmony vocal with an unbeknownst-to-me female. Now, throw in a cover of Joy Divisions"Twenty Four Hours" and 5 bonus tracks-- and disc one is all killer.

Disc 2: Many a fan favorite is the instrumental recording Wild Wonderful Purgatory (1999). All the tracks on this one are delineated numerically; a motiff the band broke with on their debut album and reinstituted on the seconf and third releases. The music on Wild Wonderful Purgatory is somewhat "garage" in sound, with a dirty-blues groove (not as psychedelic as before) as a constant. The song "Twenty Eight" really stands out because it borrows the introductory riff from "Detroit Rock City" (Hope Gene doesn't find out!) to push it along, while infusing a "Pushing Forward back" (Temple of The Dog) mentality to the overall feel. The song "3" could almost be a Tool riff from the Undertow era with its start/stop type dynamic and interesting percussion. Anyway, southern fried chicken and beer laden county fairs come to mind when listening to the other tracks which you just take in their entirety because it (pretty much) forces you to! Great disc, but I prefer the 1st by a nose.

Disc 3: Armed with only guitar, bass and drums Almost Heathen carries on in every way where Wild Wonderful Purgatory left off in terms of sound, influence (Well, you could almost argue a slight Danzig influence with the opening chord sequence of "35" sounding almost like distant kin to "Mother") and musical ideas. Actually, if I had to find any difference that separates discs 2 and 3…The tracks maybe a little longer this time and slightly more developed in terms of construction and maturity. For not having any vocalist, the songs are written with a lyrical flair that you can somehow almost sing anyway. It would seem to me that they would have written their songs around a certain melodic idea that stemmed from something mouthed or hummed in some way. On this recording and the others, they just seem to follow a path that would indicate such a writing style. In other words, I don't necessarily believe that they had a guitar in their hands when writing. You can just see them hitting record and play on some cheap tape deck and percussively verbalizing their riffs onto tape! In closing, after listening to the last two discs in succession, I felt that the music became a little repetitive and that they had run their course with this particular sound. It's hard to indulge ones patience (mine anyway) without a strong progressive element to the instrumentation to diversify things further in terms of harmonic construction and delivery, but I will certainly enjoy them in smaller servings in the future, no doubt about that.

This band could have been called, "Riffs to Burn" because they certainly had enough of them!

Track Listing
Disc 1: Karma To Burn
1. Ma Petite Mort
2. Bobbi, Bobbi, Bobbi-I'm not God
3. Patty Hearst's Closet Mantra
4. MT. Penetrator
5. Eight
6. Appalachian Woman
7. Twenty Four Hours
8. Six-Gun Sucker Punch
9. Thirteen
10. (Waltz of The) Playboy Pallbearers
11. Twin Sisters and a Half Bottle of Bourbon
12. Six
13. Twenty Eight (bonus track)
14. Thirty Four (bonus track)
15. Nine (bonus track)
16.Twenty (bonus track)
17. Six (bonus track)
Disc 2: Wild Wonderful Purgatory
1. Twenty
2. Twenty Eight
3. Thirty
4. Thirty One
5. Twenty Nine
6. Thirty Two
7. Twenty Five
8. Twenty Six
9. One
10. Three
11. Seven
12. Eight
13. Thirty (bonus track)
14. Thirty Three (bonus track)
15. Thirty Two (bonus track)
16. Twenty (bonus track)
17. Twenty Nine (bonus track)
18. Thirty One (bonus track)
Disc 3: Almost Heathen
1. Nineteen
2. Thirty Eight
3. Thirty Four
4. Thirty Seven
5. Thirty Nine
6. Thirty Six
7. Thirty Three
8. Thirty Five
9. Five
10. Forty
11. One (bonus track)
12. Three (bonus track)
13. Twenty Two (bonus track)
14. Seven (bonus track)
15. Eight (bonus track)
16. Six (bonus track)

Added: October 1st 2007
Reviewer: Hugh Dark
Related Link: Metal Mind Productions
Hits: 2670
Language: english

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