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KARMAMOI

Heavy Prog • Italy


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Karmamoi biography
Founded in Italy in 2008

KARMAMOI is an Italian band formed in 2008 by Daniele GIOVANNONI (drums) and Serena CIACCI (vocals). In 2009, they released a single and went to play live in Italy. In 2010 Karmamoi began to work on their self-titled album, in January 2011 officially launched at "Rising Love", one of the most popular stages of the Rome music scene. In 2012 a new EP arrived entitled "Entre Chien Et Loup"

Then the band recorded a new concept album ''Odd Trip'', released in September 2013. Karmamoi its lineup is completed with Alessandro CEFALI (bass), Fabio TEMPESTA (guitars) and Alex MASSARI (guitar). The music is melodic progressive rock that has enough rock distortions to be classified in the heavy prog genre. They have a recognizable sound of a band that has a female singer, but the songs have enough twists in them to be more than another rock band. The band also use some electronics experimentation in the RADIOHEAD style, which gives another dimension to their music.

"Silence Between Sounds" is the third album from the Italian progressive rock band Karmamoi. Due to changes with band line-up, "Silence Between Sounds" took over two years to realise.For the first time, Karmamoi have involved other musicians in the creative process of"Silence Between Sounds" featuring instruments such as the cello, piano, flute or clavinet. This provides a balance between the traditional and modern sound of progressive rock."Silence Between Sounds" explores, and attempts to understand the reasons behind human failure. It's an interesting and challenging theme that Karmamoi have embraced and captured in the music of "Silence Between Sounds". Esteemed producer and engineer Mark Tucker (JETHRO TULL) has been integral to the project working closely with Daniele as co-producer skills and mixing engineer.

In 2018 the band (now reduced to the duo Massari and Giovannoni) were working on its new album "The Day Is Gone" when they witnessed the horror of the Grenfell Tower on television and this had a huge impact on the members. After reading the heartbreaking story about the Syrian brothers Mohammed and Omar (they fled from Syria, had a safe home in London but Mohammed died in the Grenfell Tower disaster) the band decided to pay tribute with a concept album, featuring guest musicians singer Sara RINALDI, Colin EDWIN on bass (PORCUPINE TREE) and Geoff LEIGH on flute (Steven WILSON). The music contains tasteful and elaborate compositions, a captivat...
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KARMAMOI discography


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KARMAMOI top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.36 | 14 ratings
Karmamoi
2011
3.26 | 29 ratings
Odd Trip
2013
3.77 | 21 ratings
Silence Between Sounds
2016
3.99 | 31 ratings
The Day Is Done
2018
3.47 | 21 ratings
Room 101
2021
4.29 | 48 ratings
Strings from the Edge of Sound
2023

KARMAMOI Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

KARMAMOI Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

KARMAMOI Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

KARMAMOI Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 1 ratings
Which Dreams
2022
4.00 | 1 ratings
Tamed Shadows
2022

KARMAMOI Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Strings from the Edge of Sound by KARMAMOI album cover Studio Album, 2023
4.29 | 48 ratings

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Strings from the Edge of Sound
Karmamoi Heavy Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars It is safe to say that over the years I have not been the most consistent fan of Italian band Karmamoi, and felt that their last album, 2021's 'Room 801' was a step in the wrong direction. That saw them again working as a trio of Daniele Giovannoni (drums, keyboards, backing vocals), Alex Massari (guitars) and Alessandro Cefalý (bass) along with a series of guests, including singer Sara Rinaldi who was there for her third album as lead singer. Also on that album as a guest was Valerio Sgargi, who has now joined as a full member of the band on lead & backing vocals plus keyboards. The band are now working as a quartet with no guests, apart from the use of an orchestra. What we have here is a somewhat unusual approach in that there are only four new songs, along with five songs from previous albums which have been rearranged and revisited for orchestra to provide new dimensions.

While I have not been a consistent fan of Karmamoi, I have reviewed the last four of their releases (just missing out on the 2011 debut) so I have actually heard a lot of their music, but it is safe to say none of them have had the impact on me that this one has. When some bands introduce orchestras to the arrangement, it seems forced and just not right at all, but here it is seamless and feels as if it has always meant to be heard in this manner. Sgargi has a wonderfully relaxed and emotional tenor, happy to sing in a more classical or stage manner where the time arises (such as on "Take Me Home", taken from 2018's 'The Day Is Done' which until now I thought was their finest hour), providing plenty of drama and passion.

This album is a milestone for Karmamoi, and we can only hope they use it as a stepping stone to even greater things as this is easily their finest work to date and something all progheads need to seek out immediately if not sooner.

 Strings from the Edge of Sound by KARMAMOI album cover Studio Album, 2023
4.29 | 48 ratings

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Strings from the Edge of Sound
Karmamoi Heavy Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars I am giving this album attention due to the strong acclaim it's been receiving despite the fact that it is album being a collection of previously-released songs that have been re-worked (several orchestrated), with newcomer Valerio Sgargi stepping into the lead vocal (and principle collaborator) for Daniele Giovannoni's compositions.

1. "Black Hole Era" (7:43) what a voice this Valerio Sgargi has! It's comparable to that of Gino Vannelli! Powerful guitar soloing in the seventh and eighth minutes. A top three song right off the bat. (14/15)

2. "Nashira" (orchestra version) (9:11) solo piano opens this seemingly playing avariation of the previous song's chord sequence. Valerio enters and the piano drops out in lieu of a cello. In the second minute other instruments begin to join in: piano, cymbal-dominant drums, fretless bass, oboe and a few other orchestral sounds but in the third minute a heavy chordal footsteps for a minute. The volume on the reed instruments seems far too high throughout this song- -even when they're in the lead or soloing, but that doesn't prevent Valerio from giving one heck of a performance (or guitarist Alex Massari in the final minute). A top three song for me. (18.5/20)

3. "Take Me Home" (orchestra version) (8:31) though the song starts out sounding like a very classic, stripped down performance of "My Funny Valentine," the highlight here is how Valerio sings a duet with himself: in two very different voices and styles, side by side, starting with the second verse. This voice could be the new That Joe Payne! The second half of the song is quite cinematic in its bombast: bombastic prog at its finest. My third top three song. (18.5/20)

4. "Tell Me" (6:07) thought the chorus sections remind me a lot, melodically and in the strummed 12-string guitar chord sequence, of Pink Floyd's "Welcome to the Machine," this is a nice, nuanced song with yet another extremely enjoyable vocal performance by Valerio Sgargi. (8.875/10)

5. "Room 101" (orchestra version) (8:40) acoustic guitar picking like at the opening to Genesis' "Dance on a Volcano" is joined by flourishes and embellishments from individual orchestra instruments. Enter Valerio Sgargi and a Depeche Mode-like singing style. Even after the brief burst of prog bombast Valerio continues singing in a commanding David Gahan-like monotone. Then the music begins to build and cycle, provoking Valerio to reach for notes that Devy Townsend or That Joe Payne are commonly heard to hit. A switch in the fifth minute to a new smoother, more orchestra-supported space music allows for more exposition to individual instrumental performers, like the piano, members of the strings, the whole bass section, and, of course, the electric guitar, but ultimately leads to a JC Superstar-like climax. (17.75/20)

6. "I Will Come in Your Dreams" (5:27) gentle piano and low strings lay the foundation for Valerio to sing--this time in a very old Elvis/operetta style of voice. Pretty but nothing very new, proggy, or exciting with this one. (8.66667/10)

7. "Your Name" (orchestra version) (8:21) more orchestra presence than on most of the other songs, the rock band and dramatic voice of Valerio Sgargi yield a bombastic sound worthy of any Andrew Lloyd Weber or Alan Menken theater presentation. The radical switch of tempo and style (and electronically-treated vocal) at the halfway point is a bit odd--and takes some getting used to--but is smoothed over by another sublime electric guitar solo in the eighth minute. (17.5/20)

8. "Zealous Man" (orchestra version) (11:55) more melodic, pensive piano opens this one, setting up in way that rivals Cole Porter, George Gershwin, Richard Rogers, or Oscar Hammerstein. By the time we reach the third minute the soundscape has burst into swirling prog fullness, but then, at 3:30, it all turns quiet with some chorus-treated 12- strings and muted vocals, but then a David Gahan-like voice takes over for a bit before yielding to the powerful play of a fretless bass and cello. Prog bombast returns in the sixth minute as Valerio's voice turns "distant choral"--to set up, of course, another masterfully calculated Dave Gilmour-like guitar solo--this one amid swirling orchestra strings--but no! It's cut off! In the eighth minute we've gone back to the quiet 12-string (zither?) palette with some slow tympanic drum play over which Valerio croons in a voice from another era. But then the prog bombast returns and, yes, the electric guitar is given a second chance to fulfill its emotion-manipulating mission. A well composed and performed song, even if it does feel quite contrived to toy with the listeners' cortisol levels. (22.75/25)

9. "Strings from the Edge of Sound" (1:57) an orchestrated song whose choral-style vocal and wording makes it sound like it comes out of a rendering of a Dickensian Christmas musical. "Marley!" "Scrooge!" Prelude to a love story? (4.425/5)

Total Time 67:52

I've never heard any of the previous versions of any of these songs but, if I were to venture a guess, I'd say that all of them were birthed as piano-voice duets--arias--all intended to end up on a stage within the context of an Andrew Lloyd Weber-like musical theatre performance. The rock instruments were added for support, the lead guitar solos as a mirroring emotional outlet, and, later, the full orchestral versions created to fulfill the composer (and vocalist)'s Broadway/West End aspirations. In the end, this is great music and that's what counts. Should these songs ever end up on a stage, I would be a willing attendee of their theatric live performance.

What a revelation is this newcomer Valerio Sgargi! I look forward to seeking out and hearing more of his recordings (in the same way I've done for That Joe Payne since I first heard him on Nikitas Kissonas' METHEXIS project's Suiciety release back in 2015).

Does anyone else find a similarity in the sound of this album to that of the 2014 album, Speak, by Jason Hart's I AND THOU?

A-/five stars; a minor masterpiece of theatric progressive rock music that would, I feel quite confident, be quite welcome in the homes (and to the ears) of EVERY prog lover.

 Strings from the Edge of Sound by KARMAMOI album cover Studio Album, 2023
4.29 | 48 ratings

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Strings from the Edge of Sound
Karmamoi Heavy Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars Well, this was an unexpected surprise to say the least, as other reviewers have described this opus with understated eloquence, yet I found it to be even more complex to put in words, as I was hit by various levels of inspiration and creativity, listening the first time through. Normally, the process is a cursory, rather distant audition in order to focus in on the style and a later second full-blown and in depth listen to start creating the words that match the feelings the music evokes. Not here! Within a few seconds, I was immediately hypnotized by some otherworldly elements that fractured my senses (as well as my prog radar), reacting to the sounds with uttered words such as "wow", "what the hell" and mostly, "WOO!". Let us start with what the aliens say when they land on earth 'Take me your leader'! Karmamoi is centred around a rather rare talent in Daniele Giovannoni, a fabulous drummer in his own right, conjuring images of PFM strongman Franz di Cioccio, then we have a stupendous singer in Valerio Sgargi, who can modulate his expansive voice according to the needed context with apparently little effort or struggle. Combined with the stringers, Alex Massari on electric guitars and bass man Alessandro Cefali, the foursome will, if you get it, inspire the listener with fascinating aural adventure.

'Who am I and where am I going' are the uttered words that has spanned all of human existence, all races, civilizations, languages, and every living creature consciously or not, has expressed this concept. "Black Hole Era" slings the mood into the this upward spiral where voice, acoustic guitar, keys, and manic drums transmit the trepidation of adventure. The orchestral interventions add not only a lush symphonic grandeur but also serves to create the first tangible characteristics of a music that is both ritualistic, organic, and utterly ceremonial, a mixture of tribalist percussion and rampant electric guitar slashes that thrill to no end in sight. The denouement is cosmic. Speaking of stars in the universe, "Nashira" is owned by a solitary piano setting the tone, as cello and strings advocate a sombre melancholia, where Sgargi passionately lets his lungs to sing, as the athletic drumming throttles forward unconcerned and concussive. The mood is obsessive, temperamental, and yet wholly engaging, even when confronted with chaotic passages that boil the sucked blood. A relative calm arises when the synergy brings all the involved together into harmony and revelation.

The Grenfell tower inferno is the subject matter for "Take Me Home", a masterful track that drips in devastating tragedy and loss, the voice haunting and propelled by poignant despair. At times, I felt like the music was inspired by late 80s This Mortal Coil, a unique band that incorporated ghostly harmonies, heavy classical orchestrations. The swerving arrangement comes across like a burial ground requiem, a pulpit from which the vocals and choir can expiate their collective pain, as if Carmina Burana has resurfaced to plead her case. The last prayer is expressed a sorrowful guitar and collapsing cymbals. Absolutely majestic. A brief moment of levity in your prototypical prog ballad, armed with a lethal melody and off the charts vocals, "Tell Me" successfully manages to soothe the senses, as the band concentrates on a sublime path and its inherent blooming beauty. When the chorus takes over, the effect is crushingly exquisite. The apex is reached when mellotron strings and choir invite the slippery electric guitar to heighten the pain and the apotheosis is celestial. Outrageously divine.

Back to the gloomy Orwellian spookiness of "Room 101", where a tingling tick-tock of sweat-inducing angst of being mercilessly strapped in a torture chamber's chair, a damp space rife with the pungent aromas of terror and extreme anxiety. The contrasts between moments of intense infliction of agony and the even more cruel respites that offer momentary hope are perfectly presented here, as if witnessing the interrogation. When the violin streak and the piano rivulet combine slyly to wreak even more eventual havoc, is gulp worthy fare. Creepy and possessed. "I Will Come" reverts to hymn-like qualities found in the earlier "Take Me Home", but the scenery here is overpoweringly fragile, reminding one of recent Anathema as that band was emerging from their doom-laden darkness and looking for some sunlight. The vocal and choir work are absolutely majestic, as the orchestra elevates the arrangement into the upper levels of bliss, a total highlight track that sealed the deal for the romantic sucker in me. I kneel at the shrine?

Soundtrack to some long-forgotten Bond-like escapist adventure, "Your Name" unites the organic symphonics with a muscular beat, a controlling bass, and some clever guitar inflections. Chase, heavy breathing, and echoed voice, this is quite the departure from the previous material. When the atmosphere settles, the other polar opposite arrives suddenly, with no quarter given. Ornate piano and a colourful bass prepare the table for a forlorn voice to take over the proceedings once again, choirs in the background and orchestrations that evoke a gloomy, rain drenched afternoon of dullness. Sgargi pleads in an amazingly convincing gargled tone, the intolerable sorrow of the crying Massari lead guitar to slay the inner demon. A jazzy flurry of piano stets this to bed. A Jazzy flurry of piano introduces the epic 12 minute "Zealous Man", a clever return to the desolation of the earlier "Room 101" (you can tell its prog when there are so many little detailed connections, segues and follow ups) before the animated strings take over, the electricity cranked up on the chair, and the intimidator crows his delight with his sadistically soft tone. Claustrophobic, bombastic, resonating and persuasively possessed, the track is a perfect example of modern progressive rock, done with finesse, power and skill. And our Italians surely have a lovely proven history in that regard! Contrasts, shades and streaks of light, all filigree and shadow. When the gripping massed violins return for another stab, the drums kick into overdrive, fuelled with chiseled excellence, the charring lead guitar flinging this superb piece into the stratosphere. WOW!

A final "Arrivederci", the title track comes like a symphonic tone poem from South Tyrol, all that was missing was an alpenhorn to say goodbye, 'pfiat-enk' (in Tyrolean) or Wiederschaun. A cinematic ceremony of progressive rock infused with expertly involved classical orchestra that provides all the ingredients needed for a wonderful date with your headphones, a glass or two of Montalcino and some Roman (yup) candles.

5 cords from aural cliffs

 Room 101 by KARMAMOI album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.47 | 21 ratings

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Room 101
Karmamoi Heavy Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

3 stars Italian band Karmamoi are back with their fifth album and are to a trio with Alessandro Cefalý (bass) now back as a full member alongside Daniele Giovannoni (drums, keyboards, backing vocals) and Alex Massari (guitars). The line-up is completed with many guests, including Sara Runaldi who is back on lead vocals for her third album yet is still to be credited as a full member of the band. As one may have guessed from the title, this is a concept album based on George Orwell's idea of a room where the prisoner is subjected to their worst nightmare to break them. One might think that this would mean an album full of angst and drama, yet there are huge parts where it is quite dreamy, and in many ways, it feels quite disjointed. I would have much preferred more aggression, as the few times they come through in that manner the album is quite transformed.

Although I did not hear their debut, I have reviewed all their releases since then and it is safe to say that the band has yet to fully resonate with me, and although I felt their last one was a step in the right direction this album feels like there are elements which are simply wonderful and others which just drift too far into the background. Possibly the time is right for the guys to set themselves up as a proper band as opposed to a few people with guests and see what happens when they work consistently in that format. There are definitely parts of this album which are sheer delight, but as a whole it never transcends to the levels I am sure they can reach.

 Silence Between Sounds by KARMAMOI album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.77 | 21 ratings

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Silence Between Sounds
Karmamoi Heavy Prog

Review by Prog Zone

4 stars Review - #26 (Karmamoi - Silence Between Sounds)

Silence Between Sounds is the third and strongest album (as of 2021) from the Italian progressive rock band Karmamoi released in 2016. Due to various changes in the band's line-up the album took over two years to release. This allowed the band to harness the opportunity to create music that displayed even more elements of progressive rock then they have ever done before. The band consists of Alex Massari on guitar, Alessandro Cefali on bass, and Daniele Giovannoni on drums/keyboards. If you haven't noticed, this incarnation of Karmamoi doesn't include a permanent vocalist. Therefore, Karmamoi has opted to bring in various female vocalists who participate on separate tracks. This decision made by the band adds a unique element to the music as the vocalist display distinct qualities depending on the track while introducing various vocal styles. In addition, this is the first time Karmamoi has involved other instrumental musicians in the creative process. The album features instruments such as the cello, piano, flute, and clavinet which simply allows Karmamoi to expand their musical possibilities at a greater degree than before. Producer and engineer Mark Tucker who has worked with bands such as Jethro Tull was an important part of the album's creation, working closely with Daniele as co-producer and mixing engineer. This allows the album to receive a noticeable improvement in terms of production when compared to their previous albums. Silence Between Sounds explores the concept of attempting to understand the reasons behind human failure. Karmamoi has said it was an interesting and challenging theme that the band felt they were ultimately able to capture within the music found on the album. Within the fifty-one minutes of music found on this album, Karmamoi is able to create a compelling journey for the listener that is full of twist and turns while introducing an atmospheric yet heavy sound that is executed remarkably well.

The album begins with the track entitled Silence Between Sounds & Nashira which also happens to be the longest track found on the album. There is a mixture of more delicate atmospheric sections in combination with more guitar orientated sections that add an interesting dynamic to the piece. Throughout this almost eleven-minute track, there are various sections that work quite well that contain impressive instrumentation and melodies from the entire band. However, at other points the melodies don't seem to work as well as the band intended. One such example can be found at the six minute and thirty-eight second mark where the vocals and the instrumentation coming from the rest of the band don't seem to mix all that well which unfortunately results in a disjointed chorus. Nevertheless, it doesn't bring down the track as a whole as the entire piece contains an overwhelming majority of positive attributes rather than negative. The track ultimately concludes with a beautiful dream-like section that features a wonderful guitar solo at the end. The next track, Atma, is truly mesmerizing as it remains to be a high point of the album. As it builds, the same vocal melody is repeated as different instrumental sections are introduced. Vocalist Hellena sings in a very different style when compared to vocalist Sara Rinaldi who sang on the previous track. Nevertheless, it works especially well. In fact, Atma happens to give me a particular Pink Floyd feel within its atmospheric tone while containing some wonderful guitar solos reminiscent of David Gilmour's style. The piano sound the band chose to use within this track fits the music perfectly as its tone is melancholy yet hopeful. Up next is the guitar-led piece entitled Siro which is quite impressive. Alex Massari's guitar work throughout is especially superb as he performs various melodies impeccably. Siro is surely one of the heaviest tracks found within the band's catalogue as it contains various metal-orientated riffs and melodies. A splendid instrumental! The next track, Martes, includes some of the most beautiful vocals found on the entire album. The entirety of it is genuinely magnificent as the band displays their understanding behind having high and low points throughout to keep the listener intrigued. Plato's Cave is up next and is perhaps the proggiest moment found on the entire album. Sara Rinaldi's vocal delivery is particularly great here as her vocals feel especially Radiohead inspired. In addition, at the seven minute and forty-seven second mark Emilio Merone performs a fantastic keyboard solo which happens to be quite rare on a Karmamoi album, resulting in me being particularly surprised when hearing it for the first time. Lost Days is the next track which interestingly can also be found on the band's second album entitled Odd Trip. It seems to have been completely rerecorded with new vocals and instruments. When compared to the version found on Odd Trip, this is unquestionably an improvement. The rerecorded version contains a great deal of emotion and power in addition to a further impressive instrumental backing. The last track, Canis Majoris, is yet another proggier moment found on the album. Similar to Plato's Cave, vocalist Sara Rinaldi does an impressive vocal performance with it feeling particularly Radiohead inspired yet again. The drumming from Daniele Giovannoni is performed tastefully with notable flute melodies coming from Lara Bagnati. The track then culminates with a terrific reprise of Canis Majoris's opening but now performed with increased momentum and energy.

Silence Between Sounds is a particularly impressive album within Karmamoi's catalogue as each track excels with numerous breathtaking vocal melodies and head-banging guitar riffs. There is a mixture of sounds offered that when combined make this album truly shine as a unique fragment in the larger world of progressive rock. Furthermore, I hope to see the band revisit the ideas that were present on this album as they continue to write music into the future. The atmospheric yet heavy sound created on this album fits the band's music exceptionally well while also being noticeably melodic. This is certainly an excellent addition to any progressive rock collection!

 Room 101 by KARMAMOI album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.47 | 21 ratings

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Room 101
Karmamoi Heavy Prog

Review by Prog Zone

3 stars Review - #15 (Karmamoi - Room 101)

Firstly, I want to thank Karmamoi for allowing me to listen and review Room 101 before its official release date on May 28, 2021. Karmamoi is an Italian prog band formed in 2008 by drummer and composer Daniele Giovannoni. Since then, the band has incorporated various lineups of bandmembers and guest musicians while creating new albums. Their newest album, Room 101, is no exception. The band consists of Daniele Giovannoni on Drums, Keyboards and BV, Alex Massari on Guitars, and Alessandro Cefalý on Bass. If you are in any way accustomed to the world of progressive rock, you will surely know the name of at least a few of these guest musicians. The album features guest appearances from Steven Wilson keyboard player Adam Holzman and United Progressive Fraternity's Steve Unruh on violin and flute. In addition, Sara Rinaldi provides some truly wonderful vocals throughout the album. Strings on Drop by Drop were arranged by Emilio Merone who also plays piano and keyboard on The New World. The tracks Zealous Man and Newspeak were arranged by Valerio Sgargi. These are only a few of the extremely capable musicians found on this album.

Room 101 is inspired by George Orwell's novel 1984. The band discusses how the album "revisits some of the novel's themes and concepts, adapting them to the present day and focusing on the human mind and its weaknesses.". The albums concept is skillfully interwoven into the music to create a truly cohesive listening experience. After listening to the album, I was genuinely impressed by what I had heard. The band combines classic progressive rock influences with a new darker sound that is noteworthy. The music found here is most similar to the bands Airbag and Pure Reason Revolution while containing their own style and spin on the genre. Moments vary in heaviness from track to track, but Room 101 certainly contains an overall heavier feel when compared to the bands previous albums. The highlights of the album for me have to be Drop by Drop and The New World. Drop by Drop contains some of the best vocal work throughout the album while incorporating atmospheric yet explosive instrumentation. The New World on the other hand is one of the most most energetic songs on the album with a wonderful keyboard solo from Emilio Merone appearing near the end of the track. Overall, this a particularly solid album that displays the band playing some of their best material to date. Definitely recommended! "Silent Waves are tracking us. No need to hide, no need to run."

 The Day Is Done by KARMAMOI album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.99 | 31 ratings

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The Day Is Done
Karmamoi Heavy Prog

Review by TenYearsAfter

4 stars "Interesting new Italian prog".

When Karmamoi was working on its new album The Day Is Gone the band witnessed the horror of the Grenfell Tower on television (June 14th, 2017), this had a huge impact on them. After reading the heartbreaking story about the Syrian brothers Mohammed and Omar (they fled from Syria, had a safe home in London but Mohammed died in the Grenfell Tower disaster) the band decided to pay tribute with a concept album, featuring guest musicians singer Sara Rinaldi, Colin Edwin on bass (Porcupine Tree) and Geoff Leigh on flute (Steven Wilson).

Many tracks on this album alternate between atmospheric, dreamy and slow rhythms, coloured by the voice of Sara Rinaldi. I consider this mellow and dark music (reminding me of early Roger Waters solo) as a musical translation of the feelings of emptiness, sorrow, depression and grief after the Grenfell Tower disaster, for the brothers it was from one hell to another! The bombastic outbursts with moving guitar work sound like desperate cries, this adds a more dynamic dimension to the music. The first song (the titletrack) is a good example. It starts dreamy featuring twanging guitar, melancholical female vocals and piano, halfway a bit wailing flute. In the final part a powerful guitar solo with howling runs, in a bombastic outburst, very compelling, expressing the huge fear and despair in the inferno. And also in the instrumental track Getaway. First an intro with dreamy piano and atmospheric sounds, then a slow rhythm and gradually a more bombastic climate with moving, powerful electric guitar. Next the music returns to atmospheric but gradually culminates in a sumptuous outburst delivering a powerful electric guitar solo with again howling runs, this is topped with a subtle choir sound (I asked the band about this: it is a blend of Sara her voice and ethnic vox samples).

Some songs feature more dynamics and more tension, like in the alternating Portrait Of A Man with wonderful work on guitar (strong echoes from David Gilmour) and keyboards. And in Your Name. First a tight and catchy beat with powerful vocals and fiery electric guitar, gradually turning into more bombastic with lush keyboards. Halfway dreamy and atmospheric with fragile piano runs, soft bass and sensitive electric guitar and emotional female vocals. And finally another wonderful, often howling guitar solo , what a compelling music (Pink Floyd but also Camel come to my mind). In the track Take Me Home Geoff Leigh (Steven Wilson) shines with a swirling flute solo.

My highlight is Mother's Dirge, a long and captivating composition, close to 11 minutes. First a catchy beat, a raw guitar solo, then dreamy with twanging guitar and melancholical vocals. The music turns into a slow rhythm and more bombastic, with a sensitive electric guitar solo and a wonderful choir sound. Next dreamy with piano and vocals, suddenly a bombastic eruption with an ominous atmosphere and impressive words: '80 eyes have seen their end, that cruel damned night the fire swelled, 80 mouths have cried unheard, that cruel damned night the fire swelled, 80 hands have raised uncatched, that cruel damned night the fire swelled, 80 feets have run to death, that cruel damned night the fire swelled'. To me it evokes a tension and excitement that reminds me of The Wall by Pink Floyd. This part is followed by a slow rhythm and propulsive guitar riffs, embellished with a flashy synthesizer solo. Then melancholical vocals, and in the end a sensitive electric guitar solo, accompanied by a dynamic rhythm-section. This epic track is Karmakoi in its full splendor!

The final composition is the short and instrumental Lost Voices, very atmospheric (including ambulances sirens), close to ambient electronic, strongly contrasting with the dynamic previous composition. To me it sounds like a requiem, as a tribute to the victims.

Tasteful and elaborate compositions, a captivating balance between skills and emotions, this is an album to discover!

This review was recently published in a slightly different version on the Dutch progrock website Background Magazine.

 The Day Is Done by KARMAMOI album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.99 | 31 ratings

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The Day Is Done
Karmamoi Heavy Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars At the time of their last album, 2016's 'Silence Between Sounds', the band had been reduced to a trio with guests, but now they are down to just the duo of Daniele Giovannoni (drums, keyboards and backing vocals) and Alex Massari (guitars and backing vocals) as bassist Alessandro Cefalý is also now listed as a guest and only plays on four songs. Strangely, all vocals are by Sara Rinaldi who also provides the lyrics, but she is not listed as being a member of the band. It is safe to say that I haven't been the biggest fan of this band in the past, viewing their last two albums as solid and okay but not incredibly interesting, but that is no longer the case as I have found myself playing this a great deal indeed. Interestingly, this a concept album, but not the normal subject matter one may expect. When the tragedy which was the Grenfell Tower fire took place on 14th June 2017 the writing of the album was already well advanced. 89 people died in the burning of that London skyscraper and among the many stories, we were deeply struck by that of two Syrian boys, Omar and Mohammed, who fled from Syria in the war, finding refuge and a new life in Britain. Mohammed died in the fire and his brother was unable to help him.

Daniele Giovannioni continues: "This typified my feeling of discomfort with the world. Many of us humans are on the run and living in fear of not being accepted. The two Syrian boys typified this feeling of unease. The terror in the eyes of the survivors of the fire was the same as that of the survivors of a bombing or an attack. Certainly, those who suffer a such a bombing know that it is possible there will be another, while those who are victims of a fires can hope that such a thing will never to be repeated, but the desire to escape is the same for everyone."

Again, there are plenty of guests involved, most notably Colin Edwin (Porcupine Tree) and Geoff Leigh (Steven Wilson, Ex-Wise Heads), but this album works best when it is at its most simple, gentle atmospheric piano combined with ethereal vocals. The production is superb, while the use fretless bass adds additional dynamics. This definitely feels like a band as opposed to a few musicians being thrown together for the occasion. At times incredibly Floydian, others more like Camel, what makes this album work so well is the sense of drama and the way the music moves and flows from one style to another. I wasn't a fan of Sara's vocals on the last album, but here she is a perfect fit with the music, and in many ways, this feels to me like a totally different band to what I had reviewed in the past.

There has been major step change in all directions, and the result is an album that is full of passion, thought, hooks and drive which keeps the listener involved engaged. That they can change from simplicity to complexity, quiet solitude to rock band, totally confident in throwing out rock guitar shapes and solos or keeping it tied down, shows just how far they have come in such a short time. Well worth investigating.

 The Day Is Done by KARMAMOI album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.99 | 31 ratings

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The Day Is Done
Karmamoi Heavy Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Italian band KARMAMOI was formed in 2008 in Italy, initially a 5 man strong venture but for the last few years reduced to a core of two permanent members - at least as far as studio activities are concerned. "The Day Is Done" is the third fourth production by the band, featuring cure duo of permanent members and quite a few additional musicians that was required for recording purposes. The album was released through UK label Sonicbond at the tail end of the fall season in 2018.

Karmamoi is a band growing in stature and popularity, and if they continue to create albums such as "The Day Is Done" that is a development that will continue. Existing somewhere inside the quadrant of Pink Floyd, Airbag, No-Man and Porcupine Tree, they create accessible, modern and controlled progressive rock. Personally I'd suggest fans of Porcupine Tree in particular to give this album a spin. It is different, but I rather suspect that the many familiar sounding elements Karmamoi brings to their table will come across as both familiar and compelling for many fans of Porcupine Tree in particular.

 Silence Between Sounds by KARMAMOI album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.77 | 21 ratings

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Silence Between Sounds
Karmamoi Heavy Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

3 stars This is the third album from Italian-UK band Karamoi, and after suffering some line-up changes the remaining trio of Daniele Giovannoni (drums, recording engineer and producer), Alessandro Cefalý (bass guitar) and Alex Massari (guitar) decided not to bring in new permanent members of the band, but instead have relied on session musicians and for vocals feature guest singers Sara Rinaldi, Irene Morelli, Hellena and former band singer Serena Ciacci. Heavily influenced by Porcupine Tree in particular, I found the use of multiple singers not working as well as it could have, just because they are all so different. Sara Rinaldi is definitely reminiscent of Amy Winehouse, and that just doesn't work with the style of music the band are playing. Comparing her efforts (and needless to say she is the main singer) with Hellena's sultry tones on the dreamy and atmospheric "Atma" shows just how special this album could have been, whereas in reality it has become a very hit and miss affair.

While not dismissing it out of hand, there is much more in the progressive scene that I would rather be listening to.

Thanks to andy webb for the artist addition. and to NotAProghead for the last updates

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