Album: Moment of Violence – EP
Have you ever been under the gun? Under such enormous pressure that milliseconds stretch to weeks and minutes feel like years shaved off of your life? That every excruciating, miniscule breadth of time that passes feels like it won’t end.
If you use that definition of a “moment”–the kind that spans inordinate amounts of time and wears away at the edges of your sanity and humanity—then, yeah, Kharma’s sophomore effort Moment of Violence is accurately named–because it delivers far more than the standard “minute” of intense, immolating energy. Laden with rambunctious, ruthless and driving hardcore influence with touches of beatdown and metallic elements to sharpen the band’s roughest edges, Kharma’s latest effort is the very definition of visceral. Refusing to slow down for even a second, Moment of Violence is a series of bewildering breakdowns, scathing riffs and fast-footed two steps that carry on the bands political mindset and pissed-off demeanor well into the societal downward spiral that is 2018. Catchy, crushing, cruel and heavier than all Hell, Kharma’s follow-up to their acclaimed debut is absolutely everything a fan of raw, riveting heavy music could ask for.
The title of Kharma’s 2018 record only promises a single moment of violence, but rest assured—the listener gets so much more. From the raunchy introductory number, through “Paper Gangster,” and to the very end of the jarring, brutalizing “Distress,” the band are at their peak, bringing riff-heavy, fluid and furious displays of no-holds-barred aggression with the grace and elegance of a ballerina—but the brash, careless disregard for the listener’s welfare of a spiked wrecking ball. With bouncy, bold percussion that oscillates from hardcore-influenced, breakneck patterns and explosive booming toms to snappy, ear-splitting snare hits punctuating spline-slicing breakdowns, the band’s foundation has never been stronger. “Paper Gangster” is likely the track that first sees this dynamic fully achieved—with the percussion working as a marvelous framework for snappy, slinking bass that adds fluidity and transition to the segments that join the thrashy leads of “Distress” and define the back-busting heaviness of “Moment of Violence,” the aptly named eponymous track of the album. Together, the bass and percussion work as a scaffold for the brazen fretwork Kharma unleash. Technicality? No—that’s not the name of the game. Neither is subtlety. Kharma are out to split wigs with Moment of Violence, and their instrumental dynamic does so brilliantly. Just about every track sees the group unleashing all sorts of hell—with “Distress” hitting heavy and hard with metallic influence and over-the-top hardcore fervor and tracks like “Good Riddance,” “Paper Gangster” and “Hands of the Oppressor” bringing ever so slightly beatdown-tinted brutality right to the listener’s doorstep.
Kharma’s oppressive reign over the listener’s headphones and speaker system doesn’t end with the excellent and aggressive instrumentation. The band’s vocal element is just as aggressive and raw as one can possibly imagine. With harsh barks (not of the arf-arf variety), gritty, raw mid-range yells and low bellows that share air time with shrill shrieks, Moment of Violence is a surprisingly versatile record when it comes to the band’s vocal talents. Furthermore, their lyrics are contemporary and relatable—involved with personal grudges, disdain for…well, just about everything, but everything slightly dusted with a political overtone that gives it a remarkable level of relevance. It doesn’t brow-beat the listener with ideology, it doesn’t strive to create a new political rhetoric—it’s just pissed, and if it were anything else, it would be a stark contrast to the band’s instrumentation. However, like everything else, the band’s frontman works smoothly and impressively with Kharma’s style and sound—making Moment of Violence all the more violent.
Kharma take hardcore from yesteryear and blend it with modern polish (but not too much polish), innovative structure, personal points-of-view and plenty of piss and vinegar. The result is Moment of Violence—a short but sweet album that lights an infernal fire under the hardcore scene’s ass. Heavier than ten elephants, and more likely to flatten the listener than an entire bridage of steamrollers, Moment of Violence knows no bounds, just as it knows no tact or softness. It is a harsh, unkind album for a harsh, unkind world—and it’s exactly what we need.
For Fans Of: King Nine, Bulldoze, Everybody Gets Hurt, Drowning
By: Connor Welsh