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Review: Karybdis’ Samsara

karybdis

London metalcore outfit Karybdis return for their sophomore album Samsara. Despite having a sound heavily rooted in metalcore with its heavy use of single-chord rhythms, Karybdis layer their music with soaring leads and occasional flourishes of symphonic metal and melodeath. This means Karybdis sound less like Killswitch Engage and more like Machine Head or Sylosis.

So Karybdis have a very accomplished and diverse sound that sits closer to groove and thrash metal. If we ignore subgenres for a second, Karybdis offer up a powerful metal record that draws from a wide range of influences that when put together sound exclusively like Karybdis.

The guitar work on Samsara carries most of the music’s melody. The title track is a great example of this, with its melodeath riffs punching you in the gut during its verses, but then breaking out into some seriously epic leads during the chorus. It makes a very angry song sound almost euphoric and it’s glorious to behold. We’re also treated to an amazing guitar solo that displays a masterful level of musicianship.

As previously mentioned, Karybdis’ music is built on a very noticeable metalcore rhythm with its heavy use of driving, single-chord riffs paired with double-bass drumming. This gives the band a very contemporary sound that they’ve seen fit to garnish with elements of other subgenres. For example Forsaken begins with a high-paced thrash riff, Summon the Tides is interspersed with that lovely, bombastic, symphonic sound that bands like Dimmu Borgir or Blind Guardian deal in and songs like the title track definitely display shades of that wonderful Gothenburg, melodic death metal sound.

Vocally the record even manages to be pretty varied despite the almost exclusive use of screamed vocals. The vocals often switch between low-pitched, death metal growls for verses, and high-pitched, raspy screams for choruses. Occasionally the band even breaks out into a massive, soaring melody like during the chorus of Rorschach or even the delicate, operatic melodies that accompany the rhythms of Summon the Tides. It’s incredibly striking vocal work that once again keeps the album varied.

Karybdis have put together a smorgasbord of metal subgenres and masterfully fused them into a sound that is exclusive to the band. Samsara is a metal album that heavy music fans will be championing for years to come and it establishes Karybdis as one of the UK’s best metal acts.

9/10

Karybdis’ Samsara is out now and available to buy direct from the band.

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