“Karma Machine”

By Dr. Abner Mality

Kill Ritual has the feeling of a band struggling mightily to pull itself up from mediocrity. On “Karma Machine”, they don’t totally succeed, but they are headed in the right direction. My heart goes out to them because I’m not sure they will have time to complete the struggle.

The previous two Kill Ritual albums left no impression upon my brain. None. But that can’t be said about “Karma Machine”. Despite their rather aggressive name, I would proclaim this band as power metal with a thrashy edge. Guitarist Steven Rice was a member of the long-running Imagika, who were also a band that never were quite able to elevate themselves from the second-tier. This time around, he’s got a whole new band to make up a rebooted Kill Ritual. And the move has paid off. Best new acquisition is singer David Reed Watson, who has some magnificent pipes in the vein of Forbidden’s Russ Anderson and Helstar’s James Rivera. He gives a touch of class to every song here, even the ones that are blasé.

The music mostly comes across as spirited but average. Tunes like “Rise” and “Kundalini” have the feeling of prime Vicious Rumors…less focused on thrash, more on traditional metal. Those are the ones I like the best. The thrashier stuff like “Just A Cut” and “Land of the Dead” has speed, but just don’t stick in the head. You won’t remember them a minute after hearing them. “The Key” begins in pretty dull melodic style but powers out with some strong chunky riffing. “My Green Room” is a fast instrumental that shows Rice’s shredding ability. But Kill Ritual just can’t reach that highest level yet. The album ends with an overlong and very mediocre “The Camera’s Eye”.

Kill Ritual has clawed its way from poor to…I don’t want to say average, but maybe just a hair above that. They are making progress and they’ve got themselves a hot vocalist. I wish them nothing but the best in the future.