The Weekend Australian album review, July 2013: Karnivool – ‘Asymmetry’

An album review for The Weekend Australian, published 20 July 2013.


Karnivool – Asymmetry

Karnivool - 'Asymmetry' album cover, reviewed in The Weekend Australian by Andrew McMillen, July 2013Never before has an album like this been released by a popular Australian rock act. Dark, deep and challenging, Asymmetry is the third album by Karnivool in eight years, and it sees the Perth quintet moving further away from the accessible, pop-like approach to songwriting that characterised its early releases in favour of intricate, unwieldy prog-rock suites.

For this, the group is to be admired, as it certainly is not taking the easy way out by pandering to the sensibilities of its significant national audience. Taken in whole, as a 66-minute song cycle, it’s an interesting listen. The problem here is that the songs simply aren’t strong or memorable in isolation. “Interesting” is probably not the adjective these five musicians were aiming for, either.

Better known as frontman for Birds of Tokyo, Ian Kenny is Karnivool’s most potent weapon. While this was certainly true on 2005 debut Themata and 2009’s Sound Awake, here, Kenny’s vocal hooks are frustratingly few and far between. Dominating the mix is the incessant sturm und drang of his bandmates, who appear to have become scholars of Swedish technical death metal band Meshuggah.

Shifting tempo changes are the order of the day; aggressive and contemplative moods crash into one another, with little rhyme or reason. The overall effect is as messy and disorienting as the album artwork. Complexity for the sake of complexity soon numbs the ears, and even after repeated listens Asymmetry simply doesn’t make much sense.

RATING: 2 stars

Comments? Below.
  1. Luke says:

    1.To call meshuggah a death metal band…….HAVE YOU LISTENED TO DEATH METAL ??? OR MESHUGGAH ???

    2. Ian Kenny is just aswell know for both acts….more so probable KARNIVOOL seeing as there popularity overseas grows larger all the time plus there playing with some huge acts and doing huge festivals overseas nowadays which you didn’t even mention .

    3. Karnivool are such a talented Australian band and are innovative , clever , fresh and modern . They work hard , play even harder “on stage” and if you think this album sucks…..get ready to get out the big red pen for album no 4 .

    Praise them for growing and moving forward as people and as a band every album so far ?? Sound awake is such a great album….honestly asymetry was the next step for them as a band . You’d have to admit karnivool have kept it pretty progressive and still pretty karnivool sounding compared to the new “dead letter circus” album…..I like there new album and there prob just as talanted as the vool lads but there doing the same thing album to album pretty much not too much room for musical groth plus Its laking a bit at times….loosing a founding member no matter what anyone says isn’t good for a band .

    Next lot of album’s you review should be pop radio albums…..those songs actually are shit…..and most of the artists are talantless .

    Die hard Aussie prog fan !!!


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