Kamni – A.T.O.M. …   Leave a comment

The good thing about keeping acquainted with blogs such as the Sludge Swamp (RIP) or Stonerobixxx is that you’re never really out of the loop – and the good thing about not listening to every album that comes your way is having a virgin perspective when it suddenly/randomly comes to their new material. Such is the case with me and Kamni, an alternative stoner metal band from Russia who made waves with their début. It’s basically impossible that you haven’t heard of the band, as they were all over the place with their début, and here they are, with a new EP.

Now, I’ve actually never heard of them before, but if I could use a few one-word definitions for Kamni’s music, they’d be: atmospheric, repetitive, hypnotic and beautiful. It’s all about a single riff (played with tones so fat and full they might as well be obese), supporting bass, minimal drumming, and overall a minimalist approach. That is where the band has it’s biggest strength – the atmosphere they create, the mood, is so good, so mesmerizing that it can easily serve as a substitute for recreational drugs. It’s that good. Anyway, without further ado….

“A.T.O.M.” is one of those albums, EP’s that have such an opener that it seems impossible that any of the songs following the first one can be as good. The opener, “Shiva THC” is one killer track that can get you hooked instantly: it’s a mellow, chill-out song until the very middle, featuring hypnotic instrumentalization (I think a reed) and interesting woodwinds on top of subtle and repetitive bass and drumming, before kicking it into stoner metal territory and laying one (as in, singular) fuzzed out riff. That period is brief however, and only serves to stir you before returning to mesmerism territory. It’s above and beyond, so much so that, I got stuck there for about a week.

Then comes “Lysergic General” and Kamni brings us high-end stoner doom that is simultaneously more stoner than doom and more doom than stoner somehow. It begins with feedback before laying it on thicker than the first track – it takes two full minutes to get to the riff. It dooms onwards for a few minutes, laying vocals on top of the music. The vocals are completely original, I must say – I wouldn’t say completely devoid of influence, as there is that doomy quality to them, but they do a good job supporting the atmosphere, which gets thicker after the vocals get done. After a solo-like interlude, scorching licks of guitar on top of lumbering bass and riff (singular) move up the curve and finish the song right where the tipping point should be. It’s beautiful how they never bring it back down.

“Collapse” is basically what’d happen if you applied the norms of ambient music to stoner metal. It kicks off with mellowed-out, chill groove applied to a singular riff, minimal drumming and subtle licks of guitar. Notice the use of singular when saying “groove” because it is pretty much improvised licks of guitar over all other instruments, which remain stable at a singular eight-bar arrangement throughout the song. When the guitars kick in, they remain within that same range – they play the same thing, with added vocals and faster, arpeggiated guitars. It’s meant, clearly, to create mood by way of repetition and succeeds admirably.

The final and title track, “A.T.O.M.” is a strange beast. It’s a fifteen-minute ambient track that is basically atmospherics (i.e. industrial-style, minimal drums, almost no bass and other sounds) laid underneath reed improvisations. It carries on the overall feel of the EP, the hypnotic air begat by repetition, and creates a very ethereal, dreamy atmosphere. However, it is, by and large, my least favourite track as such, but that’s mainly because I don’t fancy ambient much, and it’s too much ambient for my tastes. Oh, it would set the mood for a variety of things, as it is a perfect background piece, but it needs too much attention and kinda disturbs the flow of the EP, in my opinion.

So, what is the verdict, you ask? Let me tell you this – this review took less time than all my other reviews, even those of the bands I already knew, precisely because all songs are based on repetition, that is to say, the EP is very easy to digest and very easy on the ears, as such, I don’t think anyone will have a hard time with it. But perhaps the most remarkable achievement of this EP is that it will not be hard on those who have no acquaintance whatsoever with the genres involved, which makes this one essential. Though I do believe the last track disturbs the flow quite a bit, so, I’d say we have a winner in our hands. 8.5/10.

Review Written By Sarp Esin

Kamni @ Myspace

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Posted July 2, 2011 by doommantia in Kamni

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