Karkara: All Is Dust [Album Review]

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All Is Dust
Le Cépe/EXAG’/Stolen Body Records [2024]

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Karkara, a psychedelic rock band formed in Toulouse in 2019, has been steadily making waves in the European music scene since its inception. Comprising of Karim Rihani, Hugo Olive, and Maxime Marouani, the trio has garnered attention with their intense live performances and two excellent previous albums, Crystal Gazer (2019) and Nowhere Land (2020). Now, in 2024, they return with their third album, All Is Dust, released today via three labels: EXAG’ Records (Belgium), Le Cèpe Records (France), and Stolen Body Records (UK). This album marks a significant milestone for Karkara as they continue to push the boundaries of their sonic psych. All Is Dust follows a post-apocalyptic narrative, where humanity faces resource depletion and societal collapse. Through six chapters, each corresponding to a track on the album, listeners are taken on a journey of escape, confrontation, and hallucinatory delusions as the protagonist seeks an elusive utopia called Anthropia, only to find ruins and despair. This record is deep, heavy and full of psych jams that will make you want to hear it again to catch different nuisances.

Musical Style: Karkara’s musical style is deeply rooted in psychedelic rock, with influences ranging from Osees, King Gizzard, King Crimson, and the heaviness of Black Sabbath. Their sound is characterized by screaming amps, overdriven drums, and vocals that oscillate between sweet melancholy and desperate rage. They seamlessly blend elements of stoner rock, psychedelic rock, and heavy krautrock to create an immersive musical experience that is much more like a long journey than a short trip.

Evolution of Sound: With All Is Dust, Karkara continues to evolve their sound, driving deeper into experimental territories while retaining their signature psychedelic rock roots. The album presents a diverse range of tracks, from stoner to psychedelic to heavy kraut, showcasing the band’s versatility and willingness to explore new ideas. The biggest game changer for me on All Is Dust is the incorporation of additional musicians Jérôme Biévelot on saxophone and Simon Barrière on trumpet which adds an entire new layer of complexity to their sound.

Artists with Similar Fire: Fans of bands like SLIFT, King Gizzard, and Black Sabbath will find Karkara’s music filled with its fusion of raw energy, hypnotic rhythms, and psychedelic textures. Their intense performance here puts them as a top tier psych rock band along with the above contemporary psychedelic acts.

Pivotal Tracks: “On Edge” is a stoner rock-infused track that highlights the tone for the album with its heavy riffs and hypnotic groove. “Moonshiner” is one of the more calm psychedelic realm tracks that will captivate you with its dreamy atmospheres and swirling melodies. “The Chase” is a heavy krautrock-inspired track that propels the listener forward with its relentless rhythm and distorted guitars and showcase the musical tightness and growth of the band. Lastly, the title track closes the record in all of its just over 8 minute glory. The song has the most hardcore vocals that has a SLIFT vibe to it as the music grabs you. It also utilizes the trumpets to set a fantastic balance with the track’s overbearing rock brutality.

Lyrical Strength: All Is Dust presents a post-apocalyptic narrative, following the trials and tribulations of a character striving to escape a collapsing society in search of a mythical city, Anthropia. Karkara weaves a tale of flight, confrontation, and hallucinations, ultimately revealing the protagonist’s realization that true paradise lies in rebuilding humanity from the rubble. The lyrics reflect contemporary anxieties and apprehensions, inviting listeners to immerse themselves in a dystopian journey of self-discovery and redemption.

Nowhere Land (2020)

Website | Bandcamp | Facebook | Instagram | EXAG’ Records | Le Cèpe Records | Stolen Body Records

Thomas Wilde

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