Every once in awhile there appears a band from a genre that I don’t usually listen to that surprisingly catches my ears, and Italian progressive metal outfit Karnya has certainly managed to do so with their debut full length release Coverin’ Thoughts.
While my knowledge of progressive metal is unfortunately limited to just some Dream Theater and the likes, Coverin’ Thoughts impresses me in being an album that is technically challenging yet emotional at the same time as one would come to realise soon enough. The quirky opening track Mechanical Mixtures give the listener some slight preview to the band’s old school influences, with the band proudly proclaiming a nice fusion between the old school and the modern on Coverin’ Thoughts. As the introductory track ends and Flooding Blood begins, one can’t help but bring about a Dream Theater comparison, with the instrumentations and the arrangement of the track easily reminding one of the Images and Words period of the band. Such similarities are abundant throughout the album, from the guitar/keyboard duels that are aplenty, the sudden shift of pace that are so characteristic of Dream Theater, and how all the instruments are often played together in sync, with the guitars, bass and drums often playing the same riffing patterns. A Paraphrenic Menticide even ends with a sudden disturbance, reminding one of the finale of Metropolis Pt. 2.
The old school sound is pretty clear throughout the album, mainly through the generous usage of the keyboards of Dario, at times sounding as though Deep Purple or Rainbow gone prog. The few more straightforward moments on the album are also full-on old school heavy metal and hard rock, at times even reminding one of the later, hard rock-leaning works of bands like Edguy (musically, at least).
Perhaps the modern aspect as described by the band can be heard on the crystal clear production quality of the album, with each of the instruments ringing out nicely in the mix and clearly audible throughout the album. Furthermore, there are moments on the album where the band bring in some modern power metal elements, especially in the powerful vocals of Riccardo. The complex guitar riffs and lead segments, along with the soaring solos that Riccardo provides at certain points of the album also bring in the emotional aspect of Coverin’ Thoughts, and such moments easily remind one of power/progressive metal bands such as Pagan Mind with the powerful melodies without compromising the technicality in the music at all. Unfortunately, with the power metal influences on the album it is unavoidable that the band at times goes into cheesy moments, and these are perhaps the only downfall.
Obviously with a musical style as such, each of the musicians in Karnya are equally capable on their instruments, and their versatility is shown on the album in the ease with which they are able to switch between different styles and segments, and the complex and odd time signatures that the music often goes at. And like mentioned, the best part is in how the band is able to retain that sense of melody and emotion at all times, ensuring that Coverin’ Thoughts retains that human touch throughout.