Karnivool Make New Rules on Third Album
The Australian prog rock band deliver a dense, complex album in their new release ‘Asymmetry’
Is it selfish when a band says they write music for themselves? Is it annoying when you don’t ‘get’ Australian prog rock band Karnivool’s master plan on their third album, Asymmetry [released worldwide in July] on the first listen? It’s actually a sign that two albums down, the band is ready to break new ground. Karnivool guitarist Drew Goddard advises, “The true test is down the line, when people take more time for it to sink in and understand it a bit more.”
On Asymmetry, you’re greeted with a quiet instrumental intro “Aum” and led out by the outro “Om,” the Indianness of which Goddard laughs off. “I don’t necessarily know if it was some of that travel to India that rubbed off on us. But we’re definitely aware of that role Indians have played in that [Spiritual] realm. They [the songs] are also very introspective and help us deal with certain things,” says the guitarist.
Beyond trippy fillers like “Aum,” there are more recognizable numbers like “The Refusal,” [the first song written for the album, when the band was into hardcore band Converge and post-metal band Neurosis] and the lead single, “We Are.” To balance the heavier tracks such as “Aeons” with easier ones such as “Float” and give Asymmetry a more cohesive shape, the band has included a few fillers and experiments with loops and drones or distorted guitar noises. Says Goddard, “It’s not a record you listen to in a rush, or get a quick fix by. You could listen to it in the background and let it wash over you, and then you can listen to it on headphones and be more conscious of the subtleties.”
How does an album like that, especially with its apocalyptic themes, manage to top the charts ARIA [Australian Recording Industry Association] charts within two weeks of its release in July this year? That’s something that stumps Goddard and the rest of the band as well. “It’s not an album full of singles. I think that [chart success] has got to do with everything we’ve done to date, rather than the record itself. We were told, especially in Australia, that there was no market for this kind of music. But we’re proving them wrong with that. It’s a win for alternative music in Australia. It should open the floodgates for more outlandish music and less X-Factor and Australian Idol,” says Goddard.
This year is probably the first that Karnivool [the band debuted in India at IIT Bombay’s Mood Indigo in December 2011, followed by appearances at the Bacardi NH7 Weekender in Pune and Australian music showcase Oz Fest in 2012], has chosen to skip India when planning their tour schedule, but Goddard is optimistic about coming back next year. “We’ve had some amazing experiences in India so far. I mean the first show we did; it was a career highlight of ours. Coming to a new place and seeing new faces and having them connect in such a big way. It just blew our minds,” says Goddard. The guitarist adds Karnivool will now concentrate on releasing another music video [their first was for the single, “We Are”], playing more songs off Asymmetry on tour, considering they’ve played just seven out of 10 songs from the new album and then going back to work another album.
Listen to Asymmetry in full here.
This article appeared in the September 2013 issue of ROLLING STONE India.