Karkaos – Children of the Void (2017) – Review

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I just started twirling Children of the Void from the Canadian band Karkaos. Well, hells bells, this beat hitting my sound system from the cold Atlantic shores seemingly delivers some déjà-vu mix of Avantasia and a healthy tot of Sirenia. A much more ballsy version, though, and Avantasia would have to come down from their lofty heights and add some serious friggin’ crunch to match that.

The enigma – however – lies in the supposed weakness of the metal during these first minutes. Because the Canadian metal and rock community usually does have a pretty vicious bite to it. Even if it is relatively small on an international stage given the size of the place.  

And indeed, the somewhat poppy first Avantasia-goes-Sirenia impression very quickly fades away and the album starts to kick ass seriously. Even if the synth-loving style employed by the more symphonically oriented community of the Power Metal universe never fully dies. And continues to raise its ugly head throughout the album, albeit with some serious steel claws attached.

Later in the game – to my surprise – their tune takes a darker, much tougher turn, though. And starts to sail down these straits Arch Enemy took some time earlier – even if the choice of the vocal mix differs some. 

The band jams a weird mix of Power Metal intertwined with a special brand of Melodic Death Metal infused Gothic Metal. Or the other way around, as per your liking. Theirs is proof of the proverbial pudding, too. You do not need to screech around the scenery like Unleash The Archers to spurt some serious Power Metal amps. On top, I really like the sturdy riffing, the almost Nightwish-esque use of keyboards, and some pretty cool solos combined with the vocals.

Not bad that. 

Speaking of which, I just love their expert use of growls and cleans on this record. Viky Boyer, the new vocalist, actually does both styles. First, you get clear vocals all nice and sweet, and next thing you know, she snarls at you like an angry bobcat. This continually reminds me of Alissa White-Gluz, who has a very nice clear voice too, if she decides to use it. Part of the growling duty on this record is shared with Vincent Hamois by the way.

Be this as it may, their tune nevertheless hits you like a ton of bricks right from Skymaster, the 2nd track on Children of the Void. And talking about building stones. The sound indeed feels all bricked up. Or is it just me? You will be able to discern all elements on a high-end earphone. Yet on a mid-quality loudspeaker, once the sound waves start to bounce about your furniture, things will sound differently.

It seems to be that thing with too many channels on the mixing board, ending up in an unspeakable fruit salad of elements. And you start losing stuff. Add to this the ever-present, somewhat hyper-active drum work and we about summed up the more disturbing tendencies on this disc. Also, the Amaranthe bug hits the compressors a few times too many, and that fact sometimes turns the record’s contribution almost into a stale copy. Almost. 

Now, as of Pale, the Power Metal infused Melodic Death Metal incarnation takes over seriously. Powerful, lava-hot, and non-compromising. Children of the Void starts to show its true steely shine with tracks like Tyrants and Where Mushrooms Grow.

This record definitely improves with age and morphs into something more resembling proper Melodic Death Metal with a twist. And they tune it differently once again in the last track Bound By Stars. A somewhat laid-back ending, if this is a term that can be used for this record at all. 

Summing this up, the change of vocalists in the person of Viky Boyer added some serious spice to Children of the Void. Not the contrary that many fans lamented after the departure of Veronica Ortiz Rodriguez. Compression apart, Karkaos delivers an artful piece of Power Metal laden Melodic Death Metal. Say what you will, but Karkaos beat other outfits of the same ilk by adding just this special trifle symphonic pepper sauce and a slick vocal delivery to the mix that will make you come in for more.

A band to watch out for.

Ed’s note: In early 2018, the band published a new video for Tyrants. Pretty sturdy, that.

Record Rating: 6/10 | Label: Self-Released | Web: Facebook
Release date: 26 May 2017

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