Karp is another band from you guessed it, Washington circa 1990. Featuring Jared Warren who went on to play with Big Business who teamed up with The Melvins. But before all that, there was Karp. A heavy band. I don't mean the Cannibal Corpse, bark, growl and play as fast as you possibly can heavy. I mean fuzzed out, dark punk rock. So it is fitting that their band name isn't named after the fish but actually stands for Kill All Redneck Pr**ks. They released three full length albums for K records between 94' and 97' before putting out this compilation of singles, and tracks from other comps. They were easily one of the heaviest bands to K Records simple feel good roster of bands. In one way it's hard to imagine Karp and Mecca Normal both putting out records on the same lable. But in another light considering the sheer diversity of the scene going on it all makes perfect sense. Outside of the whole image Sub Pop created, bands were really free to do as they please without any pressure to fit some stupid and silly mold.
With this being a compilation of singles and non album tracks, it of course lacks the framework of a full length album. It's just tracks grabbed from every direction thrown together. But I've always loved when bands that have a bunch of super rare 7 inch singles and long out of print compilation tracks decide to go ahead and compile an album featuring everything in one neat and tidy little package. Because even though I am a fan of Karp, they are not the type of band that I would seek out every single 7 inch and pay high dollar tags for them. Yet I still enjoy them enough to want to hear their music. So the label Punk in my Vitamins? did us all a favor with this release in 2001.
Anyone who knows Big Business can gather a pretty good idea of how Karp sounds. They're very in debt to The Melvins albums like Ozma. That pounding, droning pulse with bursts of energy. It also brings to mind Godheadsilo. Like their cover of Black Flag's 'Nothing Left Inside' is a roaring experiment in trying to make BF's 'My War' album even more slowed down and menacing. On songs like 'Pistol Whipped' the vocals sound like some terrible mockery of Jackyl or the like. Other times it's like he's screaming ten feet away from the mic. Maybe he is. Karp is about as carefree of a band as you can get. They are not putting metal in punk. They are putting punk in metal.
Aside from having a cover that looks sorta reminds me of Max Headroom, it's a pretty basic layout which is ok. Karp is one of those bands that's just as silly as they are threatening. If you look at the liner notes, under the first track ''Rocky Mountain Rescue'' it says ''Inspired by the film Cliffhanger with Sly Stallion''. I laughed pretty hard at that one. A song inspired by of all movies.....Cliffhanger. And reminding us Sly is it in, since that movie has so many other merits and all. And wait did they write Sly Stallion? And how they mention the Black Flag cover was supposed to be on a Black Flag tribute album but didn't make it. Nor do they remember who even recorded it. Basically their whole commentary for the liner notes is a riot.
The production of this album jumps from songs recorded live in one take, to just really raw and grimey. It's great. Exactly how this album should be. Any other way would make it a lot less interesting. With an attitude and music like Karp, it would make no sense at all to be some big polished collection of singles and rarities. With 14 total tracks, it's a pretty hefty little comp. I imagine they had to scrounge a little bit to even find that much to put on it. But nothing feels too out of place. It still has a nice flow as each song carries to the next.
Karp is the perfect type of heavy metal band. First off considering what their band name stands for, they're already isolating some of heavy metals biggest fans, the rednecks. This isn't metal for rednecks, this is the heavy metal that it's ok to like. I can't imagine anyone driving around in a big Ford truck listening to a song like ''The Falling Under''. Which sounds like it was recorded in a basement at 5 AM. They really do a great job at giving metal a makeover. It's not hair, thrash, death, or any other subgenre. This is just flat out heavy, dirty, stopped caring about life metal. With a big smile, never not having a good time. It's the musical soundtrack to a beer soaked game of Dungeons & Dragons. A vomit fest of hedonistic porportion. An album that's equal part silly, equal part hedonistic tidal wave.
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