(09 May 2014)
Since 1994 Karonte have unleashed a slow but steady stream of death metal upon the Spanish masses from their homebase in Cantabria. Except from one change of drummer back in their demo days, Karonte has had a highly stable lineup.
The quartet is most often labeled as melodic death metal, so it may come as a shock when you’re met with a fat, simplistic and grooving guitar as opposed to the squeaky clean hyperactive wankery that has been made a custom by especially the Swedish scene. Karonte strive to meet the genre in the old school way, meaning exactly what it is: Death metal with a slightly more melodic tinge. As such they aren’t as susceptible to the weaker elements of the genre, namely overly melodious solos and riffs that border on metalcore.
On Paraíso Sin Fe flashy melody comes second to groove-laden passages where guitars, bass and drums go hand in hand. But there are times on their second album where it only seems suitible to go a little more overboard on the whole spectrum. Even when the tide is high their grooves feel a bit too controlled and as such it seems like they’re restraining themselves. I get that it’s not all about speed and brutality, but Paraíso could stand to benefit from just a tad bit more in that department.
I wouldn’t offend Karonte by putting them in a box neatly marked “melodic death metal”, because they are much more than that. Tracks like Falaris and Carme show their affinity for the heavier aspects of the genre, while Mercado Infecto’s marching pace brings back memories of certain death/doom groups.
Paraíso Sin Fe feels like the product of a band sure of what they wanted to do. It adequately mixes enough different elements to keep things interesting for the almost 40 minutes the album consists of. It seems sincere and doesn’t follow modern trends. But even so, with the little variation in tempo evident on Paraíso does as times make it feel like a long journey. With the arguably fastest track starting things off, each songs is more or less a step down, culminating in the bluesy closing track, Gris. I found myself often tempted to take a break from the album because it felt like nothing exciting was going on anyway, and without the promise of a greater track later on the album, there’s little reason to listen to the album in one sitting. There seems to be only little thought-process behind the tracklisting, because the flow feels uneven and weird. The title track serves nicely as an album closer as Gris (the actual album closer) is too unlike anything else heard on the album and therefore feels like more of a bonus track or intermission. 6/10 guitars.