My Sleeping Karma - Atma (Napalm Records)
As far as history can tell, music has long been a bridge between the human world and a realm far beyond our comprehension. Perhaps somewhere spirits dwell, or where ancestors who have passed on roam in peace, or even a place for one to learn more about themselves; a plain of enlightenment.
For Germany's My Sleeping Karma, the latter is very much at the core of Atma, their sixth full length release. Named for the Sanskrit word that refers to universal self-knowledge, the six tracks of psychedelic post-rock are a trip beyond space and time. A musical quest to inspire reflection and meditation.
On a musical level, Atma calls upon many elements of psychedelic, doom, and ambient styles of rock and metal. While the band's career spans nearly two decades and has earned them legions of fans, first time listeners might be drawn to the riffs and hypnotic drums akin to bands like Torche, Zozobra, Baroness, and some elements from early Gojira.
Unlike these bands, My Sleeping Karma is strictly instrumental, instead preferring to let the music be their voice to guide listeners. Certain types of meditation require the repetition of a word or phrase to allow for focus. Atma replaces the words with haunting introductions in songs such as "Mukti," "Ananda" and "Avatara" to achieve a similar goal.
There are many instances where an album "feels" like an experience, but it is very rare for an album to actually BE an experience. While the band channeled feelings of fear and sadness that the last few years have brought to many in the music world and beyond, the end result is a journey through the shadows to a place where the rays of the sun start to slowly but surely chase the darkness away.
The Metal Mayan rating: 5/5
Most everyone knows what a concept album is, but how many times in the rock/metal world do you get a 'purpose' album; where the story is about you, not characters or world the band is singing about?
There are no fast drums or over the top guitars here, but instead crystal clear waters of sound to wash over you as you think deep about things. I practiced transcendental meditation for a few years and found myself being taken back to a similar frame of mind with each song.
I have certainly heard of My Sleeping Karma, but this was the first time I got to experience them. I am certainly glad I did!
Visit your local record store and pick up Atma, out now on Napalm Records.
Advance copy courtesy of Napalm Records