Karnivool. A behemoth of the Australian music scene, and one of the most unique and compelling acts to emerge in recent history. Winners of WA’s ‘Best Original Metal Act’, ‘Most Popular Act’, ‘Most Popular Live Act’, ‘Best Male Vocalist (Ian Kenny)’, ‘Best Guitarist (Andrew Goddard)’, ‘Best Hard Rock Act’, and most notably, recipients of the 2013 Aria for the ‘Best Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Album’ for 2013’s ‘Asymmetry’ ; Creators of three exquisite full-length albums, one breakthrough EP, survivors of numerous national and international tours, pioneers of independent music. This is a band so vastly important both musically and culturally, that it goes without saying – Karnivool are one of the all-time greats of Australian music.
Steve Judd – Drums
Mark Hosking – Guitar
Andrew Goddard – Guitar
Jon Stockman – Bass
Ian Kenny – Vocals
The late 2000’s saw the emergence of the Progressive rock movement, proudly led by bands like The Butterfly Effect, Dead Letter Circus, Melodyssey, Mammal and Cog. This movement went on to introduce Karnivool to the world as one of the most successful representatives of this genre and thrusted underground Australian heavy music onto major European and American stages for the first time.
The band was experimental from their very inception. 1999’s self-titled EP introduced them as an edgy, nu-metal-inspired outfit with tracks like Konkrete Seed and Box. Their now legendary second EP ‘Persona’, released in 2001, generated keen interest in the band. Line-up changes saw Karnivool evolve several times over the next few years, with the current line-up finalising in 2004. But what really brought the band to the front and centre of the music world was the release of their first full length offering, ‘Themata’, which continues to gain the band a steady flow of new fans over a decade after its release. The subsequent tours and the years surrounding the release helped establish Karnivool as one of the best live acts to ever set foot on a local stage, and seemingly overnight, they became a household name.
Surprisingly, the band took quite a long time to release the follow up to ‘Themata’, with their second offering ‘Sound Awake’ coming out 4 years later. The album debuted at number #2 on the Aria charts and went on to solidify the band’s status internationally. Karnivool have often stated that the song writing process is a challenge, but the result was pure magic, both according to critics and fans. The band toured their new album internationally, including Europe, USA and India, subsequently becoming known worldwide and attracting critical acclaim for both their recorded works and live performances.
Perhaps the biggest contribution that Karnivool made to Australian music is giving young artists the licence to be themselves and run their bands independently. The digital age had begun, and artists had more control than ever before. Karnivool climbed up the ladder without major label or commercial radio support, completely independently, and their artistic merit remained intact.
‘Sound Awake’ was followed by another album in 2013, the endlessly divisive ‘Asymmetry’. The usually polished production gave way to a more aggressive sound, courtesy of producer Nick Diddia, who’s resume includes names like Alice Cooper, Incubus and Bruce Springsteen. The result was an abrasive album, full of static and metallic dissonance, making it both compelling and truly original, albeit distinctly more difficult to listen to than its predecessors. Nothing sounds like Asymmetry, and in this context, the record was an artistic triumph. The release was widely celebrated commercially as well, winning the ‘Best Rock Album’ Aria award in 2013.
A few years on, the music world is once again abuzz with excitement. New artists are coming onto the scene to reshape the mould, and Karnivool’s influence can be heard at every corner. Artists such as Polaris, Northlane and Circles have thrusted heavy music into a more experimental territory, and the lush reverb and minor movements of certain layers really carry that familiar ‘Vool’ sound
Karnivool have been in hibernation of late, but they are emerging from their song-writing den to play their very first East Coast show since 2016. Local independent boutique festival Unify has announced the band as one of their headline acts this year, and although surprising, this feature is well suited – one of the most successful independent artists, joining one of the best up-and-coming independent heavy music festivals, alongside pioneering emerging artists who are leading the charge in this new age of heavy music. Unify will take place at its new location in Tarwin Meadows, Gippsland on January 11, 12 and 13. Overdrive Magazine will be there to capture the magic and see the almighty Karnivool grace a Festival stage once more, hopefully giving us a glimpse of new material.
Grab your tickets for Unify Gathering 2019 at www.unifygathering.com