RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Strange Karma – Cold Blooded

Rating: B

Strange Karma is a cool Australian band with an old school twist.  How old school and cool are they, you may ask?  Check this out… this 80’s style melodic hard rock band is so ‘with it’ that they have released their latest album, Cold Blooded… are you ready for this?  ONLY on vinyl… yeah, you read that correctly.  Man, that is bold, and exciting and fun and says a lot about members Martin Strange (lead vocals, piano, guitar), Paul Strange (lead guitar, backing vocals), and Jason McDonald (drums).   The only way to make this refreshing news better would be if the album actually rocked...  Good news!  It does!

“Freedom” is the opening song on Side A (how cool is it to review something and say “Side A”?).  The song rocks with a massive riff and great vocals.  The band does not rely on just a classic hard rock sound, however.  They are very versatile and dramatic in their approach.  Check out the video below for the song “Devil From the Moon.”  Even though the drums and vocals are not synched well with the video, the visual gives you an idea of their stage presence and attitude. This song is not typical in any way shape or form.  The riff is metal, the verses hard rock but there is a mellow vibe… think Michael Schenker… and the lead guitar is simplistic, but the vibe kicks ass... and yes, that is the bass riff from Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain” worked in to this song’s bridge... subconsciously, I am sure... 

In the past, Strange Karma was sometimes dismissed as a Zeppelin riff-style band.  With this release the band is proving they have much more to offer.  There is an obvious homage to their influences… I hear a lot of the Cult on this one.  The band is obviously forging their own sound and are dedicated to finding their own karma—however strange it may be!

The title track is another surreal rocker that builds, swoons and sways and ends up in a guitar/bass/drum frenzy demanding the listener crank this one up loud and often.  Songs like the album ending “Dreams” show a happy side to Strange Karma… they let their inner Queen out on this one—and I mean the band! Similar to their previous 7+ minute monumental effort “Indian Sun”, this tune is a true epic track as it travels all over the map and is a joy to experience.  

It is wonderful to hear a band with talent, uniqueness and drive still making real rock and roll with no regard to the flavor of the day---well, vinyl release aside.  That is definitely a cool marketing idea, but it is taking advantage of the vinyl surge the industry is experiencing.  Musically, though, this band has no tricks up their sleeve... they are just a cool-ass rock band with the courage to stray away from their Zeppelin-esque past and create their own vibe. 

Classic Rock Revisited recommends any true fan of hard, melodic rock give Strange Karma a chance. Go ahead, get the dust off the needle and enjoy some album art and liner notes.  Strange Karma is one of ‘those’ bands that makes one curious to hear more and return back to the album time and time again… which in this day and age is virtually unheard of. 


Side A:
1) Freedom
2) Devil from the Moon
3) Crying for Your Love
4) Realize
5) I Believe (London Town)

Side B:
1) Heartbeat
2) Should’ve Seen It Coming
3) Cold Blooded
4) Hey Man
5) Dreams

By Jeb “Fearing Karma” Wright