Weekly Wire
The Boston Phoenix Karp

Self-titled LP

By Carly Carioli

OCTOBER 13, 1997:  Heavy metal is hardly ever a guilt-free pleasure -- damn shame about that too. Fortunately, the most Poindexter-correct indie-rock label in the world -- those K kids with their anemic-pop niceness -- has deigned for several albums to sponsor Karp, a hopelessly testosterone-addled post-Helmet metal band masquerading as a nice-kids in-joke. Said masquerade involves lots of winning Spinal Tap humor (last song: "J Is for Genius"; and the album title listed above is exactly what's printed on the cover). On the other hand, "Bastard of Disguise" -- which is mostly screaming along the lines of "Ding-dong! The witch is dead!" -- is not as witty as, say, the Bags' "L. Frank Baum" or even most actual Judas Priest songs. Yet none of this prevents them from out-bloodblitzing the likes of the Unsane on the album's first two songs -- a feat that makes the comic-ironic ruses and condescension elsewhere seem a bit disingenuous. Which is to say that despite the sonic pun of eliminating high and low frequencies in favor of midrange (mid-fi?) blurcore, their metal bark is (for joy!) way more convincing than their sardonic bite.

-- Carly Carioli

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