DEATH KARMA – The History of Death & Burial Rituals Part One (Iron Bonehead)

Death Karma released an EP in 2013 titled A Life Not Worth Living which gained a lot of attention the underground metal media.  Due to the amount of music being released these days, it’s impossible to keep up with it all and I completely missed the boat.  I tracked it down, listened, and immediately dove into their debut full-length The History of Death & Burial Rituals Part I.

As suggested by its title, The History of Death & Burial Rituals Part I displays the duos (members of the brilliant Cult of Fire) ambition to not only write catchy black/death/thrash metal, but to explore an interesting subject matter.

I’ll admit that anytime I hear a band contains ‘members of’, I’m a little leery.  While Cult of Fire is more experimental in their approach, Death Karma tends to focus a little more on song structures, dynamics, and atmosphere.  While the production is crisp and clear, the murkiness and mood is not sacrificed. It’s an album that I have found myself going back to again and again over the last two weeks, always finding something new that catches my ear.

Vocalist/guitarist/bassist Infernal Vlad explains the concepts behind The History of Death & Burial Rituals part I: “Death is as young as humanity itself. It accompanies mankind from the very beginning, and it is an integral part of life. As the cultural differences in society have been evolving throughout the centuries, different ways of burying the deceased, as well as their worship and access to the dead, were incurring. In particular, the emergence of different religions in the world had a crucial influence on funerary rituals, historical and current, as well as on the perception of death. Many cults of death were born…

“I have always been fascinated by this topic, and that was the reason behind the conception of this work. The LP The History of Death & Burial Rituals part 1 is the first part of the musicalization of posthumous rituals and the perception of death in different cultures and countries around the world. This is my tribute to death and its great value and importance to man. In the first part of this musical book, we will deal with rituals in the following countries:

“Slovakia – ancient burial customs of superstitious and deeply religious villagers still exist in certain areas till today. 
Madagascar – dance with Death, in the name of Famadihana. 
Mexico – the most famous dead town which once lived though death. Enter the mouth of the ChichenItza well – where people were buried in blood. 
Czech Republic- ‘Umrlcí prkna’ provide a place for Death through the long and harsh winters, so the earth could accept the bodies in spring. 
India – The Towers of Silence. Here one can feel and hear death the most. 

China – Hanging coffins on high rocks so nobody disturbs the peace of the dead.”

The theme among these songs makes this a special release.  You can hear hints of each culture intertwined with the death growls and howling.  It’s almost as of the lead singer Infernal Vlad not only researched these burial rituals, but took part in them as well.

The cover art was done by D. Blomba and I’m not sure who that is exactly, but take a close look and appreciate all the nuances this painting has to offer.  References to blood, birth, and death are all here making this the complete package and a true (or trve) work of art.  Listen to the songs, stare at the cover, and let yourself be absorbed by the magnitude of this majestic package of art and music.

With songs averaging around the 6-minute mark, they never wear out their welcome and feel fresh with each repeated listen.

The LP has been released by Iron Bonehead while Necroshine will handle the CD portion of the release.  HIGHLY recommended.

Official Iron Bonehead

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