Released by Frontiers Records – 2009
Review Added October 19, 2009
1. Deal With The Devil**
2. Stone Cold Killer**
3. Big World Away**
4. Come A Little Closer
5. Pull Me Under**
7. Always Within Me**
8. Feeding Frenzy
9. After All This Time**
*Kip Winger – bass guitar, lead vocals, keyboards, acoustic guitar
*Reb Beach – lead & rhythm guitars, backing vocals
*John Roth – rhythm guitar, backing vocals
*Rod Morgenstein – drums, percussion, backing vocals
If you we’re a fan of the 80’s and grew up listening to hard rock and metal then, you should already be familiar with the name of Winger, truth be told although they are a known name in the rock world, and even with some breakthrough hits that we all know by heart, the image that was Winger got a bad reputation from some unfortunate mishaps on the very popular MTV show Beavis and Butthead often ridiculing the band. It has been often perceived and forgotten how good of musicians Kip Winger and Reb Beach are and even though they had gone on to be successful as fulltime musicians, some of us we’re still wondering after the Pull album and IV release, as to what else they had to offer to their legacy. Well in fact it might surprise you to know that sometimes expecting the unexpected it’s a good thing. So bring forward their 5th official studio release in Karma.
Coming at ya full steam ahead is the gear jamming of a opener “Deal With The Devil”, Kip’s mean vocals showcase this new heavy gritty approach to his singing perfectly, while the backup chorus will make you shout out loud any mishaps that you might of had earlier in the day. Keeping the same crunchy guitar vibe of the opener is “Stone Cold Killer”, again this song structure has a thrashy feel to it and Kip’s vocals sound strong as ever, while Red Beach rips a tight solo that gets straight to the point, boom here you have another bulldozer of rock energy!. Love the track “Big World Away”, some nifty super sonic vocals by Mr Winger here brings all the goodies to the front, just a different type of song and refreshing, unlike anything we have heard from Winger in the past. Leaning more towards today melodic rock formula of heaviness and a pinch of melodious perfection, we have the next standout track “Pull Me Under”, no it’s not a Dream Theater song, but yet another cool track that has extremely good shred work from Beach and Kip’s rips the chorus along with a highly enticing melody. Ready to cool down a bit? well the change of pace kicks in slowly via way of “Supernova”, this one reminds me of some of the work we heard this year from Heaven and Hell, just dark plowing bass and then another contagious chorus keeps the song pounding along without boring the listener much. The intro to “Always Within Me” will reminiscent the occasional Winger fan of the classic “Headed For a Heartbreak”, those subtle keyboards sound so familiar, but still this new modern heavier approach here sets the comparison apart, although still heavy, this might be of the few laid back songs on Karma. The bluesy kinship of “After All These Years” brings down the tone to match Kip wonderful vocals here, sounding both refreshing and inventive, makes this track a favorite upon listening on repeated spins. Any na sayers who still don’t appreciate the quality of musicianship the band proclaims should take note on this track for sure.
If Karma is any indication of the foretelling of the band’s future, then they would be glad to know that aslong as they keep making music like this, the future is safe in their hands. I was taken by surprise, was not expecting his type of record from Winger and is safe to say that this one will land atop of the hard rock category for top album this year I have no doubt. It will cement any doubts as to what Kip Winger and Co has left in the bank, the musicianship has never been an issue, in fact they had always proud themselves on making great music and they’re playing in the 80’s was never questioned. But to manage to sound refreshing and bring something new to the table and to not try to capitalize on what most fans would probably have expected, is to be commended in all levels. Go out and get it if your a hard rock fan, just a solid release, welcome back Winger!!!.
Written by Denys
Ratings Denys 8/10