Adam Dean

Powerduism is the latest EP from a truly magnificent, relatively recent London-based duo. Rival Karma should have already been on your radar, but if they weren’t, then this album is sure to plant them right there, front and center.

Rival Karma are PJ & Martin. Troubadours, travelers, and 2 seriously talented individuals. With a clear knack for writing both heavy-handed, thrashy riffs, and sentimental, emotional music, this album ends up being a listen of varied tastes and styles, but essentially of one, solid, and concise direction. Their second EP, after A.Y.N and a successful 2019 tour that saw them travel across Europe and the West Coast (this album was birthed during this period, as a matter of fact), and it shows the band’s varied talents in droves, through its minimal, but effective short runtime.

Minds Of The Many is a characterful opener that introduces us to everything the band does awesomely. Space cowboy Rock, the ambient introduction gives way to a solid groove and a fat riff that’s grand and perfectly overdriven. The noodling is minimal, and the song is quite focused. An instrumental shift in the middle introduces a unique line played on a sweetly fuzzed-out guitar in an uncommon scale (called the Mixolydian flat six, if you wanna look it up for more goodness). This section is grand and is haunting, with a tight band arrangement, and a massive sound. The line is neatly written and will surely grab your attention. After a lengthy instrumental outro, Jesus Is From Chico comes next. The heavy riffs and the sleazy singing are characterful and memorable. The singing, in particular, is perfectly fitting, somewhere in between gritty punk gnarls, and smooth pop wails. The range too is impressive. A short drum solo upends the whole song and takes everything by storm. Deliciously placed, it stays within the context of the piece, musical, dynamic, and exquisitely placed. A show-stopping drum solo, and a wholly captivating instrumental outro. Photograph is a slow burner. With a melodic vocal melody, and sweet, heartfelt words to go along, the turnaround is the only part on the whole EP where the music gets purposefully sentimental. Never breaking character, this song is delicately orchestrated and still has a recognizable, riff-y edge. The closer, Honey!, is the heaviest, dirtiest, and funniest song on the EP. An infectious vocal hook on the chorus, a bunch of thick guitars playing swaggering riffs, and a mid-section that would stand its own ground against Muse’s heaviest moments (yes Assassin, I’m looking at you). The instrumental medley of this piece is out-of-this-world tasty. Pure Joy.   

Fantastic singing, Epic drumming, and masterful production propel this little gem, and place it easily among giants of the genre. Powerduism is an immensely enjoyable release from a band that deserves every ounce of recognition they get. Too short, I’ll be waiting for more from Rival Karma from now.