Album Review: Kamchatka - "The Search Goes On"

Kamchatka - A 1250 kilometer volcanic peninsula in the Russian Far East located between the Bering Sea and the Sea of Okhotsk. Also, Kamchatka is the name of a blues rock trio out of Sweden. I'll let you guess which of the two I'll be discussing this week. I'll give you a hint - it's not a land mass.

Kamchatka (the band) is a power trio who style falls somewhere between blues influenced rock, hard rock and a jam band. Their influences come from a variety of 60's and 70's rock bands. Kamchatka cites influences as diverse as Devo, King Crimson, Sarah Vaughan and Ali Farka Toure (if you're not familiar, check him out). As a power trio, comparisons could be made to another 60's band, Cream.

In fact, the original lineup first got together at a Jimi Hendrix tribute concert. There have also been a lot of comparisons made between Kamchatka and Robin Trower and they are not without merit. Both of their songs have the same sort of "driven by the riff" style.

Their latest album, "The Search Goes On", is pure, guitar driven rock. The musicianship is excellent. The guitar riffs, the walking bass lines, the groovy beats from drummer Tobias Strandvik all make for a pleasant listening experience.

Our old friends from Clutch chose Kamchatka to open for them first on a bunch of European dates and then again on their American tour and I understand why. The music is good and I have no doubt it put the audience in a receptive mood for what was about to come. The sound is blues rock, something Clutch knows a bit about, but the music isn't as aggressive nor the vocals as powerful as Neil Fallon's.

The 10 tracks that make up "The Search Goes On" start off with the song "Somedays", a rocker and a great first track. It hints at the songs to come and demonstrates some of the virtuosity of the three musicians that make up Kamchatka.

If I had any influence in the matter, my choice for their first single would be "Coast to Coast", a song that keeps the rock a rockin' with a funky guitar riff, excellent harmonies and, of course, more cowbell. This competes with "Tango Decadence", a hard rock track complete with handclaps and a simple beat that cuts to the chase, for best song on the album.

And for all you bass lovers out there, the song "Pressure" is worth a listen if only for the superior bass work of Mr. Per Wiberg, who also designed the album cover.

"The Search Goes On" is not all toe-tapping rock. The song "Broken Man", as the title indicates, is a slower number. I don't know if they were also an influence but I heard a similarity to Queens of the Stone Age on this and a couple other songs, mostly in vocal intensity and style.

"Dragons" is a track that sounds like it came straight outta 1974. And that's a good thing. A medium tempo, blues rock ditty with some of the most powerful vocals on the album. Lots of acapella singing which gives it a Zeppelin-esque feel.

We round out the record with the title track "The Search Goes On" which features some prog rock elements from guitarist/ vocalist Thomas "Juneor" Andersson but is still a straight forward rock number.

"The Search Goes On" is a solid album and, overall, a pleasant listening experience. The songs do have a jam-band quality to them but they're mostly in the three to five minute range instead of going on for 20 minutes. Like most jam bands, though, the material seems better suited for a live venue. The record is only there to remind you of how awesome they were the last time you saw them in concert. They're playing March 1st at Hot Jazzclub in Muenster, Germany so, if you have the chance, check out the show. It's probably safer than visiting a Russian volcano.

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