Band: Hot Karate
Band Website: www.hotkaratemusic.com
Label: Independent Release
Release Date: 2013
As the restrictions on musical style become less and less pronounced, combined with the ever expanding pallet of musical reference points, we are seeing more and more interesting groups creating some really interesting musical combinations. Groups such as Los Angeles based Hot Karate. The outgrowth of a casual jam session in 2010 the band is made up of Rob Krauss (guitar); Cyrus Ghahremani (bass, vocals) and Adam Subhas (drums). The band freely admits that technically they are not a prog band per-se and yet they offer up everything an Alt-Prog band could and should be.
Finger Food is the band’s third release in just three years so the musical force is quite strong with these guys. If I was to set the tone with some musical reference points I’d say there’s a healthy part Rush mixed with Led Zeppelin and then a dash of Muse. Some of this “finger pointing” is as a result of the trio format, but it’s some of the vocals and rhythmic foundations where the Zeppelin notes shine through. The musical stance is aggressive and as their bio says, “in your face” and yet there are more than a few bluesy, moody segments that bridge the louder aspects of the music. For example track four, “Bolillos” [4:26] which starts with almost a subdued waltz-like bass line which then slides into the louder guitar riffs repeated in arpeggio fashion and then the vocals enter. The song is strangely subdued and yet bursting with energy. It’s yet one more of those Zeppelin reference points for me. And I’m not even going to mention the little circus motif that comes into play just before the song’s end. Each of these compositions, whether it’s the long opener “Supermoon” [8:07] or the shorter “Japan” [1:42] contains odd little musical vignettes, changes in musical direction or the mixing of peculiar musical reference points. It’s really everything progressive rock is supposed to be, here played in a very modern, up-tempo alternative fashion.
The music of Hot Karate is likely not for everyone. Some will simply see it as modern rock which I think is a bit short-sighted. The stylistic approach of the music on Finger Food contains many proggy and Art-Rock embellishments, enough to satisfy many other fans of prog with open-ears ready to listen. As I said about other modern-sounding bands like We Are The City of Abigail’s Ghost, this is music that takes you places you didn’t expect to go and that’s some great prog in my books.