`On Fire’ pretty much covers the load for this Greek band, not to be confused with Bad Karma from the turn of the millennium. The extra D is not the firmest of statements, their music however is. The sextet delivers an album chockfull of hammering melodic rock tracks with a powerful groove and appealing melodies. The compositional creativity is limited and Badd Kharma smartly steers clear from the weary predictability using smart riff and melody interaction. It is recognizable, comfortable and still features great moment. 13 tracks that will appeal to a wide audience.
Badd Kharma’s evolution justifies this release. The band has been through many ups and downs to reach their destination and `On Fire’ proclaims their output. From the opening tones of the riff driven ,,Never Surrender” the band until the dying notes of the emotions oozing ballad ,,L.E.A.”, the band radiates an honest homage to the genre. The songs pack tremendous classic rock drive in the vein of beloved acts like Rainbow and the debuting Malmsteen-days, without impacting fresh and juicy elements. All tunes are carefully crafted and clearly developed over the course of their career. The interaction between both guitarists, Gregory Giarelis and Manolis Tsiokos, is astonishing and the duels unload with exquisite power and finesse. The riffs are memorable and powerful, the melodies are slick and recognizable. The output of their solos is fingerpicking and at times jaw dropping with towering perfection. Check out the incredible ,,Land Of The Free” that is build around a rock heavy riff and ponderous drums and bass. The melody is instantly nesting and Nikos Syrakos’ vocals are powerful and diverse. He has a loud overhaul with radiating charisma and tone adding to the joy of this album. Though not always directly appealing, his charisma is captivating. The dense keys add to the joy of the track. Of course it is all classic and thus predictable, but the way Badd Kharma deliver is simply excellent. Tracks like the Dio-ish ,,Devil In You”, the driven ,,Still Our Man” and “Rise Or Fall”, feature a reminiscent classic approach as well as a distinct melodic edge the band injects. It all simply works on `On Fire’. Even predictable lyrical content and hooks are tackled with enduring charisma making them very enjoyable. The slick chorus opening to the crawling ,,On The Edge” is just wonderful and the song flourishes with impeccable melodies and its nesting chorus over loud energetic riffs. The classic guitar underneath the verse is delicate and Nikos’ is the binding factor aside the tastefully embedded female choral vocals. When the pace shoots up and the band unloads its riff driven signature style, the songs ooze confidence and stride. Powerful drums (George Papazoglou) and slapping and plucking bass (Tasos Loannidis) provide a rock solid foundation matching any of the many classic bands from that era. The tastefully implemented keyboards only rarely take the spotlight and add the powerful layers needed. ,,Break Free” opens with an impressive melodic riff in repetitive swing before it breaks to TNT styled gracious melodies. Syrakos displays his wide range even though he needs some time to get comfortable with at times. ,,Fools Parade” is a slow mover with exquisite guitar work. Nice Yngwie reminiscent neo classical notes, adding to the song’s posture. Not overdoing it, but ensuring a nice edge. ,,Burning Heart” again goes full throttle with excellent riff and melodies fired upon us. The song is propelled by a great low-end bass riff that is dominating the song’s structure. Slick chorus with towering impact gives it face. ,,Lost In Her Eyes” opens with a Jon Lord styled short spit to be taken over by Maiden verified guitar duelling. Insanely infectious and appealing it moves forward with an intense melody, contrasting with the following ,,Still Unbroken”. Bass ploughs through and the riffs again pack intense drive.
`On Fire’ features the best ingredients at hand. Not entirely original but delivered with great drive. Badd Kharma can be added to the line of bands like Beyroth’s Voodoo Circle. Bands that bring the best of the classic rock heydays and perform with great technique and skill. Badd Kharma matches all criteria and add a distinct edge with their keen ear for melodies and little touches of AOR embedded. Though as signature as Blackmore’s Strat, this Greek band definitely packs enough panache to attract attention. Check it out!