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Winger – Karma

Label: Frontiers
Format: CD
Released: 2009
Reviewed By: Rich Catino
Rating: 8.5/ 10


Go into reading this review, and listening to "Karma", as an intelligent adult. Winger’s catalogue can’t be measured by ‘Seventeen’ and ballads. Really I still can’t believe I have to tell people this but here it goes…take away the big hair, flashy clothes, and glossy 80s sound of their debut and follow up "In The Heart Of The Young" (even though both albums do include several great songs). Wipe the slate clean and listen to ‘Karma’ with your ears, not your eyes.

 

"Karma" is the Winger who recorded the dark horse "Pull" album in 1993 (featuring metal edged ‘Blind Revolution Mad’, ‘In My Veins’, ‘Junkyard Dog’, and ‘No Man’s Land’), reformed in 2002, and released "IV" in 06, an album with an even more mature, darker, rockin edge.

In 2009, original members singer/bassist Kip Winger, guitarist Reb Beach, and drummer Rod Morgenstein are still joined by long time (since 1993) guitarist John Roth for "Karma" which opens with no less than six rockers. Kip and co. mean business!

‘Deal With The Devil’ is a up tempo riff driven rocker ala Winger style. ‘Stone Cold Killer’ seamlessly follows strong establishing that Reb’s guitar playing probably will be the focal point for what’s to come (and boy does he let it rip for the leads and solo to ‘Stone Cold’). ‘Big World Away’ and ‘Come A Little Closer’ both are slower and moodier but still hit hard, still guitar based. One of Beach’s coolest and more aggressive riffs can be heard in ‘Pull Me Under’.

‘Supernova’ is one of my favorites, bass opens the arrangement capturing all the elements of Winger and bringing the name Alice In Chains to mind; great vocal melodies, accenting guitar leads, a solid bass and drum beat, and a chorus that is easily remembered. Well done, boys!

Sandwiched between the expected ballads (three in total with the bluesy ‘After All This Time’ featuring John Roth on leads) is one more rocker ‘Feeding Frenzy’. The ballads are acceptable but not as good as ‘Headed For A Heartbreak’ or ‘Miles Away’.

Take off two of the three ballads it’s a 10/ 10.

 
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