One of the hardest things I'm tasked to do when reviewing bands is to look past the individual history of the members when a new project pops up. Many times, you really can't help but to think about a guy's past work in another band. That's especially true when the guy is the singer. MuckRaker is one of those bands for me. Vocalist Will Price's previous band, Boiler, was not only one of those underground bands that I caught and love to this day, but comes with a sentimental amount of favoritism from me as well as they were the first national band I ever booked to play a show. So I do have a connection, which I will say is one of the main reasons I would have ever even listened to MuckRaker. But, if I'm going to keep my integrity as a writer, I have to look past that and judge this project on it's own merits and not against Price's past.
Doing just that, MuckRaker has so little to compare to Boiler that it's not a hard transition. Aside from Price singing, there's really no comparison. MuckRaker is much more of a stonerish sounding metal band, but with hypercharged left-leaning political lyrics designed to send their "truths" out to anyone that might be listening. As an independent with some rightsided ideas on the world, I agree with almost nothing MuckRaker are saying lyrically, but that doesn't stop the release from being appealing as a listen, and thought provoking if you want more. Songs like "The Brotherhood Of Man" showcase an ugly picture of the warmongering right winged agenda, and yet does so with a thick, bombastic lurch that would make Black Sabbath proud to claim their influence from the song. That influence comes a great deal from guitarist Ray Milligan. While not an overwhelming player on any of these songs, Milligan seems to have the "demon's chord" down solid throughout. His guitars drive songs like "Warlord" with their thick, somewhat fuzzy but mostly strong sound. Milligan is met nicely by the thick rhythm section of Price on bass and drummer Batz Capo. More than a lot of bands, Price's bass is a mainline instrument that drives the direction of a lot of these songs. Capo seems to be following Price closely, jumping out only occasionally to accentuate some of the more nasty basslines on songs like the fiery "Red Vulture".
As for the vocals, Price is a true pro. He's not the greatest singer you will ever hear, but he's got a memorable rage that he brings forth on songs like "All Hail Mary" and the aforementioned "Red Vulture". Simply, it works throughout the entire release.
PITRIFF RATING - 87/100 - There are bands out there that make "metal", and really don't fall into any of the sub-categories too easily. MuckRaker is one of them. I'll classify them as "stoner metal" only because of the heavy Sabbath-like guitar tone, but ultimately you won't be reminded of "Into The Void" or "Paranoid" by listening. In fact, you really won't hear any dominant sub-genre reach out and claim this band. That said, KARMAGEDDON is strong on it's own merits. This is definitely worth picking up.