If listening to "Themata" brings on a bout of nostalgia, it shouldn't be surprising. For when this album originally saw a release back in 2005 in its native home of Australia, bands like Chevelle were riding the wave of fusing Tool's prog tendencies with driving hard rock to great success. While this formula may not entirely apply to 2007, Bieler Bros. have still taken the plunge and licensed "Themata" for a North American release.
An inspired, though admittedly at times dated, rock record; there's a certain density to "Themata" that will keep some listeners coming back. Despite the occasional dip into nu-metal territory, the band's prog rock aspirations and layered instrumental approach remain strong points that put this album a notch above the bland radio rock one would expect. The pervasive forays into creative timing and Eastern musical influences don't hurt either as emotional vocals are slowly spun out overtop of large chunky riffs and a smooth rhythm section.
However, though not a fault of their own, it's not hard to feel that "Themata" is an album close to its expiry date. Musical tastes are rarely written in stone and with numerous bands having already tried their hand at this style, much of Karnivool's thunder comes off with a whimper. A solid effort for what it is, but one that also pays a bit too much homage to its influences to fully stand out, aged or not.
(3 / 5)