Released on October 16, 2009 (Frontiers Records)
01. Deal With The Devil
02. Stone Cold Killer
03. Big World Away
04. Come A Little Closer
05. Pull Me Under
07. Always Within Me
08. Feeding Frenzy
09. After All This Time
11. First Ending
Kip Winger – vocals, bass and keyboards
Reb Beach – guitars and vocals
John Roth – guitars and vocals
Rod Morgenstein – drums and piano
Produced by Kip Winger.
Three years ago, Winger returned with IV, a mature sounding album that had very little in common with their previous works, and caught fans of the band somewhat off-guard. I personally didn’t mind IV, but Karma is better in every single aspect.
First off, this is probably the heaviest Winger has ever sounded. Long gone are the days of syrupy pop-rock numbers, Karma reveals a meaner and leaner Winger. Secondly, this CD has more in common with the band’s past than IV ever did, sounding like the logical follow-up to Pull – an album that many refer to as Winger‘s shining moment – although that may be up for debate now.
It will be hard for the casual listener to believe that the songs on Karma are being performed by the same guys that brought us “Seventeen” and “Madalaine”, but it’s true! Perhaps Winger did make a deal with the devil, as the opening track states, but the one that is really possessed here is Reb Beach. By listening to him shred all over Karma you’d swear he was doing it to demonstrate to David Coverdale how underutilized he is in Whitesnake. “Deal With The Devil” and “Stone Cold Killer” in particular show a side of Winger that we’ve rarely heard before. Killer tracks like “Pull Me Under”, “Supernova” (a soaring number that is arguably the best on the CD) and “Witness” do show some resemblance to the old band though, but in a completely updated version.
If the band isn’t shredding they are offering more melodic fare such as “Always Within Me”. It is these tempo changes that mix things up and keep the album flowing throughout. The only time Karma really sputters is during the long-winded “After All This Time” and the piano driven outro “Final Ending”. Aside from those two songs, this is top-notch stuff.
Winger has never rocked this hard or been this aggressive…and I have no problem stating that this is their best album EVER!
Reviewed by Skid for Sleaze Roxx, November 2009.