Jahoomha - Kármán Line (EP) (2015)

Sometimes describing a band or their sound is a tricky endeavor; you can try to narrow down their influences, their intentions, and slap a label on it. But there are instances where it's best to let them say it themselves. Jahoomha, a psychedelic fueled, stoner metal band from Stockholm, Sweden, have a simple formula for tagging their sound. "Tool, Pink Floyd and Kyuss had a baby monster. They named it Jahoomha." Regardless of how accurate a description it may be, your attention has been peaked. Over the course of their most recent EP, there are surely common threads to be found between the parents and the child, but this isn't a messy hybrid of styles, left cooling on the bed sheets after the deed has been done. If the DNA results have come back to prove the paternity chain listed, this may be the blond child to brown haired parents. Kármán Line isn't a sum of it's influences, but a monster all its own.

If you fail to get lost in the swirling riffs the album has to offer, it would be for a single reason. The vocals, for better or worse, fail to match the intensity and urgency put forth by the music itself. That being said, there is a certain amount of appeal to the Layne Staley-esque crooning that permeates the album, that raspy howl that almost feels as if it is coming from the other side. In particular, Submission brings to mind Seattle grunge, but with a more refined sound. The instrumental is boundless, but moreso when there is no vocal layer squishing it down in the mix. The melody is expansive, but also contains the punch that that could raise your eyebrow in approval. But this isn't a choice between good or bad. Jahoomha employ a "good, better, best" model over the course of all four tracks. They're good when accompanied by vocals, better when the lyrics are absent, and best when the shackles come off in extended jam periods. By that logic alone, it's no surprise that Breathing Mankind Beyond Death, standing at a robust ten minutes long, feels the most complete and structurally solid. Once you reach the seven minute mark, you're hearing a band at their level best.

If you expected a Pink Floyd album, fronted by Maynard Keenan, with some fuzzy guitars, this isn't exactly the bouncing baby boy you'd been led to believe. But whether this band is the adopted child of the three parental units named, or a chromosomal anomaly of a drunken night out, Jahoomha is making out just fine. This isn't going to be groundbreaking material, nor will it change your world view. But Kármán Line succeeds at being exactly what it is: a stoner rock album that walks safely along the well tread road. It doesn't veer off to one side, or stop to do standing backflips. It stays the course in the best possible way, and gives you some memorable grooves in the process. If you can live with the notion that not every doctor's son grows up to be a doctor, then you can surely accept that this spawn of Pink Floyd, Tool and Kyuss is doing something other than copy cat their way through life.

8/10

Bandcamp - https://jahoomha.bandcamp.com/

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/Jahoomha