KrashKarma – Falling To Pieces (Album Review)

What makes a Hard Rock or Heavy Metal band stand out from the masses? For one, thinking outside the box is never a bad idea. Along that same path, having a strong musical bond as well as personal bond always shows through like a shining star. Finally, being unique in some way is definitely a winning trait, and it is quite difficult to pull that off with how much has “already been done” these days. The German/US Hard Rock/Heavy Metal duo KrashKarma is certainly one to fit into all of the above. The perfect match, Niki Skistimas and Ralf Dietel are at it again with their sixth studio album Falling To Pieces out on Friday, June 23, 2023 via Rockshots Records.

With just two members (live and in the studio), creating a full band sound could be a challenge. However, KrashKarma makes this seem effortless. Nikki Skistimas commands the drums as a hard hitter while taking on lead vocals. That in mind, anyone who has tried to make those two tasks work simultaneously knows how incredibly difficult it is. While this inspirational combination is going on, Ralf Dietel plays a very specially created instrument he calls Ms. Frankenstein; which is a guitar and bass that can be played simultaneously. Then he goes into the death growl mode with some harmonizing with Skistimas’ vocals. Now that the scene is set for how this band uniquely works, it is time to get into the special qualities of Falling To Pieces.

Their sixth album, including twelve songs, each track seems to represent a different moment in time, perhaps in which there was a hardship or challenge to overcome. Additionally, this is a surprisingly heavier album than longtime fans of KrashKarma are used to; but this approach with its execution overall boasts success. Starting off with the title-track, it exemplifies the vibe of the album pretty well. It has a Metalcore/Deathcore vibe, but it also pulls into it the signature style vocals, and guitar riffs that makes Krashkarma special.

The second track, “15 Minutes Of Pain,” has such a great dynamic of crisscrossing vocals, as well as in the drumming with guitar riff exchange between Skistimas and Dietel. It has elemental structures that happen in bands such as Lacuna Coil with their dueling vocals, as well as In Flames, with its heavy guitar projection… but it is very unmistakably KrashKarma. This track is easily a favorite, and would be an excellent time to hear in a live setting.

Later on, the heavy fast energy in the song “Tap Dancing Through Minefields” is certainly entertaining, and the clean, high octaves mixed with a few bursts of harsh, deeper vocals by Skistimas alone is quite impressive. Furthermore, Dietel maintains his heaviness throughout, and it’s once again an exchange that really works well for them. Then over halfway through the album are two short, but super fun songs. This section starts with the thrashing death track “Shut Up,” before the more softly emotional track “Fireball.” Moving towards the end of the album is the intriguing song title “mONSTERS eXIT tHE hOPELESS,” which seems to explore something deep within the soul. It is here Dietel really shows his vocal range in this tune, and it gets over layered with Skistimas powerful serenity.

Overall Falling To Pieces is jam packed with surprises, and represents a stellar collaboration in both song structure and vocal exchanges. KrashKarma quite literally never misses a beat! Therefore, Cryptic Rock gives this special duo’s newest achievement 5 out of 5 stars. 

KrashKarma – Falling To Pieces / Rockshot Records (2023)

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