Chasing Karma


(Self-released digipack CD)

MARK: 85/100


Are they trying to catch or send Karma away? The monicker is intentionally ambigous and that's why it was chosen. The artwork is also unusual and displays the focus on the European continent, also showing characters hailing from there who didn't have an easy path in their lives due to historical constrictions (Galileo), tricky behaviours (Rasputin), or had it easy but radically changed the world by making it modern thanks to their bright minds and visions (Newton, Einstein). At the same time the patriotic words in the conclusive "Fight for Me" might sound haughty to someone living out of the USA, and contradict the artwork, but hey humans are complicated and they like to leave some mystery around them. What's sure is that the musicians involved in this record are what lay in Biloxi's last line-up, and they've self-released this digipack CD with 14 brand-new tracks recorded in their own studio. Probably the grainy mid-budget production is the only fault perceivable within the whole package, since here and there you happen to feel you wish the vocals sounded a bit better, and then you notice the bass is a bit hidden when it's not alone, while it appears that the utmost care was paid to the guitar sounds, practically perfect lead, rhythm or solo-wise (just take the Malmsteenian "Your Fallen" for instance).
The recipe has been refined even more, showcasing catchy refrains, cutting or crushing riffs, acrobatic guitar solos with an original twist. Mark A. Lanoue still can boast a vast enviable vocal extension, you can find scores of memorable riffs, and besides some Hard rock tunes, there're more unexpected approaches: a typical example is "Embrace Tomorrow", a song including unorthodox elements such as Modern metal and Punk rock as well, and much much more, whereas the opener "Destiny" is an excellent example of pure Prog metal enriched by amazing lyrics inciting to never give up your dreams. Way more important is the fact that the combo have put together 14 tracks without repeating riffs or tunes already used in a previous track of the same album, showing great inspiration, capability of interpreting feelings that differ a lot, ability in astonishing the listener second by second, along with top-notch arranging: that's what makes "Tell Me" much more than a simple ballad: it's not so sweet, not foreseeable after the first minute, the guitars and the vocals are as magic as Jane's Addiction's best songs; furthermore, the orchestral input added by the angelic and pompous keyboards takes my breath away; you immediately realize there's an abyss between this band and one that started 4 or 5 years ago, yet, unlike Jane's Addiction, the Massachussetts quintet has never reaped as much as it sowed, and god damn it! That's so unfair, but that's the way the mop flops! Believe me, not everyone is able to conceive, play and render a song such as "Say Goodbye" this way; the explanation is simple: it sounds so 80s, but one never feels it obsolete or somehow in debt with time, thus it means it's gonna be a killer track even in 20 years or so to come, a sheer evergreen!
Although every member is vital to a band dealing with this genre, the two guitar players do seem to come from another planet, leaving an undeletable mark on each composition.
"Cosmocracy" has been one of the surprises of 2011 for those who don't know Biloxi, but the people who followed the US Hard rock scene of the last years can't be surprised for sure. Yet, one might expect a physiological decrease in the quality, maybe some fillers, a few repetitions of past successes presented as pseudo-trademarks one can't do without to hide a lack of imagination and fresh ideas; here come the five musicians to give us the denial of facts.
If there's one band nowadays that confirms the healthy state of Hard rock within an asphyxiated market where sales decrease proportionally to the coherent increasing number of releases, that one is Chasing Karma. Your shares may drop dramatically, more and more people are losing their jobs or houses aware they're never gonna have new ones anymore, society's cinism, hypocrisy and selfishness shatter all hopes to live in the same world we knew when we were kids, but at least we know we can always count on acts like the one led by Rob and Mark. They're an anchor to hang on, an oasis to when the world shows its ugly face, and we know we can derive endless positive energies every time we need it by just randomly playing any of their songs. Thank you for existing and sharing your talents with us!

MARKUS GANZHERRLICH - 20th September 2011

Current line-up:
Mark Allen Lanoue - lead v., g.
Rob Gronkoski - d., v.
e Cooley - b., v.
James Gillies - b., v.
Dave Melton - g.

13131 Hwy 603 Suite 203, Bay St. Louis, Ms 39520 - USA
Official sites:

Cosmocracy (Full length - 2011)