The Bipolar Disorder Project / Karmic Thread - Unshipped Packages [Split] review


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Band: The Bipolar Disorder Project / Karmic Thread
Album: Unshipped Packages [Split]
Release date: October 2018

01. Karmic Thread - Merchant War
02. The Bipolar Disorder Project - Talk To Me
03. Karmic Thread - Cancer Of The Earth
04. The Bipolar Disorder Project - Break The Glass
05. Karmic Thread - Trapped In An Elevator
06. The Bipolar Disorder Project - Good Intentions
07. Karmic Thread - Patron Saint
08. The Bipolar Disorder Project - Going Out With Style
09. Karmic Thread - Package Shipped
10. The Bipolar Disorder Project - He Pays, He Sings
11. Karmic Thread - There Will Come Soft Rains
12. The Bipolar Disorder Project - A King

This is not a collaboration album, since the tracks were performed (with a few exceptions) separately by each band, but it's not really a split either, since there isn't a Karmic Thread side and a The Bipolar Disorder Project side; instead it alternates constantly between songs of the two. It's also over an hour in length. What is this?

OK, first things first. You probably have no idea who these two folks are, unless you are Romanian or extremely underground; kudos to you for the latter and I'm sorry for your loss for the former. Both of these are one-man projects of people who are more "famous" for their work in other bands. Vlad Enescu of Karmic Thread you may know as bassist of progressive band Axial Lead and guitarist of ironic post-rock band Am Fost La Munte Și Mi-a Plăcut. Robert Cotoros of The Bipolar Disorder Project is also guitarist in avant-garde metal band Hteththemeth. He also released a full-length earlier this year, Anna, that had been in the works for more than 6 years. Now that I'm finished with the name-dropping of stuff you're not familiar with and you don't care about, we can start talking about the music.

Supposedly the reason this album is called Unshipped Packages is because that's what the songs are: songs that didn't fit on either of the bands' previous releases or on any future one. This wouldn't be that hard to imagine for The Bipolar Disorder Project, who only released one album that was a concept album and many songs wouldn't have fit on that, but for a bedroom Bandcamp instrumental guitar prog band like Karmic Thread, that's a bit more ambiguous. But Unshipped Packages has a bit of a concept of its own, mostly inspired by the cover art, of the seven sins and seven virtues. Which song is talking about which - that's up to you to speculate.

The two bands are fairly different, one being a more expansive and slightly avant-garde band, and one being a modern guitar-driven instrumental prog project. But for some reason, they really blend well on this album. Sure, it may sound a bit disjointed, since you can usually clearly tell which song belongs to which band, but you'll find the songs were written in such a way that sometimes borders between the two are slightly, slightly blurred. You have stuff like Cotoros' vocals on the remake of Karmic Thread's Cancer Of The Earth or some djenty riffs on "Good Intentions". But for the most part, they're separate. While I like Karmic Thread's stuff, I can't deny that The Bipolar Disorder Project's stuff is a lot more interesting, with it delving into trip-hop, trap (you'll find both the triplet flow and a bit of a jazzy trip-hop moment in "Good Intentions"), synthwave-ish ("Talk To Me"), and jazz fusion (the saxophone in "Going Out With Style").

For a self-released, self-produced, and name-your-price Bandcamp project, this is incredibly high-quality music. Both bands found ways to reinvent themselves and push each other creatively. Diverse, fun, and full of passion.


Written on 01.12.2018 by My opinion is objective, sorry if you don't agree, but you're wrong.

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