Islington / The Karma Effect, Rising Stars Poised For Breakthrough Success

With MetalTalk picking up The Karma Effect once a month for four months as 2023 drew to a close, there has been a rumbling growing in our office. One certain thing is that 2024 is going to be a big year for the band. A support slot to Bad Touch at O2 Academy2 Islington on a train-affected Sunday night is probably one of the last chances to see the band in this kind of intimate setting.

The Karma Effect

O2 Academy2 Islington – 7 April 2024

Words And Photography: Steve Ritchie

2023 was a good year. The Karma Effect released their debut album, and dates with Massive Wagons followed. “We put the record out,” Henry Gottelier (lead vocals and guitar) told Paul Hutchings at last year’s Steelhouse Festival, “and we made the official charts. I remember looking, and when we went in, we went in higher than Slash.”

The Karma Effect - O2 Academy2 Islington - 7 April 2024
The Karma Effect – O2 Academy2 Islington – 7 April 2024. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk

The band signed with Earache Records in December 2023 and their sophomore album is out on 3 May 2024. MetalTalk will have more on that soon, but as a spoiler, The Karma Effect have had no problem at all with that ‘difficult second album’.

Tonight, we get the first four tracks from the new album Promised Land in an eight-song set. The band opens with the impressive new song All Night Long and then rolls into Wrong Again.

The Karma Effect - O2 Academy2 Islington - 7 April 2024
The Karma Effect – O2 Academy2 Islington – 7 April 2024. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk

Henry Gottelier (lead vocals and guitar), Robbie Blake (guitar) and Liam Quinn (bass) are all sporting silk shirts with boots with varying heights of Cuban heels. Seb Emmins (keyboards & vocals) is tucked away stage right. I would have loved to have heard more of his keys in the mix.

The Karma Effect - O2 Academy2 Islington - 7 April 2024
The Karma Effect – O2 Academy2 Islington – 7 April 2024. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk

The atmosphere is great, and the audience is on side right from the start. Doubt She’s Coming Back has a fantastic intro. This really showcases the vocals of Gottelier. The song stomps along, and the crowd are dancing.

When that riff kicks in, it’s a wow moment. There is lots of hair flying around on stage. This is a cool song live.

“We gonna play something new for you,” Gottelier says. We get Wild Honey moving into See You Again. It’s a cold English April evening which just emphasises how much better this would be in a field with some sun on your back.

The Karma Effect - O2 Academy2 Islington - 7 April 2024
The Karma Effect – O2 Academy2 Islington – 7 April 2024. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk

As the song builds to a crescendo, the vocals once again shine. Great backing vocals work really well. I burst into some “whoo’s”. Big, big cheers from the crowd greeted the ending.

The riff to Livin’ It Up gets big cheers. The opener from the new album is met with excitement. “Thank you so much for coming out on a Sunday,” Gottelier says. He throws in a great solo, throwing his hair back.

The sunglasses are back on for Steal Your Heart. The crowd have horns in the air for the chorus. Gottelier takes another solo as the band builds to a big finish. It’s a big cheer, and it seems like the entire venue has their hands and beers in the air.

The Karma Effect - O2 Academy2 Islington - 7 April 2024
The Karma Effect – O2 Academy2 Islington – 7 April 2024. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk

“We’ve had such a fantastic time on this tour,” Gottelier says. The Karma Effect finishes with Testify. Drummer Ash Powell has his camera out and the band and crowd unite in a selfie.

“You’ve got to testify,” we sing back. This was a genius finish to a genius set. It’s a fantastic riff in a fantastic song, closing a fantastic set. This is the kind of earworm that good bands have.

The Karma Effect - O2 Academy2 Islington - 7 April 2024
The Karma Effect – O2 Academy2 Islington – 7 April 2024. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk

As a band, you want people who may not have seen you before to leave a show with the last song staying fresh in their minds.

Tonight’s performance was short, sweet, and perfectly formed. It might be a template for the nine festival performances they have confirmed so far this year.

Without a doubt, The Karma Effect are going places.

The Karma Effect - O2 Academy2 Islington - 7 April 2024
The Karma Effect – O2 Academy2 Islington – 7 April 2024. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk
The Karma Effect - O2 Academy2 Islington - 7 April 2024
The Karma Effect – O2 Academy2 Islington – 7 April 2024. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk
The Karma Effect - O2 Academy2 Islington - 7 April 2024
The Karma Effect – O2 Academy2 Islington – 7 April 2024. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk

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