Seven years in the making, ‘Lifeblood’ is the astonishing new album from Karl S. Williams, a record fuelled by the frustrations of a man with a fire in his belly that won’t be easily quelled.
Karl’s 2013 debut ‘Heartwood’ was a stunning album filled with wondrous beauty created by a man who was prepared to open his heart and bare his soul. If ‘Heartwood’ was an introspective journey into a man’s soul, then its follow up ‘Lifeblood’ is the exasperated outpouring of a man troubled by a world that is collapsing around him.
‘I Know There Is A Light’ opens the album with a message of hope but Karl’s frustration is already showing before the song is out as he pleads “Maybe we’ve got to fall down begging on our knees, crying please, please give me some release.”
Whatever that light may be it certainly isn’t a higher power. ‘God Is A Bomb’ is a piano-led New Orleans rocker underpinned by kicking percussion and searing guitar with Karl in a blues wail, where “someone is always buying and someone is always selling some brand of heaven.”
The dirty guitar-driven blues strut of ‘Abomination’ has Karl venting his disdain for the so-called Christians corrupted by self interest and greed, this time turning the biblical imagery on them: “hellfire and damnation, spiritual ruination, look – behold the desolation, the whole damn thing is an abomination.”
Despite the subject matter, ‘Lifeblood’ never feels like it’s brooding in the dark. The album carries an intense swagger thanks to Crick Boue and George Carpenter, who along with Karl form a three piece of multi-instrumentalists bringing a raw energy and taut urgency to these extraordinary songs.
By the time the album closes with ‘Never Let Me Go’, it’s been pared back to a slow piano waltz with strings. The song is a poignant lament that sees us metaphorically going down with the ship: “The wreck of it was all around, how senseless does the silence sound? Little pieces still run aground in places far and wide.” It’s a sobering image and a timely reminder that now, more than ever, we need to stay vigilant and never lose our passion for what we believe in, or, in Karl’s parlance, “give your life for love”.
Get it here.