From Italy, Kharisma play a style of muted punk that has a definite eye towards the early nineties subset of punk rock. Starting out their demo disc with their theme song, “Kharisma” has compelling vocals laid down by GD, but a pretty weak electric guitar holds Kharisma back from really achieving their potential. This lack of guitar energy is endemic to the entire disc, and really is something to be addressed before getting farther along their career. The vocals laid down by GD have all of the power of Motley Crue, Fear, or even the New York Dolls, but the recording on this demo is compressed, making it sound as if it is on the radio even when one listens to it on the best systems. Finally pulling themselves for a moment out of the muck created by the first few tracks on the disc, “Arrogance” ends with a sizzling solo worthy of practically any hair-rock band of the eighties. While each of the tracks on this demo are masterfully arranged, it is during “Rubber Man” where Kharisma finally finds gold in the sense that they have a hard-rocking and catchy song, free from a lot of the repetitive guitar that oppresses this disc.
The building up of the guitar on “Rubber Man”, as well as the additional voices supplied by Guerrino and Sergio are just two of the key points why the track is in the running for the best on the disc. Heartfelt at times, recklessly rocking at others, Kharisma is a band not content by trotting out the same song over and over again. There are definite limitations to this disc that have already been mentioned, but Kharisma is capable enough to go beyond these and find greatness. In a minor nitpick, the two versions of “Jealousy” placed so close together really turn off possible listeners each though they are played differently – perhaps a better idea would have been to throw Jealousy (fast) on early, and have the superior Jealousy (slow) close out the disc.
Kharisma is not immediately able to be pigeon-holed, and actually are happy boldly blazing their own way with this demo. Intelligently mixing the best of good old rock with the quicker tempo and more audible bass of punk rock, Kharisma is able to make a brilliant, punchy type of music. Sure, there are issues with this demo, but nothing that will immediately turn off potential listeners.
Top Tracks: Jealousy (Slow)
Kharisma – Demo / 2004 GD Seventy Eight / 9 Tracks / http://www.kharisma.it / <"http://www.gd78.com">http://www.gd78.com / Reviewed 31 July 2004