Published on September 2nd, 2019 | by Justin G.
Karo: Heavy Birthday II & III (Pride & Joy, 2019)
Until now, I’ve always thought of Karo as one of those “one and done” bands that recorded a single album back in the day and disappeared when it didn’t break out in a big way. As it happens, the German melodic hard rockers released a good 30+ songs between 1987 and 1989, only 10 of which made it to their 1988 debut Heavy Birthday. Thanks to the Pride & Joy label, the remaining Karo material – two albums’ worth – is finally seeing the light of day as the 2-disc Heavy Birthday II & III.
If you’re not familiar with Karo, they were a melodic hard rock band out of Germany built around the keyboard talents of Karo Straub. The band may have been formed by a keyboardist, but Karo was very much a guitar-oriented hard rock band. They had a clear Scorpions influence, and sounded like a more keyboard-friendly version of MSG and Bonfire.
Heavy Birthday II & III is a nicely put-together collection. The songs all fit the general sound and theme of Heavy Birthday, though they aren’t quite at the same level of quality and the production seems a bit rougher. Still, they did a good job remastering the set, and there’s plenty of good stuff in the booklet, like full liner notes for both “albums” and an informative band essay/interview.
It’s always fun to discover that one of these overlooked melodic rock bands has a secret stash of unreleased material. If you were a fan of Karo back in the day, or like me discovered them when MTM reissued Heavy Birthday a while back, Heavy Birthday II & III is a real treat.
Summary: Heavy Birthday to you