December 10, 2013

Cara Neir - Portals to a Better, Dead World

Written by Matt Hinch.

Cover art by N..

If you're one of those people who like to try and pigeonhole bands into a specific genre, well, good luck doing that with Cara Neir. This Dallas duo (Chris – vocals/lyrics, Garry – instruments) empty the pantry to cook up a caustic stew with new album Portals to a Better, Dead World.

From the punk-fueled beat and tortured vocals of opener “Peridot” to the emotional saturation of closer “3,380 Pounds” Cara Neir discharge every ounce of energy in their being into 40 minutes of pure catharsis. Cara Neir pit brute force and subtlety against one another effortlessly with harried and crazed riffs giving way to melody in an endless game of tension and release.

Throughout the album one gets the feeling of opposing forces. From pressing down under the weight of rage to the baring of the soul with openness. From calm reflectiveness to unloading without mercy. From frantic and unsettled, to moments of solitude and back again, Portals feels like an album desperately trying to make sense of a world where there is no sense to be found. That inner conflict of how to deal with external forces comes out in a chaotic outpouring of emotion.

While Garry expertly blends black metal, hardcore and sludge, driven by relentless and diverse percussion, Chris's vocals leave no stone of hatred unturned. His throat shredding performance makes the listener completely believe that the world would most definitely be better off dead.

For the album's first six tracks Cara Neir pursue that rage with implacable determination, always pushing forward with volatility, soaring yet heavy riffs and an overwhelming feeling of angst, pessimism and desperation. Cara Neir lash out with a mix of emotions and a helplessness brought on by a lack of understanding of how things can be this way.

The final track however is an altogether different beast. “3,380 Pounds” has an entirely contrary atmosphere. It starts quite melancholic but shifts into doom with growled vocals, beautiful melodies with clean vocals and sludgy venom in a cyclical manner. It's funereal, syrupy, uplifting and sad, ultimately sounding like mourning and acceptance rather than denial. Ending an unstable album on such a morose note (and somewhat creepy sample) sends shivers down the spine.

Cara Neir's calculation in crafting Portals to a Better, Dead World pays huge dividends both aesthetically and emotionally. It's cataclysmically raw, terrifyingly gripping and will leave you breathless and exhausted, with that effect deepening with every listen.

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

1 comment:
  1. I have Stagnant Perceptions. They are the closest to Cobalt I've ever heard any band sound.