Sunday, November 03, 2013

Cara Neir: Portals to a Better, Dead World (2013)


Cara Neir tend to give people a lot of trouble in describing their genre. A lot of comparisons get thrown around. Crust punk. Neurosis. Post-metal. Hardcore. Death metal. Deafheaven. Screamo. I don’t know what the fuck screamo is. I literally have no idea, and I can’t be bothered to find out at the moment.

I think the best you can do is to just call them San Francisco black metal (even though they’re from Dallas). They would best share a stage with the likes of Palace of Worms or any number of bands on Flenser. In other words, I’m putting them in the company of some of the most vital and dynamic artists of today’s black metal. Yes, that means Pitchfork may notice them (maybe they already have), but if you’re still hung up on that, you can always fall back on Norway.

They resemble the Oakland black metal/crust/doom band Embers in a lot of ways. (If that doesn’t mean a whole lot to you, then you’re missing out on something great.) Their guitar tone is reminiscent of Dornenreich. But Cara Neir are wholly their own beast. The record begins with relatively simple, punk-inflected black metal and hardcore drumming, but the music becomes more expansive and more adventurous as it runs on. “Red Moon Foreboding” zigs Kvelertak before it zags Nachtmystium. By the end they’re encompassing some of the best Swedish prog metal (“Exalting the Shadow Proprietor” evokes Shining and even Opeth). Album closer “3,380 Pounds” blends the most delicate touches of post-black metal with full-on death/doom and a pinch of Enslaved.

Look, if you want 90's Darkthrone, listen to 90's Darkthrone. You don’t need somebody else to do it. This kind of thing is the reason black metal still matters.

The Verdict: 4 out of 5 stars

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