Cara Neir
Portals To A Better, Dead World LP

Hailing from Texas, Cara Neir is one of those bands that will drive grizzled old school black metal fans crazy but fans of  envyHiretsukan,  Quantice Never Crashed as well as label mates The Makai and black metal upstarts Deafheaven and So Hideous should check these guys out. Playing  a punked out form of  hardcore and  screamo tinged black metal, the melding of jangly, melodic  riffs, tremolo picked blasts and screamo vocals, while likely  to set some of edge, is actually very well done with some truly  brilliant moments littered around the LP.

And while the majority of ‘troo’ metal fans will huff and puff about the bands screamo/hardcore take on black metal, acoustic interludes melodies, shrill vocals and lack of spikes and/or Satan, I will be taking in some magnificent peaks and valleys full of blackish crescendos and reflective prose. There is some raw, intense riffs, no matter what style or post genre they fall into as well as some nice post whatever moments of reflective ambiance.  Yeah, at times it sounds like Comeback Kid or Killing the Dream playing cover songs from Ulver’s Nattens Magrigal  (not a great sell, I know), but it also rocks pretty hard, with some pretty furious melodic moments.

The album’s better moments are three of the four longer cuts (out of 7), “Red Moon Foreboding”, ‘Dust Collector”, “Exalting the Shadow Proprietor” as they seamlessly meld the aforementioned tumbling post black riffage, screamo vitriol and passion and atmospherics.  Of note amid those standout tracks, a cello introduces “Exalting the Shadow Proprietor”, but it’s not a drawn out atmospheric gimmick and bleeds into a menacing mid paced section with deeper vocals, a break from the otherwise persistent shrieks and jangly, twangy blasts, though it does end with a furious one. “3380 Pounds” is the albums most experimental track  with an awkward, angular  slower pace and unsettling female whispers and fade out violin, but it never peaks, which is a bit of a letdown considering some of the fury in the previous 6 tracks.

That all being  said, and closing track aside, generally,  this isn’t  post black metal a la  Agalloch,  Castevet, but a more raw , unhinged and tangibly hardcore/screamo tinged take, especially vocally. Even with a few acoustic/atmospheric segues, especially in the numbers previously mentioned, there isn’t as much eloquence or elegance as Deafheaven, though residing in the same ball park (see “Peridot”, “Forlorn Love”), and not as beefy as Celeste, as Cara Neir has a more antagonistic, brittle, primal hue, with a more raw delivery.

As with all Halo of Flies releases, this thing is gorgeously adorned and put together and comes with a digital download code for you digital kids out there, but hearing each not crackle with the disdain of ‘real’ black metal fans is the way to go here.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
January 22nd, 2014

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