Cara Neir - Perpetual Despair Is The Human Condition - (8.5/10)
Published on April 4, 2017
Cara Neir are not a new entity by any means, forming nearly ten years ago, and releasing a constant stream of albums, EP’s, and splits since 2009. The band’s take on black metal is always changing, and made up of various elements to create something different with any new material being released. 2016 saw the band not only release a split with the band Wildspeaker, but also release their fourth full length, Perpetual Despair Is The Human Condition from their fairly long time label Broken Limbs Recordings. This Dallas duo combine black metal with grind and death metal in seamless fashion, but offer plenty of atmospheric and more melodic sections to impress and assault.
Perpetual Despair is an album that usually has things dialed up to 11. Whereas the music on the Wildspeaker split felt more loose at times, this new release is very tight, and the duo manage to create one hell of a strong sound. With one member focusing on all instruments, and the other on vocals, (similar to Cobalt for instance) there is plenty of time each member can dedicate to their aspect of the songs. The guitars are higher in tone, and very bright most of the time. The riffs are very audible and are well paced enough to be able to make them out and not have them change tempo or to another riff too quickly to lose any impact. The drumming is fast, and the blast beats and double bass are on display throughout most of the album. There is some definite intensity being brought in the drum work, but there seems to be a lacking bit of bass guitar making the album not quite feel as thick as it possibly could. However, the music presented over these eight tracks has enough variety and little interesting flourishes to keep everything interesting. The lead sections and melodies being played under the riffs add some nice ambience at times, and make things feel a bit off kilter at others. These little nuances are what make Cara Neir a band that never fails to impress in the creativity department.
Vocally, the album is fairly straightforward, mostly maintaining a higher pitched scream, but there are parts here and there, (most notably on the second track “Normalcy”) where the deeper death growls are present on most of the song. However, there is a bit more of a focus on the musical ability of the band in a lot of the tracks, so the vocals, while very well done and aggressive as hell, do not come across as dull in the somewhat monotone approach. As mentioned prior though, the band does have sections of more melodic segues which are usually quite beautiful, and contrast very well from the more aggressive parts. The juxtaposition of these elements never feels abrupt, but the differences in the emotions they present keep you on your feet, and showcase the human emotion and how fragile and ultimately unstructured it can be.
Perpetual Despair is a very enjoyable record from a very enjoyable band. Cara Neir have been constant in their releases, no matter if they be full-lengths or working with someone else. The band is not afraid to experiment a bit or showcase their various influences, but they are capable of doing so in a fashion that is still palatable and comes across as thoughtful and entertaining. From sheer heaviness, to emotional weight of the tracks, these two Texans never fail to bring the goods, and it’ll be very nice to se where they can go from here in the years to come.