The Cara Neir/Venowl split is quite intriguing. The two bands have worked together before, and both bands have released a few splits in their time. This latest split, called simply Cara Neir/Venowl, shows the pair coming together to release a total of four new songs. The bands have some similarities, but they ultimately take a different approach to their music styles. As such, I will focus on each side of the split individually.
Cara Neir are a Dallas, Texas-based experimental black metal band. Formed in 2008, the duo has released three prior full-lengths and a handful of EP’s and splits. Cara Neir focus more on the black metal side of the coin for this split, but are unafraid to show some of their more experimental ideas.
The first and the third tracks are more fast-paced, with shrieked vocals, rapid guitars and drumming. The second track, “Nights…,” however, is a welcome view into the band’s more melodic side. The track is void of any real metal, with simple melody and whispered vocals. The track could easily be seen as part of the ‘blackgaze’ or shoegaze style that has become more prevalent lately in the metal world, and while not exactly sounding like Alcest or the like, that comparison, during certain moments, isn’t too far off.
The real highlight of this side of the split comes in the form of the band’s final, and longest contribution, “Pitiful Human Bindings.” As mentioned before, the track picks up the pace and gets us back into the metal side of things, resulting in a far more encompassing version of the band’s sound. It’s fast, loud and angry, but at times there is a good sense of melody. While not in the same vein as the prior track, “Bindings“ does bring in some keys which add a nice layer of melody to the track to take the sound to another level for this split, easily making the band’s most complete sounding track.
Sadly, There are no linkable tracks from this part of the split to place into the review, but if you are interested, the band has a link on their Facebook page to listen to “Pitiful Human Bindings“: https://www.facebook.com/caraneir
Venowl are a three-piece band from Illinois that play a very raw and heavy form of doom and noise. Formed in 2009, the band have also released a handful of splits and a few EPs and full-length records. Making up the longest part of the split, Venowl have unleashed the 21-plus minute “Scour (Parts I and II)“. The band plays a style of doom that is very raw (recorded usually live in studio in one take) with very little to no overdubs. Further, from what I have read, the band records their songs largely improvised in the studio, with only a few parts here and there thought out ahead of time. This is an interesting and, at times, hit and miss way to go about recording.
The track itself reminds me of the doom band Hell, in that the music is slow, with shrieked vocals, and slow, plodding drumming, while also being completely entrancing. The vocals sound genuine in their despair, and it appears there are no actual lyrics, just agonized screams. The guitars are fuzzy and deep, with plenty of feedback and static adding a real effective noise element to the track. Despite being 21-plus minutes, the track does seem to go by very quickly. Due to being largely improvised, the song does have some lulls throughout, but it usually picks up quickly enough and draws the listener back into the atmosphere. I would find myself feeling like maybe five minutes had passed, and then realize the track was over half over, which is a great compliment to the band.
However, there is not much variety to the track. Despite being labeled as two parts, the track is really the same throughout, which I can see being a downside to some, but the music is interesting and enticing enough that I feel it works and makes for a great listen. There isn’t much else to really say about the track, as it is mostly the same thing throughout, but it is worth a listen or two. Raw, heavy, filthy and engrossing, Venowl have made “Scour“ the highlight of the split, and really shine. Hopefully the band will be releasing a new full-length sooner than later, as their last few releases have been splits as well.