At this point in time, it’s a genuine pleasure to be a fan of Cara Neir. Watching them develop their style over the years has been a joy, not only because they are consistently great but also unpredictable. Each successive record shows the Texan duo unfurl more of their influences, whether it be the black metal/screamo of Stagnant Perceptions or the hybrid of hardcore and grind their Sublimation Therapy EP comprised of. Last year’s triumphant full-length, Portals To A Better, Dead World, saw the band gaining more traction in the underground, and so far in 2014 they’ve done an excellent job of stoking those coals and spreading their name like wildfire. Their newest EP, The Overwatch, is a short but sweet release that will satisfy the appetite for those still hungering for more Cara Neir.
A culmination of everything these two have done in the past few years, The Overwatch features the brevity and aggression of Sublimation Therapy working in tandem with what is another cohesive fusion of black metal and hardcore. Opening track, “Glorious Genocide,” is deadly as the name suggests; in a dizzying display of guitar histrionics, Gary Brents unleashes waves of jumbled, grinding dissonance, supplemented by brief flurries of corpse-painted tremolo riffage. While the styles vary wildly, they are wrangled into order by Chris Francis’ repetoire of acidic rasps, monstrous howls, and guttural roars. His vocal agility cannot be overstated and is an essential element of Cara Neir’s multifaceted delivery, acting as much a transitional tool as any musical interlude.
Though unquestionably one of the their more furious releases, The Overwatch does feature its fair share of melody, stemming directly from the pair’s screamo roots. The instrumental “Seplchur Patterns” delves into swathes of jangling guitar lines and post-rock builds, while Departure Point: Eta Carinae explores spacey drones before crushing you under of the weight of monolithic percussion and sludge-y brutality. Cara Neir has always been an act that’s balanced the catharsis of screamo outbursts with the premeditated violence of metal’s more visceral sub-genres, a dichotomy that has proved immensely enjoyable time and again.
As “Into The Black Mesa” fades into its dying moments, one can’t help but wonder if Cara Neir will ever do any wrong. Holding a band in such lofty regards can be the downfall of many a fan, but during their short career, Gary Brents and Chris Francis have failed to create a product any less than exceptional, and The Overwatch is no exception. The ability to continually keep a fanbase on its toes is a gift few heavy metal bands are able to give, but in drawing inspiration from music’s infinite spectrum, Cara Neir always impart the perfect present.
- Glorious Genocide
- Sepulcher Patterns (Instrumental)
- Combine Desecration
- Tales of Lust and Pain
- Departure Point: Eta Carinae
- Dendrite Stink
- Into Black Mesa