Artist: Carcer City
Album: Infinite // Unknown
Mankind’s inherent interest in the inexplicable has fueled many of humanity’s greatest discoveries and defined many of our biggest milestones. Lunar landings, the development of space-stations and explorations to the deepest and darkest corners of our own world are among them—all testaments to the benefits of dwelling at the crossroads comprised of curiosity and creativity; and now, UK-based progressive metalcore act Carcer City have another accomplishment to attribute to our species’ fascination with the unfathomable: Infinite//Unknown. The band’s latest and long-awaited full-length record is a sprawling fifty-some minutes of epic, energetic and engaging metal mixed with punishing, pit-inducing hardcore. An incredible obelisk of oppressive heaviness built in an ethereal shroud of entrancing atmosphere, Infinite//Unknown is a diverse and dominating display of heavy music mastery that will have everyone from prog-loving shred-a-holics to mosh-addicted breakdown enthusiasts headbanging for the better part of an hour non-stop.
From the first riff and punchy percussive attack of “Infiltrator,” Carcer City sink their claws into the listener’s ears and shake until the listener is rattled beyond the ability to cognitively function. Drummer Karl Riley is ruthless, filling every second of Infinite//Unknown with bombastic energy. “Black Mirror” sees him lacing even the more subtle and atmospheric portions of the song with ear-catching fills and pulse-pounding patterns, where more straightforward and sinister anthems like “Perceptions” are piercing and powerful displays of percussive prowess. Likewise, Riley’s kick drum and deep, explosive toms are never truly alone—as bassist Ollie Rooney slinks and grooves incessantly, accompanying every raunchy breakdown and riffy passage with expertise. “The Night Is Darkest Before the Dawn” is an excellent example, where Rooney’s bass can be clearly heard weaving around Riley’s sharp snare and splashy cymbals, serving as a stellar foundation for guitarists Lewy Hughes and Antony Moss. Hughes and Moss give Carcer City their penchant for the progressive, adding odd timing to even the more simple segments (like the climactic breakdown in “The Night is Darkest…”), and simply dropping the listener’s jaw during the anthemic title track, or the ear-catching opening number, “Infiltrator.” Hughes and Moss are a dynamic duo, adding ambiance to tracks like “Nothing But the Rain,” while still adding a sharp, slicing edge to it that allows their grooves to flood the listener’s bloodstream and take over their mind.
To speak of taking over ones mind, however, is to speak of the enchanting vocal performance Carcer City put forth on Infinite // Unknown. Frontman Patrick Pinion—assisted by Hughes—simply steals the show with an entire array of abrasive, intense screams and soothing, soaring clean vocals. Certain tracks—like the rambunctious introductory number, “Infiltrator,” see Pinion’s roars and ruthless shrieks taking center stage, while “Nothing But the Rain” and “The Dawn is Darkest…” Are more diverse displays of vocal prowess, seeing a serene singing voice serving as the medium through which Pinion and Hughes deliver their messages—which, make no mistake, are as painstakingly written and perfected as the music which serves as their vector. Pinion’s lyrics are detailed and thought-provoking, often emerging from the midst of an emotional maelstrom. “Black Mirror” is punchy and powerful, while “Nothing But the Rain” is more emotional and plays to Hughes and Pinion’s vocal interplay. The take away is that Pinion manages to scream, shout and sing throughout most of Infinite // Unknown’s sprawling run-time without getting on the listener’s nerves or coming across as monotonous.
Carcer City do a lot of good things with their latest full-length album—in fact, to list them all back to back would be exhausting to read (let alone write in detail); however their greatest accomplishment is them continuing a legacy established on Infinite // Unknown’s lengthy predecessor. The band manage to take hefty hardcore and malicious metal and blend them together with heavy handfuls of progressive and atmospheric elements—and manage to make an entire hour-long album fly by as if it were mere minutes in length. The band’s latest offering is more-or-less fifty-two minutes long, but feels like it might only be twenty-two; the band are that adept at keeping the listener engaged. Carcer City deserve special kudos for at least that—if not for crafting a powerful and poignant display of progressive metalcore that will stretch into the infinite and unknown future of the genre.
For Fans Of: Auras, Napoleon, Architects
By: Connor Welsh