Artist: Cara Neir
Album: Phase Out
Release Date: 02/02/2021
Country: United States
Written by James Sweetlove
Alright I’m not going to lie, I love Cara Neir and I’m not ashamed to admit that I dropped the ball completely and missed the fact that they had a new album out. I’m going to try my best to atone for my sins now by looking at their latest full-length offering Phase Out, released independently on February 2nd.
The band hail from Dallas, Texas and formed back in 2008. I would tell you that they play a blend of black metal, crust, hardcore and screamo, as that is what most of their albums are, however being the experimental and ever-changing act that they are I will now tell you that this album is a blend of punk, black metal, hardcore, chiptune, indie rock, 8-bit, lo-fi hip hop, noise rock, pixelcore and post-hardcore among a bunch of other influences. I know, that’s a lot of different genres and styles, but that’s what is going on with this release. The band is made up of two members Chris (vocals, lyrics (minus track 3), synth) and Garry (guitars, bass, drums synths, backing Vocals, 8-Bit Speech, sampling, production) who was also responsible for the logo and album layout, as well as the lead vocals and lyrics on track 3.
If you’ve listened to the band’s other albums, try to go into this with an open mind and don’t expect to hear what you’ve heard before. While some of the same core elements of the band’s sound are present this is very different to anything else they’ve put pout before. Personally, I love the change and I’m glad to see a band push boundaries this much. I say that this is a black metal album but in the loosest sense possible, while there are black metal elements at play here, this is so, sooo much more than that. This album doesn’t belong to any specific genre, this album is an amalgamation in equal parts of vastly different influences.
Firstly, I want to talk about the chiptune elements, it’s a style of music that I am familiar with, however I haven’t heard it mixed with these particular genres before. It’s a little surreal to hear searing black metal screeches played over video game sound effects and soundtracks. Then there’s the post-hardcore/lo-fi elements which are actually a really nice addition to the overall sound of the music. They give it a sense of lightness and fit in really well with the chiptune elements. The clean vocals used on the album fall under this style and in my opinion are well suited to the overall sound of the album. The noise rock elements add a bit of interesting diversity to the song structures and bring some additional variation to the guitar tone employed on the album.
Then there’s the black metal and hardcore elements on the album which seem to feed off of each other’s energy on this release. The vocals are still raw as hell, shrieked and distorted as with the band’s previous releases. They bring the edge to the album and balance the whole thing out. The black metal guitar tone and techniques are present at points throughout the album, but only make up a portion of the overall guitar on the release. The hardcore elements present themself throughout the album, giving it additional harshness and energy. Lastly, I need to talk about the fact that there are elements of lo-fi hip hop on the album, with track 7 Phasers Set to Relax being an entirely hip hop and experimental electronic based track.
So, if you’re ready for things to get pretty weird (in the best way possible) then dive on into this album. I guarantee at the very least that you won’t be bored. As someone who has loved basically everything this band has put out, I have to say that this is definitely one of their best albums, not just because of how unique it is, but also because the music is just masterfully written and performed. So, what are you waiting for, hurry up and listen to and order it now!
Listen to and order the album below: