Cara Neir/Wildspeaker – Guilt and His Reflection (Review)

Cara Neir WildspeakerCara Neir are a black metal/crust/grind/whatever band from the US. They have teamed up with Wildspeaker, a blackened sludge/crust band, also from the US.

I’m a big fan of Cara Neir, so as far as I’m concerned any release of theirs is well worth giving a listen to. On this split they contribute seven songs spread over 21 minutes.

You never quite know what you’re going to be getting with a Cara Neir release, and this split is no exception. Here we’re treated to an atypical display of blackened crust/punk, with post-hardcore elements and a free-form experimental feel on occasion.

I like the ability these songs have to be atmospheric as well as harsh, and this is exemplified on a few occasions throughout this recording.

Alongside their forays into more atmospheric climes, the band also speed things up, (including blast beats), when they need to, but still retain the feeling of an unusual, non-standard take on this side of the style.

There’s an almost funky/jazzy feel in places on these tracks, which is due to not only the playing but the recording too; the band have a raw-yet-clear production on their songs, and this allows for every nuance of the performances to be heard well.

This is emotive stuff, with the punk core of the songs, the blackened influences and the high-energy instrumentation giving the impression of a band that can’t sit still, always eager to try out some new thing even while they’re playing the present new thing. In a lesser band’s hands this could come across as a mess, but in Cara Neir’s case it just lends the music a dangerous, vibrant and exciting edge.

Cara Neir’s combination of blackened punk, atmospheric experimentation, post-whatever explorations and disregard for standard musical genre-confines means that once again they set themselves apart from a lot of their peers, showing just why they’re held in such high regard by people like me.

After that, we’re on to Wildspeaker. This is my first exposure to the band, and I must say I like what I hear. In just under 19 minutes they deal out severe damage over 6 songs of nastiness, and it’s all very goooood.

So, this is raw, heavy and full of blackened fury and tar-like sludge. Listening to Wildspeaker is like having molten oil poured down your ears, and yet somehow they manage to make this a good thing.

With vocals that sound full of serrated hatred and bile, the singer has a top-notch voice and her performance is faultless.

Wildspeaker are darker, nastier and heavier than Cara Neir’s side of this split, and as such they perfectly complement their split-mate’s more atypical approach.

I think I’ll definitely be checking out their back catalogue after exposure to them on this release. Blackened sludge is soooo very good when done well; the combination of grim lethality and emotive, heavy riffs is almost unbeatable when you’re in the mood, (and frequently even when you’re not), and Wildspeaker seem to be pretty damn fine at playing the style with panache and verve.

This is a really tasty split – two top quality bands that share common ground despite having quite different takes on their music in many ways.

Essential.

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