Its been nearly four years since Liverpool’s Carcer City released an album (2012’s The Road Journals), but plenty has changed for the band in that time. After experiencing a serious bus crash and a line-up change, its understandable that the band would be transformed after such trials and tribulations- a change that is reflected in their latest opus, Infinite / Unknown.
When the band started to make a name for themselves in the UK metal scene back in 2012, they dealt in their own inventive brand of metalcore that they dubbed ‘Scouse-metal’. Fans of the band’s unorthodox approach to modern metal will be relieved to find that there are still traces of the bands creative riffing or swirling polyrhythms and tempo changes, such as the raging “Perceptions”, but the band have undergone a stylistic shift. The spiky edges that characterised the band has been smoothed out, and instead the five-piece rely heavily on electronic ambience and djenty riffs. The emphasis on swells of keys and synths, combined with vocalist Patrick Pinion’s melodic yet gritty singing, freshens up their sound, as found on songs such as “Black Mirror” that evokes Deftones’ quieter moments.
The band contrasts these atmospheric and ethereal elements with hard-hitting djent riffs that owe a fair amount to their contemporaries in Northlane or Architects. Thankfully they still possess the jarring, off-kilter vibes the band had mastered on previous releases, especially on the title track. However, there’s an absence of any lead guitars on Infinite / Unknown, and it certainly robs some of the songs of any additional impact that worked so well for older songs such as “Mistakes I Have To Live With”. This would have also allowed the album to have a little more variety, as the songs tend to stick rather rigidly to a formula. It’s still a formula that contains plenty of quality, but its evident that when the band throw in a curveball (such as the blast beats meets metalcore dirge of “The Night Is Darkest Just Before The Dawn”) the song is greatly enhanced for it.
Carcer City have certainly taken a gamble with Infinite / Unknown, and for the most part it has certainly paid off and rejuvenated them. Nevertheless, there is still room for improvement and I hope that the band use this album as a springboard to further their song-writing capabilities as well as their career.
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