Oct 172022

(Today we present an extensive article by Rob Tamplin that’s part interview with Garry Brents of Cara Neir and Gonemage, and part essay on the fantasy worlds that have taken shape through those projects and the techniques used to bring them to life, along with some meditations on the pluses and minuses of nostalgia.)

If I was reluctant to say Cara Neir is the most exciting band in the US metal underground, it’s only because that would mean putting them in a box. Hell, even the word “band” seems like a loose fit, as there is a communal element to the Texas duo absent from most acts.

On Phantasmal, Garry Brents and Chris Francis’s eighth album together, Cara Neir debut five characters submitted by fans via their Bandcamp page. Over the course of the album, the duo encounters these characters on their quest through a horrifying alternate dimension.

See, Phantasmal is a concept album – just like Tommy or Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds. Although it’s about as far from a pompous rock opera as it’s possible to get. The music, which broadly ranges from noise-rock to electronic powerviolence, is glazed with a frosting of rudimentary 8-bit synths, the kind you last heard when you were playing Castlevania at the arcade in your matching acid-wash denim two-piece, cramming the Dungeon Master’s Guide while blasting Master of Puppets on your Walkman. Which could have been today. It’s 2022, you could be doing some, or all, of those things while reading this. Continue reading »

Oct 022014


On October 14, Broken Limbs Recordings is going to release a limited edition cassette split by the Dallas-based band Cara Neir and the hell-based band Venowl. At the risk of traumatizing frail psyches, we’re premiering Venowl’s track, “Scour (Parts I and II)”. And we’re accompanying the premiere with the first-ever interview of this mysterious entity.

“Scour” should be approached with care, or carelessly, depending on how risk-averse you are. At 21 minutes, it’s longer than many EPs and as long as what some bands call an “album”. It lasts as long as Venowl needed it to last. Like all their music, it’s improvisational, almost all of it recorded live in the studio this past July. “Harsh” doesn’t begin to describe it. It’s like a symphony of pain.

The pacing of the song ranges from slow to glacial. The ponderous drum hits and occasional cymbal crashes become the only life preservers you can hang onto as the tide pulls you out into this bottomless black sea — a sea of howling dissonant noise, raw, distorted chords, and nails-on-the-chalkboard feedback. Huge, groaning sounds give way to grinding riffs that generate a squall of brutal, abrasive cacophony and long spaces filled with the reverb-death-rattle of titanic notes.

It’s inexorable doom, an abyss of hopelessness, a miasma of death. The only sign of humanity that rears its head are barely human shrieks and distraught yells that emanate from what must be a very deep pit of emotional despair. Continue reading »

Oct 082013

Ævangelist album art by Andrzej Masianis

“Music has charms to soothe a savage breast,” or so wrote William Congreve (not William Shakespeare) in his play The Mourning Bride (1697). This is in fact true of some music, but what charms your humble editor is music that’s savage rather than soothing. I have four recent examples of metal savagery for you, in the order in which I heard them this morning.


The new album by ÆvangelistOmen Ex Simulacra, will be released on November 29 by Debemur Morti. This is a later date than first reported. Based on the band’s previous output and the first two songs released for this album, it will be worth the wait. In July, we featured the first of those two advance tracks (“Abysscape”), and today Debemur Morti began streaming a second one — “Relinquished Destiny”.

This song takes no prisoners. It shoots the wounded in the head and then rips the corpses into small pieces before consuming them. It delivers an atmosphere of alien horror, and the corrosive distortion can’t disguise the experimental-sounding nature of the riffing and drum progressions, which make the song interesting as well as frightening. As icing on this maggot-ridden cake, death/doom descends at the finale. Continue reading »