Cara Neir Portals to a Better, Dead World

Cara NeirPortals to a Better, Dead World
Blackened punk duo Cara Neir may have been spawned of the Texas heat, but even considering this there is a hellish, unexpected conflagration powering their third LP, Portals to a Better, Dead World. The incandescent vocals are as hissing and hostile as the steam that explodes forth when a white-hot piece of metal is plunged into cold water. All of emotive subtleties — any hint of softness — comes entirely from the guitar tone, which conveys longing, introspection, haunting anger and regret. There's vital energy and a rare kind of expressiveness in the playing that allows the vocals to be a fixed point of rage and bubbling threat — almost as though, in terms of emotional register, the instruments had switched places. The record maintains a fairly aggressive pace for most of its duration, tempering the forward momentum with shuddering freshness. Even tracks that begin gentler, like "Dust Collector," soon burst forward in a torrent of sound, as though the songs can't be contained, breaking the barriers of restraint like flood waters. (Broken Limbs)