Cara Neir – ‘Perpetual Despair Is The Human Condition’ (Album Stream)
Cara Neir have taken a turn towards the abyss. Their new record, Perpetual Despair Is The Human Condition, is a bone-dry take on black metal. On their last record, 2013's Portals To A Better, Dead World they sat at the intersection of raw bedroom black metal and post hardcore, but here the double stop octaves have been almost entirely replaced by harmonized tremolo picking. Previously Cara Neir made music that reminded you of past sadness, but now they try to make you sad in the present. As such, Perpetual Despair is a bit more emotionally obtuse than its predecessor, but by avoiding the easy route to catharsis, Garry Brents and Chris Francis have found a sound that feel less indebted to genre signifiers or tropes. Cara Neir have synthesized their influences and have begun the difficult task of building something new. Stream Perpetual Despair below, and follow along with the band's own commentary on the record.
Garry Brents: The opener of the album is filled with an existential dread and anxiety. The mindset of "is anywhere safe?" overwhelming mankind. To reiterate that despair keeps coming back, whether it's in the back of your mind intermittently or you're facing it head-on day to day.
Garry Brents: This is an expansion on our song "Antihuman Plateau" from our first release Part I/Part II. It focuses on a self-made lore about a Lovecraftian inspired alien universe that we started back then. That old song was about an alien being questioning his fellow kind about their desire to extinguish all human life, if humans are just killed for nothing. "Normalcy" brings to light a detailed aftermath of what happens to human life in this fictional universe; the normalcy is that humans do not belong.
Garry Brents: This deals heavily with war and the ugly machine that it is, more explicitly from the perspective of an infected person desperate to stay afloat in the midst of biological warfare.
Bound by Believers
Garry Brents: This is based on a true story that took place in a religious colony, of the utmost conservative kind. It involves religious leaders and men taking advantage of the women of this community by using supernatural forces and religion as a scapegoat. It's an ugly submersion of this tragic reality, but we write it in the perspective of the victims seeking vengeance.
Window to the Void
Chris Francis: Just about everybody has been to a point where they feel like they're at the end of the line and the only way out is suicide. As someone extremely dear and important to me has put it in a time where I was in dire straits, thinking about it and feeling like you've hit rock bottom, and acting on it, however, are two totally different things. Having come from both of those ends, the most important thing for you to do in these cases is to remember that you have people that care about you. You have people that love you and would be destroyed if you were no longer a part of their life. Talk to them. Confide in them. "Don't ever let yourself go."
Trials of the Lost
Chris Francis: This was our tribute to post-apocalyptic scenarios. Whether it be a zombie apocalypse, machines becoming sentient, a cosmic event such as a supernova going off within proximity of our very own Earth; we've all wondered how "it'll come to an end." This is our story.
Chris Francis: I wrote this song during the last semester of my culinary school endeavor. There was a very caring, sweet, incredibly loving soul who walked into my life shortly before and we developed a sublime relationship. They have helped me through more than I deserve. They have been unwavering and as strong as can be, even when I wasn't. I wrote this song for you.
Garry Brents: Consider this a shred of hope, only to remind us of its value.
Chapter I: Coastline Black
Chris Francis: As the good majority of our fans know by now, we absolutely love to create our own lore. This song is the beginning of a new bleak chapter that we intend to carry on the next album.
Garry Brents: To complete this with a musical anecdote: We don't necessarily aim to fit one singular approach, style-wise. We definitely wear our influences on our sleeves, whether it changes from release to release. "Bound by Believers" has this relentless Nattens Madrigal-era Ulver approach reinforced by the harrowing lyrical subject matter, whereas "Window to the Void" is a musical nod to neocrust staples in Ekkaia and Das Plague (but lyrically through a more introspective lens). Continuing with that same introspection but with a shift of the musical backdrop in "For You," we express a heavy Funeral Diner or Envy influence. "Trials of the Lost" twists things again with a heavier frantic side of hardcore in the vein of Converge but inflected with a harmonized Dissection sort of turn within the same song. We just like bringing different things to the table and maybe it's my scatter-brained nature, but this method scratches a lot of creative itches in one. It gives Chris a big palette to reinforce with his words. Whether that's palatable to the listener is certainly always subjective, but we'll keep pressing on. We appreciate those who have supported the ride thus far.