Sound — 8
Boston MA's The Carrier have been five very busy indeed over the two years they've currently been a band. After releasing their self titled demo on Words of War Records in 06 and their fantastic debut album "One Year Later" in 07 as well as extensive touring of the United States, they're back in 08 on Deathwish Inc (Blacklisted, Killing the Dream, Trap Them) with this three track EP entitled "No Love Can Save Me". The Carrier are not your typical hardcore band. Mixing the melodic intricacies of bands such as Shai Hulud with the ferocity of Modern Life Is War (as is most noticable with the fairly familiar vocal stylings) and even throwing in some post-rock influences into the mix as seen in opening track "No. 51". This track builds up and up over the constant driving bassline with interwieving melodic guitar parts and crescendos with a satisfying climax, with vocalist Anthony Traniello's agonising screams of the records' namesake "no love can save me" supplying the static sure to raise the hairs on the back of your neck. The rest of the EP follows this start in much the same formula. "Hello Uncertainty" is filled with enough subtleties and fury to keep the listener satisfied, of which the drive follows on to final track "Epilogue: Forgiveness". The constant pounding pulse of the drums is most predominant in these two tracks to keep the intensity levels nice and high, though it compliments the melodic and harmonious guitars perfectly.
Lyrics — 9
""All aboard" the conductor screamed. He knew he was the only one that could save their dreams. He had to pick who lived and died solely by occupation, he played God in all their lives". As you can see by these opening lines of the EP, vocalist Anthony Traniello takes no prisoners. As stated in an interview "I need to feel that when a person is either singing or screaming their wordsyou need to not only hear them, but also feel the words", and it shows. His lyrics compliment his ferocious delivery like they are the last words he will ever scream, though the lyrical content is ambiguous in the sense that they could be seen as a comment on society in general or largely introspective dependent on the perceptions of the listener. Despite the consistantly dark themes of Traniello's lyrics, they are almost always catchy and infectious such as the line in final track "I pray that there's no eternity for me", soon followed by the repetition of "Forgive me destiny this world has f--k destroyed me"; a sure catalyst of pile ups in pits across venues all over the United States on their current tour with bands such as Killing the Dream, Reign Supreme, Trash Talk and more. Always emotional, heartfelt and angry, the vocals follow where the band left off with One Year Later, though they appear to be a little less blatant with the theme of personal anguish, going down a much more subtle route without blunting the passion shown in their previous records.
Overall Impression — 9
Melodic, yet uncompromising. Beautiful, yet gritty; this record really is a tale of musical contradictions. However one aspect cannot be doubted: that this is a fantastic record and one which other groups in the hardcore scene shall have difficulty to surpass this year and certainly holds it's ground against this year's releases by Verse and Killing the Dream if not surpassing their tremendous efforts. The artwork of Ken Steward depicting a solitary skeleton reaching out to nothing, compliments the record perfectly. It matches the themes of despair and hardship shown in the lyrical content, whilst retaining the unpolished feel of Jay Maas's production of the record and the general feel of the music. The standout track on the album for me would have to be "No.51" due to it's consistant intensity and originality, though the remaining tracks aren't slackers in these departments either. Short but sweet (clocking in at just under ten minutes), this record is recommended for anyone who has a sweet tooth for melodic hardcore yet isn't afraid of delving into the darker side of the genre. If you enjoy bands such as Sinking Ships, Shai Hulud, Verse, At Half-Mast etc then this record is definately for you.