Liverpool metalcore outfit Carcer City are a special band. Genetics play a fundamental part in evolution, with DNA being the main constituent of uniqueness. Within certain people’s DNA, genetic markers allow them to see things in different ways with one such marker causing a condition known as synaesthesia. Perhaps the most well-known form of this condition is grapheme-colour synaesthesia, resulting in the person perceiving letters or numbers as colours. This can alter association to people’s crafts, allowing them to create something special, and, through vocalist Patrick Pinion (who suffers with this condition), that’s exactly what Carcer City have achieved with their third studio record, ‘Infinite // Unknown’.
After forming back in 2009, naming themselves after the fictional setting of the controversional video game Manhunt and releasing a mainly forgettable EP and debut record, Carcer City have evolved into the sort of band that are commanding the alternative music-loving public to stand up and take note.
At first glance, 12 tracks measured across 51 minutes may seem too long to digest what is essentially a standard technical metal album, but, dive into the material with an open mind and you’ll find a record worthy of some serious praise. ‘Infiltrator’ starts with a gentle, technical introduction building into a gargantuan guitar riff with subtle electronica in the background. Instantly you can hear just how far the band have progressed into the realms of technical metal with an impressive combination of ferocity, hook-laden clean vocals and a rhythm section screaming of ambition and complexity.
There’s also a greater sense of intelligence here. The breakdowns during the aforementioned track and ‘Drifter’ never feel tacked on and completely compliment the musical showmanship on offer, while ‘Black Mirror’ slows the pace down somewhat to fully highlight the atmospheric undertone linking clean vocals to frantic guitar riffing as it all tugs the heartstrings at various lengths. You can tell that the likes of Northlane and Architects are massive influences here.
Elsewhere, the title track on the record showcases some massively anthemic vocal hooks which are like nothing that the band have produced previously, while ‘Covington’ has a Deftones-esque appeal to it, with contrasting vocal styles coupled with some intense riffing that link the soft and hard elements of the song brilliantly.
As a criticism, there are moments of sterility and vague recollections of their earlier material on a couple of the tracks which don’t particularly add any substance to the overall product, and, in truth, takes away some of the focus. Nevertheless, the end of the record is strong with two-part affair ‘Truth’ showing that the band are confident in their softer side (that’s ‘Pt. 1’), as well as highlighting their brutal characteristics (and that’s ‘Pt. 2’.
If Carcer City continue on this trajectory with a touch more polish and focus, then they should be able to fully establish themselves amongst the like of Northlane, Architects, and TesseracT in the tech metal genre. Their future may well be unknown, but its rewards may well be infinite.
Written by Neil Criddle (@DJCriddz)