The Carrier - Demo (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The Carrier

Demo (2006)


I feel like "eh, it's alright" is my quick summation for far too many albums these days. Genre not discriminate, it's just that I heard so much of a given genre a year that I have a hard time elevating an album above that crowded "eh, it's alright" status. The Carrier are the latest band to reach this plateau before topping out, and I'm left wishing they pushed just a little bit harder.

The delivery is passionate, the music busy, and the prevailing sound a heavy and somewhat dynamic one, but I cannot no matter what I do shake the feeling that the smallest something is missing. Worst of all, I don't know where it's missing from. For all intents and purposes, it's a pretty airtight effort. "Alcatraz" is a short but heavy shot to the head, and "Memoirs" packs all the epic punch of Modern Life Is War, and still I'm not content with things. No, actually, let me rephrase. I am content with it, and that's the problem. It doesn't move me and it doesn't push me the way that only the best hardcore can.

If this is coming off harsh, trust that it's not my intent. The Carrier does a lot well both in theory and in practice. The former only requires them to be heavy and passionate, both requirements are filled in each of the five tracks, but the latter of those is a bit tricky. See passion is a subjective thing, and I may hear it where others do not, and others may hear it where I do not. The Carrier does a good job of making the casual fan feel that passion. The words are strained, the emotion embellished to the point where the guitars seem louder and the drums hit harder because of it.

I realize that sounds a little nonsensical just from reading this, but a listen to "Empty Words" would solidify the point. Seemingly making every down-stroke on a riff and every bass bridge seem that much more dramatic, they're able to take a fairly normal sounding hardcore song and give it an extra boost. The muddled production also helps this, as it keeps the EP from sounding too overdone -- a problem a lot of hardcore bands have faced in recent releases.

There's some really terrific aspects to this album, and at the same time there's some aspects that at least for me, really don't add anything at all to the music. They have to work and find that balance, but in the time being, they've got a real solid place to start.