Carry the Torch - Dead Weather (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Carry the Torch

Dead Weather (2008)


Any press materials you happen to stumble across for Carry the Torch's Dead Weather EP are probably pretty accurate. While the band suffers from a somewhat thin recording, Carry the Torch are rescued by their own musical chops and cool hardcore style. Clearly taking cues from acts like Strongarm and Shai Hulud, there's a solid combination here of aggressive yet comprehensible vocals and guitars that transition their tones from sanguine to downbeat and back again multiple times.

Opener "Separating the Genius" is a smooth example of all this, as singer Brian North questions the listener "did you forget or did you never know?" in a scratchy yell. Through a fluid display of versatile guitar work, the song eventually finds itself dipping into a well-integrated, hardly overbearing breakdown. There's a moment in "Circuitry" where the band drops out a bit and leaves North sincerely screaming "I thought it would fall into place / I thought I would stop questioning but I can't" over a minimal arrangement, and you're left wondering how stunning it would be had Carry the Torch been fortunate enough to get someone like Brian McTernan or Kurt Ballou at the helms. The band's melodic reach turns out a questionable moment with the Disney meets Dragonforce-esque guitar riffs in "For All I Care It Can Burn," but the band is usually successful in such endeavors.

As far as Detonate Records' bands go, the Sacramento act seems perhaps the label's most overlooked. Is the radar so above Carry the Torch that the weather really is dead? Let's hope not.

Separating the Genius
For All I Care It Can Burn