Carpathian - Isolation (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Isolation (2008)


Carpathian's sound is a fairly Deathwish-centric one of modern mid-tempo straightforward hardcore, but it's done well enough to look past the fact that their peers and short-term predecessors have done it better. Therefore, it's interesting to note that it was one of the label's more overlooked releases of 2008.

Isolation bears vague similarities to acts like Modern Life Is War and the Carrier. Frontman Marty Kirby doesn't deliver his lyrics with the most distinct of vocal styling or tones, but it gets the job done. He sounds particularly effective when most genuine and challenged; one of the album's faster tracks, "Spirals" chugs along so consistently that Kirby sounds exasperated by the time he sings, "We've a lack of reason, / an absence of passion."

Otherwise, Isolation moves along at a lumbering pace somewhere between expertly restrained (read: effective) and sluggish (not so effective). Carpathian really sound best when there's a little more "umph" in things. Check out the urgency in "Sun Heights" and "Ceremony," which sound like the promising little twin brothers to MLIW's "First and Ellen."

Speaking of that earlier mention of Deathwish-isms and modern hardcore, Isolation fits almost a little too well into those contexts. Jay Maas' Getaway Group Recording here sounds like a slightly tidier version of Kurt Ballou's God City. Shipwreck (a.d.)'s J.D. provides a guest spot on "Cursed," and his band seems to provide inspiration for both Carpathian's aesthetic and logo, even. Patrick Flynn (Have Heart) drops by for "Ceremony," too. Also, at least four song titles happen to share names with recent hardcore acts ("Cursed," "Deadbeats from Deadhearts," "Ceremony" and "Permanent"); have they been hanging out with A Wilhelm Scream or something?

Isolation is a definitively promising release, one with its flaws and banalities but with the assurance they should be weeded out as progression and growth come along.