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Album Review: Carpathian - 'Wanderlust'

10 September 2010 | 1:24 pm | Staff Writer
Originally Appeared In

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Having seen them play their mosh-tastic sets about 3649 times 2004-2008 I really went off Carpathian for a while, and coming at their latest release was extremely refreshing. “Wanderlust” signifies a much darker, thoughtful Carpathian, miles away from their self-titled EP and breakout full-length “Nothing To Lose”.

From the first few notes of “Wanderlust”s title track, it is blatantly apparent that Carpathian have matured leaps and bounds since their outset. Over the course of this short release the band explore far more musical territory than they ever did with their initial releases, combining their familiar heaviness with a myriad of other influences from hardcore and beyond. The vocals are totally indistinguishable from “Nothing to Lose” and almost from “Isolation”, conveying heartache and emotion like I’ve never heard this band do before.

Wanderlust” starts the EP on a heavy note, featuring relentless chugging (no, not in the sense of their old stuff) guitars which while aren’t contrived or written specifically for this purpose, are ultimately very mosh-worthy. “Ironheart” continues the heavy tenor of the release, adopting a recurring hard-hitting riff which reminded me of Verse’s “Chaper 2, 3”. It again, like some of Break Even’s later material, could definitely get a pit moving without resorting to standard cheesy breakdowns or sing-a-longs.

The third track “Monochrome” alters the mood of the EP, slowing down the pace somewhat from the intensity of the prior two tracks. It features a resonant, off-key riff and heartfelt singing accompanied by background gang vocals. The wailing guitars continue throughout the song, creating an unsettling, almost creepy atmosphere reminiscent of Shipwreck stuff. "Shadowplay" sees Carpathian produce a ballsy cover of a track by seminal British post-punk band Joy Division, in one of the best heavy cover songs I've heard. The punk rock feel of the track is also reminiscent of early 2000s Boston hardcore in the vein of The Suicide File or Bars, signalling this band's progression toward deeply contemplative and mature hardcore.

Carpathian have matured immensely and “Wanderlust” is ultimately a highly respectable offering. This release marks another positive progression in this Aussie outfit’s sound, and hints at even better things to come. For somebody who has largely ignored this outfit for a while, coming back to hear “Wanderlust” was an absolute pleasure.

1. Wanderlust

2. Ironheart

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3. Monochrome

4. Shadowplay