Review Summary: Australia's premier 'moshcore' band dicover Joy Division, sign to Deathwish and make a record that is always solid but never excellent.
It's difficult not to be just a little cynical about Isloation
, the second full-length from Melbourne's Carpathian
. After all, just two years ago with their debut LP Nothing to Lose
, they were Australia's premier 'moshcore' band, their sound dominated by breakdowns and the like. So when they surface two years later signed to Deathwish with a new sound highly reminiscent of other Deathwish acts Modern Life is War
and Shipwreck A.D.
, an album (and multiple songs) named after a popular Joy Division
song and artwork that looks like it came straight from Factory Records circa 1988, it's understandable for anyone to get a little suspicious. All of that said, perhaps the shift in style is simply to be attributed to the numerous line-up changes the band have gone through over the years, or perhaps it's simply a legitimate reflection of the evolving vision of the band. Whatever the case, a record's legitimacy need only be judged on one thing: the record itself.
, Carpathian have taken rather obvious influence from a number of mid-tempo American hardcore acts such as Modern Life is War, Verse
, Killing the Dream
, etc. This works both for and against them. On one hand, it's a sound that's fresh to Australian hardcore and given the popularity of Carpathian there can be no doubts that Isolation
is a record that will influence a large number of bands. On the other hand, Isolation
suffers a problem familiar to the majority of Australian hardcore acts; it does little, if anything to distinguish itself from its American counterparts. Additionally, the feeling produced by Isolation
is that Carpathian are lacking a special, unique something that exists in all of the bands that they borrow so heavily from. That's not to say that Isloation
isn't a well-executed release. There are plenty of hard riffs on offer and the production is superb, blending each instrument perfectly. The songs are well-structured and never drag on too long, with the one exception of the rather pointless middle section of "Seventyk". Vocalist Martin Kirby is more intense than he ever has been and he sounds appropriately pissed-off through the entirety of the record. His lyrics are sincere and moving, if generally unsophisticated and lacking in originality. Highlights on Isolation
are non-existent; every song is solid, no song outshadows another and though there are some standout moments in individual songs, they are few.
Whether Carpathian's shift in sound is credible is something that should be decided by the individual listener. What Isolation
offers is not, by any means, a groundbreaking release and given the slew of quality hardcore albums released this year, it's not even one of the better releases of the year. It is, however, a solid slab of Modern Life is War styled hardcore that fans of the genre should at least find enjoyable.