Review Summary: The Carrier offer up some solid melodic hardcore, and that's about it.
2008’s One Year Later
played like a solid piece of melodic hardcore, custom fit with all the scene-buzz fixings, too, if you get what I mean: a strong following on the heels of its release, a few hyperbolic claims from the at-the-time-positive critics, and a dose of hefty expectations given for, in this case for the band in question, The Carrier, to deliver on their next outing. We sit on the edge of 2011, and that expectation-heavy album greets us with this very new year; it's an otherwise solid piece of melodic hardcore, coming after a prior solid piece of hardcore bred in 2008, custom-fit with all the fixings of an overly expectations-flushed melodic hardcore release coming two years later: right, it’s kind of a disappointment, albeit an almost unfair one, given the expectations, but it's a solid album all the same. This is
this year’s Blind To What Is Right
So, basically, expectations were high, too
high, for Blind To What Is Right
. But what we actually have here is an album that should have been expected by most of you anyway. Just check off all the signs that we were given with the The Carrier’s shiny One Year Later
, you know. You had strikingly high production values that were able to hold the band, particularly the passionate, angsty screams of Anthony Traniello and his cliché lyrics – no offense, but he was Linkin Park
in-it there – in high form. The band’s extremely competent hardcore rules-by-rules playing was reinforced there, too, no? Like the band’s instrumentals sounded good: strong yet dangerously unremarkable, the kind of thing that would own face in The Carrier’s concerts, for sure – mosh pits, mosh pits, most pits, hello! But, but
, what made the band so special? I must have missed out on it, because I threw down a measly great-3.5 rating and left it at that concerning One Year Later
In a sense, Blind To What Is Right
answers my question as to what made The Carrier so great in 2008: they weren’t all that great, in truth. The band’s follow-up is another strictly solid affair, yet there’s a little bit more missing in comparison to One Year Later
, hence the negation of the .5 from the rating to the left of your computer screens. You see, The Carrier have the ability to deliver solid melodic hardcore albums, and that’s what they do now in 2011, like they did in 2008. No more. They aren’t this awesome-Modern Life Is War
phenomenom; they're just middle of the road, barely able to hold up under high expectations, as evidenced by Blind To What Is Right
. The album feels strong, yet unaccomplished, ending too quickly and not delivering as much of a kick as One Year Later
did two years ago, or any competent melodic hardcore release did since that time, to be honest.
As for The Carrier’s performance, though, not much has changed, if maybe there being a slight tweaking in Traniello’s vocals. The production is still crisp and finely tuned, without taking away the energy from the band in the least, which is certainly to Blind To What Is Right
’s credit. However, problems arise in terms of general songwriting for the songs present, as well as these cliché, off-balanced juvenile lyrics that are being thrown our way here, yet again. The hooks that we knew well from last time don’t stay around as much as they ought to either, coming and leaving right before things get really good, like in “Wash Away My Sins” and “Silence Together”. This fleeting escape of winsome, could-have-been stellar hooks also applies to certain sets of guitar riffs or likable drum fills that would have served a better purpose on the record if they had just held out, at least, a few more seconds than they do. It’s almost like The Carrier are in a rush to finish the album, and the fleeting feeling you are left with once “All That’s Left To See”, or more apt all that’s left to hear
, closes the album is direct evidence of that.
Blind To What Is Right
is the kind of album that gets me a little worked up, I’ll be honest, if only because I catch myself trying to hear something that The Carrier can’t really offer here: a clear pay-up for all that rumored potential. I mean, I’m not discounting that given a few years in the future the band could be superstars in their scene – God knows any band can surprise us these days. But as for now, The Carrier are just middle of the road, if cracking a wee bit under the pressure to meet expectations. Blind To What Is Right
is the product of a solid melodic hardcore band that sounds rushed, in the strictest sense. It plays through its length in a hurry, and that’s not just in terms of its tempo. Any good moments are fleeting, and the many average moments, in turn, stretch out more than they should. It’s solid stuff, for sure, but that’s all it really is when you get down to it.