There’s an element of diversity in the sound of hardcore Plymouth newcomers Carrier that even the most open-minded metal fan would be surprised by. Their hard-hitting metalcore is offset by moments of melody, alongside an underlying shared love of country music.
The quartet of Kris Adams (vocals), Marvon Jordaan (guitar), Olly Lyle (bass), Thomas “Totti” Bromley (drums and vocals) have known each other for years from college and playing in various local bands. But the Carrier project first began with Kris and Jay working on something in secret before soon getting the others involved early last year.
Since then, they’ve honed a sound that’s dominated by Adams’ intense vocals but supported by a more melancholy instrumental backdrop that eases the punishment – in the band’s words “real bittersweet aggression.”
It will be released upon us on Friday with their debut EP, Wither, so we had a chat with Olly before its launch to find out more, and he told us: “Expect surprises! We’ve released Grieve, it’s a punishing, fast & heavy track and really sets a raw feeling for the EP. There’s more grooves, breakdowns and cleaner more melodic parts. Your head will be moving that’s for sure.”
And if there’s one word that perhaps stands out with Carrier, it’s “surprise.” The EP kicks off with a blitz of fast-paced guitar and drums then a blast of huge screamed vocals in the intro to Flowers & Thorns. But just as you’re settling into the heavy metalcore sound a really cool hanging, repeating sound lingers over the top, offsetting the metal mania going on behind it. A faster chorus of big screams ends on a cry of “Finish what I’ve started,” then a blast of guitar and a brief pause give way to more heavy metalcore screams and guitars. Then out of the blue the lingering sound returns to add a melancholy ending.
Next up, Ghosts begins with an almighty scream and big guitar chords, then blasts into a fast-paced chorus with high-pitched floating guitars. A chorus of more drawn-out screams “Dear mother please forgive me, My heart is sinking” kicks in, then a brief pause is followed by light piano and guitar that continue over big screams. It soons become clear that the band love a dramatic pause, as is the case in this song with a pause that’s followed by an onslaught of screams, guitars and pounding drums alongside a quick piano loop then more intense screams see us through to a huge ending.
Then lead single Grieve kicks off with pounding drums and aa cool repeating riff supporting intense screams. Then almost spoken vocals spit out over haunting guitars then a more drawn out riff and more wild drums support screams. Then huge screams of “I’ll scream these words ’til my lungs collapse, You will not be forgotten” lead into booming guitar chords and drums, in a section that ends on a huge blood-curdling scream. It’s short, sharp and intense.
To counter that intensity, August begins with light, soothing guitars, then a prolonged spell of screams that ends on a cry of “You’ll never be alone.” And, well, that’s that song done. Just over one minute long.
The final track 10:15 flies straight into big screamed vocals with atmospheric guitars, then a big riff kicks in alongside what almost sounds like distant backing strings, then it all repeats itself. This is a huge track that brings the EP to a fitting ending, with dominating vocals backed by varied instrumental support.
The EP has been a while in coming, as Olly tells us: “It feels great to finally get this EP out and to see the growth that we’ve had from just releasing Grieve. We’ve been sat on it since Autumn last year, so it just feels great to be sharing it with everyone finally. To tell the truth, we spent more time deciding who we would record with, more than anything else. Eventually we decided on Josiah at Momentum Studios, he’d done a bunch of bands we were familiar with and he really knows his stuff, the proof is in Wither.
“As far as track listing, I think we only had maybe three by the time we were seriously looking to get ourselves recorded. Jay sent us all this killer demo, which would eventually become Flowers & Thorns but damn, it’s with that song that things really got serious for all of us. As far as things we didn’t expect, me and Jay we’re murdered by Josiah on Guitars and Bass, every time, just when you think ‘that’s it, perfect take’… No. Do it again, over and over. Kris laid vocals down to Grieve in one solid take, which surprised us all, especially me, because I really thought he was gonna blow his voice that day.”
Olly goes on to tell us that Kris’ lyrics all stem from real experiences. He said: “He’s the kind of lyricist who won’t beat around the bush with any form of lyric and get straight to the point. That’s what’s cool about this record and what we write – it’s real and raw, and I think for him the lyrics from this record are something that have been building up for a good few years.”
While describing Carrier as the product of Jake Luhrs (August Burns Red) and Brendan Murphy (Counterparts) having a child together, Olly also tells us – somewhat surprisingly – that they all “Have a mutual love for Country, we all absolutely adore country music.”
Wither is out on Friday (23 February), and there’s plenty more to come from Carrier soon as they already have new songs in the works. They’ll be launching the EP with a gig at Underworks in Plymouth on 9 March, on which more details are here.