Tuesday, March 29, 2005

The Cardinal Effect - Red Light Carousel CD Review

Relationships often create some rather interesting situations, if not more than a few downright scary ones. When it comes to human experiences, there really isn’t anything else out there that can make you feel just about every existing feeling throughout the entire emotional spectrum. More often than not you’ll find yourself confronted with conflicting and seemingly contradictory feelings simultaneously, and often you won’t know why you are feeling the way that you are. It’s not very easy to explain why you want to throw your significant other down a long flight of stairs while at the same time wanting to rip his or her clothes off before making out like you just got out of prison. Relationships are just odd that way.

The Cardinal Effect’s Red Light Carousel will illicit many of the same quirky emotional combinations of a relationship throughout its 10 track run. In deciding what it feels like to listen to Red Light Carousel, the best comparison that comes to mind is feeling like you’ve been punched in the face by your girlfriend right before she eases the pain she caused, leading you to be angry all the while loving her for being so damn caring.

The first couple of songs start the disc off with a thundering bang. “The Afterparty” and “Fistula” are two crunchy, scream laden, metal tracks that will bludgeon you with the force of a brick thrown at your head… but a brick with a few melodic layers of padding around it to cut down on the damage. After being hit so hard, timidity will slowly overcome you in expectation of an even more thorough beating, which is definitely coming, but won’t happen right away. “Cottonstar” starts off even more intense than the previous tracks, but it slowly morphs into an emotionally charged, melodic metal affair. Confused, you prepare for the next track, expecting the brief respite to be over and the pummeling to continue. Oddly enough, the next two tracks take on a decidedly emocore feel that was hinted at in “Cottonstar”, showcasing the tender, yet aggressive side of the band.

“Press Your Eyes” starts off the second half of the disc with a passionate, melodic embrace—the equivalent of a kiss form your lover that says “I’m sorry for ever hurting you.” After having been both hurt and consoled, your relationship takes on a more mature attitude, much like the three songs leading up to the final track. They are all melodic metal masterpieces punctuated by a periodic scream to show that despite the smooth sailing, everything can’t always go smoothly. On the final track, “Prevention,” the disc reaches its climax with an unleashing of a torrent of pent up rage that has been left to build throughout the last half of the release.

Upon completion of the disc, much like the end of a relationship, you’ll appreciate what has gone before you knowing that all of it might not have been great, but for the most part you know it was a wonderful experience. You also realize that you’d go through it all again and, in fact, you know you want to go through it again because, despite the conflicting and often confusing emotions, the experience was a beautiful thing.

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