Sunday 5 June 2016


GenresPunk / Rock / Post-Rock / Post-Hardcore / Post-Metal / Alternative / Ambient / Instru-metal
Related artists?.
CountryPhiladelphia, Pennsylvannia USA
Years Active2010-present
Song: "Mystic Riffer"
Album: "Matador"
Year: 2015
For fans ofGifts From Enola, Sparta, Russian Circles, Pelican, Arcana Cain, Town Portal, Hum, Lume, Botch, Cave In, Guiltmaker, Moving Mountains, Finger Of God, Mogwai, Thrice, Coheed And Cambria, Switchblade, The Sword, Isis, Maserati, Creepozoidz, Arbogast, Ornaments, Tomydeepestego, Omega Massif and Frodus.
Label(s): Self Released / Crowquill Records
This post's artist is from the March 2016 Mix. This is track #6.
You can download: the May Mix#5 right here or get the new June 2016 Mix#6 here.

CARVED UP are truly an eclectic beast. The combination of rock, alternative, post-hardcore and post-metal are arranged in a manner that the band never really falls into only one genre and are still cohesive as hell. Generally speaking, the band plays instru-metal (Town Portal, Pelican and Russian Circles come to mind right away) with an occasional leaning to either alternative/post-rock with singing or post-hardcore with screaming (Frodus, Moving Mountains and Thrice). The only reason I know about the band is because they sent me their material, and I will forever be grateful because they have some seriously killer songs.

Looking back at their discography is very interesting. In 2010 they released the 'Lights Out' EP which is a spacey, instrumental gathering of post-hardcore songs with no vocals. This is a very good start, with "Dracaena" being my choice track. Their sophomore release in 2011 was called 'Brothers' and is home to a lot of vocals, none of which are found on the band's debut. To be honest this record initially looks like a step back because the vocals detract from the sound, in my opinion. In the long run, however, this evolution by the band paid off. In 2013 CARVED UP released two EPs which showed exceptional growth across the board. The 'Tiffani Amber Threesome' EP houses three very good tracks, including the Thrice-sounding "Liberty Hell" with some incredibly catchy vocals, the massive and spacey "Es Jei" which brings to mind Moving Mountains, and the pretty decent "Big Gym", which is reminescent of early Sparta and does boast an exceptional riff at 1:40 that tears at the space-time continuum. Also released in 2013 was the two-song swing into Frodus territory (aka yelly/screamy post-hardcore) titled 'Oksana My Mule' with the pounding rhythms and shredding screams of "Reticence is a Gift" as well as the nicely balanced "Cavil Be Honored" and its explosive close.

In 2015 shit got super real. CARVED UP released their first full length and it is fucking awesome. The first thing that caught me was the art. Having never heard the band at the time, I expected some kind of Spanish influenced instrumental jazz - an excessive stretch, I know. Second came the song titles. Four songs on this record are based around the word "riff" and movie titles, which are "We Built Riff City", "Riffer Phoenix", "The Riffer Wild" and "Mystic Riffer". This further added to my confusion of what the band was going to sound like, but also gave me a hearty chuckle. What does it sound like? It sounds like CARVED UP moved on from their Thrice and Moving Mountains influences to much harder and more aggressive inspirations that may or may not include Botch, Russian Circles, Pelican, Converge and Every Time I Die. The complete adoption of this visceral and violent approach to songwriting is displayed openly in the opening track following a movie sample, as "Death Remains the Same" is an all out venture into war. Shedding all rock sensibilities CARVED UP opt for screamy, metallic hardcore with Every Time I Die riffs (23 seconds), Botch math (57 seconds), Converge guitar wailing (1:26), Cave In metal (1:52) and an instrumental, Russian Circles closing.

"Mystic Riffer" is stupid good and sounds like early Russian Circles during their phenomenal 'Enter'-era, and more specifically the track "Death Rides a Horse", which happens to be my favourite Russian Circles song. At 6:01, this song encapsulates everything that is great about CARVED UP, save for the vocals because there are none on this particular song, as well as the other three "riff" songs. The opening builds on atmospheric rock and at one minute a hook the size of the Titanic's anchor will blow out your speaker, and hot damn that palm muting in conjunction with that riff is prodigious. The song then meanders around in a playful, twinkly and dreamy state until 3:25 when the gouging solos lead the listener down a dark and winding path that eventually strangles the listener at 4:40 with wave after wave of crushing palm mutes. "The Riffer Wild" follows a similar path, clocking in at 6:21 chock full of bass-driven chugs and riffy-ass breakdowns. 2:34 and onward in "Riffer Phoenix" is massive and is dark enough to be likened to the almighty Omega Massif from Germany and "The Arrangement" is another noteworthy instrumental jam comparable to Town Portal.

The six years of releases by CARVED UP have been varied, progressive and I must say that the production is always excellent, without the band sounding cheesy. 'Matador' has some incredible songs on it, so I'm hella pumped to see if the next release can make another leap into new genres whilst honing their current hardcore/post-metal sound.



2010 - Lights Out digitalEP (stream/download here)

2011 - Brothers digitalEP (stream/donate/download here)

2013 - Oksana My Mule digitalEP (stream/donate/download here)
2013 - Tiffani Amber Threesome digitalEP (stream/donate/download here)

2015 - Matador 12"LP (stream/buy here)


(2015) CARVED UP - "Pray Attention" live Pirate Session video

(2015) CARVED UP - "Mystic Riffer" (from 'Matador')

(2015) CARVED UP - "Death Remains the Same" (from 'Matador')

(2015) CARVED UP - "Riffer Phoenix" (from 'Matador')

(2013) CARVED UP - "Reticence is a Gift" (from 'Oksana My Mule')

(2013) CARVED UP - "Liberty Hell" (from 'Tiffani Amber Threesome')

(2013) CARVED UP - "Es Jei" (from 'Tiffani Amber Threesome')

(2011) CARVED UP - "What are the Magic Words?" (from 'Brothers')

(2010) CARVED UP - "Dracaena" (from 'Lights Out')


CARVED UP additional links

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