Dolcim – We Carry the Fire (12″ LP)

Dolcim - We Carry the FireWe Carry the Fire opens with an extensive sample from the 1938 radio broadcast of Wells’ War of the Worlds; the excerpt concerns ground zero for the Martian invasion, the small town of Grover’s Mill. All but one of the other tracks on this record are named for persons, their age and occupation.

The obvious assumption I take from this is that this is a themed album intended to focus on the lives of various fictionalised people drawn from a small town; either within the context of a prototypical SF tale like War of the Worlds or just focusing on aspects of their lives in composing a  broader narrative or perspective. It’s not entirely clear from the MP3s I have – I don’t yet have a physical copy of this release although I hope to soon. Regardless, either approach is a cool idea but unfortunately without access to lyrics it’s hard to tell what Dolcim intended, as they have never been a band with easily-discernible lyrics. So, for now, you’ll just have to assume that this could be an album with an interesting thematic edge, but it could just as easily screw it up. I have no idea, but would like to assume the former.

Fortunately it’s an excellent album in and of itself. Although Dolcim have a significantly different style I’m reminded of the UK’s Maths. Both bands fuse screamo and black metal to some degree. (It would be easy to argue that these two strands of extreme music have always enjoyed some overlap and I eagerly await the first screamo expert in the comments who can provide examples.) The vibe I get from We Carry the Fire is that the black metal edge comes from the production; that big cavernous sound that enhances and exaggerates the desperation and plaintiveness of the songs.

The standout tracks are ‘Claire (31, Advertising)’, a powerfully mournful song featuring lead guitar heavy on the delay alongside huge, jagged, distorted riffs from the rhythm section, occasionally dropping into immensely chuggy territory, and ‘Jonas (19, Store Clerk)’, a ferocious, aggressively frantic tune with an almost ridiculously chirpy verse riff. It’s the album as an overall effect that stands out, though, with every component contributing towards an intense emotional ride.

Returning to the theme of the album: final track ‘Advanced Civilization’ potentially sheds light on it. It’s the third sample on the record (the second appears in track 4, ‘Xavier (35, Artist)’, and mostly involves gunfire, panic, and screaming). This one features politicians and senior military officers doing what they do best: sounding sinister. “They’re very advanced technologically. Which suggests, rightfully so, that they’re peaceful. An advanced civilization is, by definition, not barbaric.” The clip’s from Mars Attacks; as to its meaning here, draw your own conclusions.

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