Every year, the different releases from our favorite bands can mark a difference in how great or crappy that year is going. So far, 2016 has given me the best live show I’ve seen and also some kick-ass records. Even though it’s still too soon to make a Top Ten list or so, we still have four more months to check out some good music and decide. Under the “name a band that has surprised me exponentially over the years” category, the winner is CARNIFEX. They recently released a new album called Slow Death (Nuclear Blast Records). This is some really dark and heavy stuff, my friends. This band from San Diego can make the clouds go away on the brightest day.
Slow Death is composed of rage, heavy and evil stuff from the first second. The introduction of “Dark Heart Ceremony” can be tricky, but it’ll punch you right in the throat without notice. On “Slow Death” the deathcore band rages, and after they played it at Summer Slaughter, it became one of my favorites. After a few seconds this song can make your neck hurt for a long period of time. “Drown Me In Blood” was the first single, and it tends to be closer to the black metal genre. I personally love the chorus, it gives me power and it never drops the ball on brutality. “Pale Ghost” starts with a few electronic elements and monstrous breakdown. The combination of the guitar riffs with the keyboards is a good for pretending to be the gatekeeper of the haunted mansion.
So far, this is almost half of the album and it exceeded my expectations. “Black Candles Burning” has a slower rhythm, but the guitar techniques used give it some harmonic, which also tends to sound like black metal. “Six Feet Closer to Hell” offers a scary title and it sounds a bit like their first single. Nevertheless, the work on drums and main riffs is decent. At this point you shouldn’t even care because, really, this record doesn’t drop the ball on heaviness. “Necrotoxic” has one of the best introductions, which make me imagine some heavy vibrations and blurry images in my mind. “Life Fades to a Funeral” is an acoustic song that connects the previous work to the last couple of tunes. This is very complementary to the album’s vibe, which is well-established to this point.
“Countess of the Crescent Moon” has some pretty strong double-drums and a deep bass that can be clearly identified as the track sounds like something from a heavy metal Tim Burton film. The last song, “Servants to the Horde” is an excellent closer to this album. It concludes a session of some of the darkest songs that CARNIFEX has written, and the best part is that it doesn’t feel like any of this might turn you into a ninja dancer.
I feel that Slow Death has the potential to awaken the devil that all of us have inside. Make sure that nothing destructible is in your surroundings when hitting the PLAY button on this, because you might end up going crazy without even noticing. CARNIFEX’S sixth album is definitely bringing the band to the next level and it’s making it very clear that these guys are serious business. Vocalist Scott Ian Lewis mentioned that this album reshapes the genre of the band and it starts a new movement of a more aggressive and dark metal, which I totally agree with. Great job from all the band members and the production team for writing nine songs to rage to and one to calm down a bit.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Dark Heart Ceremony”, “Slow Death”, “Drown Me in Blood”, “Six Feet Closer to Hell”, “Necrotoxic”