What’s more metal than coming back from the grave? That’s what CARNIFEX has seemingly done. For about eight months, CARNIFEX was no longer a band. They packed it in for good. Or so we all thought. After that eight month break, they decided they aren’t quite ready to call it a day, and arose from the grave. Die Without Hope (March 4 via Nuclear Blast Records) is their return to the death metal world, and I’ll be the first to say, I’m glad this album was written. It has a more mature, diverse sound than its predecessors and is a display of CARNIFEX perfecting their craft. I never like to say a band has reached their apex, as that suggests they will go downhill from there. Rather, I say this album has lifted them to a higher plateau. Or should I say, it takes them to a deeper sub-level of Hell?
“Salvation is Dead” leads you into the album with some ominous sounds, letting you know the shit is about to hit the fan. Approximately 43 seconds into the track, Scott Lewis screams out “SALVATION IS DEAD,” signaling the start of harmonized guitar riffs and a pummeling rhythm section. It displays a signature CARNIFEX groove and various tortured vocals. This song is the first of the dark clouds rolling in to what is an overall evil sounding record. “Dark Days” is my absolute favorite track on the record. This song give me a DIMMU BORGIR vibe; particularly the Deathcult Armageddon era. However, it really is so much more than that. It features some incredible piano work in the intro and later in the song. The guitar composition in this song has it ALL! You want fast picking, dissonance, groove, palm muted ass kicking sections, AND beautiful clean sections and solos? Look no further. As a fan of extreme music, and a lot of black metal, this song is incredible to me. Major kudos to the guys in CARNIFEX on this one! “Condemned to Decay” features more of a symphonic element in various sections of the track. At times this is matched with brutal screams, riffs, and drumming. As you will notice a theme here, this song features yet another bad ass solo!
As someone who has fought his fair share of inner battles, hatred, and disgust, I found a personal connection with the fourth track on the record titled “Die Without Hope.” More specifically, as someone who does a good deal of writing, I particularly loved the following lyrics:
“These words may all sound the same.
I have bled to death on every page.
Watch as my heart turns to stone.
Watch me die without hope.”
I find this to be the heaviest song on the record, both musically and lyrically. A must listen. “Hatred and Slaughter” seems to pair very well with its neighboring aforementioned track; a more outwardly angry perspective, while still displaying moments of internal struggle. A place I and, whether they want to admit it or not, many others have been before. These lyrics serve great purpose, and coupled with their musical backing, deliver the messages with clarity, conveying the intended emotions with every note. Brutality with purpose is always best in my opinion, and that’s what is achieved throughout this LP.
“Dragged Into the Grave” is a hymn for the betrayed that seek vengeance. I know this song is going to blow the roof off of venues across their upcoming headlining tour, which begins February 21. I can’t predict the future, but I see insane moments in the pit during this wrathful tune. Some of my favorite groove parts reside in “Rotten Souls.” “Last Words” is another raging track, increasing that darkness factor right when you thought it topped out. “Reflection of the Forgotten” is a gloomy instrumental track that leads into the closer, “Where the Light Dies,” in a rather epic manner. The closing song is one of a murderous subject matter; asking to be killed by another. Having repeatedly suffered at the actions of a person, and asking them to finish the job before you do yourself, it’s a truly tormented and brutal song, with moments of incredible dark melodies. An appropriate ending to this fantastic record.
From start to finish, this album is a dark, steamrolling, death metal machine. I’m a sucker for low tuned, powerful riffs and this album is full of them. They pair seamlessly the numerous melodic sections and solos throughout the record. The added keys and symphonic elements take the music to grim places. Grab extreme death metal, add melodic death metal, add a pinch of black metal, and a pinch of doom; call the influences whatever you will, the result is a juggernaut of an album and one that I am happy CARNIFEX returned from the grave to create! Don’t leave the metal world behind, guys! You continue to get better with every release! ~ETB
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Dark Days,” “Die Without Hope,” and “Where the Light Dies”
WRITTEN BY ERIC THE BULL