It’s been an extremely busy, yet fun, week for me here at A&GS. In my third live show in seven days, I got to witness the hard hitting, heavy grooving death metallers CARNIFEX. I made the long drive to Lancaster, Pennsylvania to visit The Chameleon Club. Upon my arrival around 4:30PM, there was already a very long line of anxious fans waiting to get in. I love seeing lines full of die-hard music fans. It is a solid reminder of why metal will never die.
Before CARNIFEX was set to go on, hardcore band CRUEL HAND performed for the packed house. Admittedly, I am not much of a hardcore fan, but CRUEL HAND was awesome! They put on a very energetic, nearly non-stop set. The crowd embraced their music with open arms and the pit was vicious. Although hardcore isn’t really my thing, CRUEL HAND is a band I would go see again in a heartbeat.
After CRUEL HAND performed, CARNIFEX was set to take the stage. One by one they emerged, acknowledging the crowd. Without any introduction, they crushed Lancaster with “Slit Wrist Savior” from their debut LP Dead in My Arms. The pit opened up immediately and everyone in the crowd was raging! Vocalist Scott Lewis enticed a circle pit; the first of many that he willfully received all night. During a brief pause between songs, Scott told the crowd he was happy to be in Lancaster again. They had not played this town in over two years. Continuing their brutal set, the band performed “Hatred and Slaughter” from their latest record, Die Without Hope. If you’ve read my album review, you already know how great I think those songs are, so believe that I was excited to hear this live! The band played with 100% accuracy, not missing a note. Every member of the death metal quintet banged their heads just as hard as the fans in attendance. Just two songs into their set and the energy in the small club was absolutely bursting.
2011’s Until I Feel Nothing made an appearance in the form of “Dead But Dreaming.” Throughout the duration of their set, guitarists Cory Arford and Jordan Lockrey switched between their custom Ibanez seven string and eight string guitars. Combined with Fred Calderon’s bass playing, their total guitar tone was as massive and crushing in a live setting as it is on their records. Up next was my absolute favorite CARNIFEX song, “Dark Days,” from Die Without Hope. As soon as Scott announced this song was next in line, I grabbed my phone and shot video of the performance, which you can see HERE. Be sure to keep an eye on drummer Shawn Cameron displaying his skills. The song got me completely pumped and I couldn’t have been happier. After performing the epic track, they played the title track from their latest opus “Die Without Hope.” I’m pretty sure everyone around me got whiplash from this tune because they were all headbanging as hard as they could for this one.
Two HUGE fan favorites followed the double dose from their most recent LP. The crowd pleasing “Lie To My Face” was next in line. As I looked over the sea of fans, I saw many screaming their hearts out along with Scott on this one. Unfortunately, CARNIFEX’s set had reached its end. There was no better closing song than the title track from 2010’s Hell Chose Me. Now, I know I said the energy level was high and the crowd was nuts before this song, but “Hell Chose Me” took it to another level! The balcony was rumbling and shaking, the pit swelled in size, and the intensity reached new heights.
As the last note was struck, Scott thanked the crowd and the band exited the stage. Lancaster got exactly what they came for; a complete ass whooping. This was my first time ever seeing CARNIFEX live, and I can say it will be the first of many. They truly bleed their art onstage and I am so happy that they did not call it quits for good. Metal needs them.
LIVE REVIEW AND PHOTOS BY ERIC THE BULL