Carnifex Album Review – ‘Slow Death’

 

The last decade has been quite a ride for Carnifex. Five albums – every one stronger than its predecessor – sold out shows and an immense following are the result of the hard work Carnifex have put into the band. The last album ‘Die Without Hope’ was the climax so far with raving critics and a top 10 position in the US Billboard Hard Rock Charts. It is always hard to follow up on such a massive success. Let’s see if Carnifex’s sixth album ‘Slow Death’ can live up to the expectations.

The album opener ‘Dark Heart Ceremony’ starts as you would expect. The 1-minute acoustic intro which also features orchestration breaks into a groovy inferno of blast beats and razor-sharp guitar melodies while Scott Lewis’ dark growls create an atmosphere between anger and despair. This is Carnifex at their best. The band has taken the next step in their development and ‘Slow Death’ is the logical continuation of what they have started on ‘Die Without Hope’.

As the album progresses it becomes more and more obvious that Carnifex have evolved from classical death metal to an eclectic mix of various metal sub-genres creating their own form of extreme metal. The core of their music is death metal of course. However, on ‘Slow Death’ the previously sparingly used orchestration gets wider use. Additionally, groovy parts bordering to death-/metalcore as well as breaks into slower passages and one or the other acoustic venture paint a quite diverse picture. Another element that adds variety are the melodic guitar solos that you would rather expect on a Yngwie Malmsteen album than on an extreme metal record. The album culminates in ‘Servants To The Horde’ that more or less combines every element I mentioned before.

Just for the record I have to allude to the excellent, modern production. Genre legend Jason Suecof (Trivium, Whitechapel) co-produced the album and Mark Lewis (Deceide, Cannibal Corpse) added the engineering and mixing. The result is a heavy, crisp and brutal album. Combined with the strong songwriting ‘Slow Death’ should build the momentum further for Carnifex. Whether ‘Slow Death’ is better than ‘Die Without Hope’ comes down to personal preferences. From my point of view both albums have their distinctive strengths. ‘Slow Death’ definitely lives up to the expectations.

8.5 of 10