Carnifex – Slow Death

Deathcore has been a much-maligned genre in metal for quite some time. So much, that some bands who have been aligned with the genre have either rejected the label (The Acacia Strain), changed styles to move away from it (Bring Me the Horizon), or just flat out give it a bad name (Emmure). The pioneers of the genre, like Whitechapel, have a very dedicated fan base, and continue to show that the blend of death and metalcore is capable of expanding. Another of these pioneers is Carnifex, formed in 2005 in Fallbrook, CA, by vocalist Scott Lewis and drummer Shawn Cameron. Though the band has gone through numerous lineup changes, and a yearlong hiatus, they have persevered, and continue to produce some of deathcore’s better material. Carnifex released their latest album, Slow Death, August 5, 2016 on Nuclear Blast Records.

Slow Death is Carnifex’s second album with Nuclear Blast, and their first with producer Jason Suecof. If you have watched any of the making-of Slow Death videos on YouTube, you know that on this album the band is introducing some new elements into their music. First, it would be the use of multiple 8-string guitars. Bass player Kevin Vargas even shows off a multi-scale 5-string bass he had specially made to play on this record. Carnifex may not get as technical with their 8-strings, as say Aversions Crown, but they still put them to good use. Cory Arford and Jordan Lockrey’s riffs sound thicker, deeper, and even darker than before. Second, the band has always had a blackened tint to their brand of deathcore. However, what may have been a hint before, is definitely more prevalent this time around. Opening track ‘Dark Heart Ceremony’ is an obvious example, but instead of this being one of the few tracks on the record with this flavor, the majority of the tracks exhibit many new age black metal tendencies.  Hell, ‘Countess of the Crescent Moon’ sounds like it could be on a Cradle of Filth album. Third, there is one track that almost crosses over into the djent realm. ‘Pale Ghost’ has a definite djent guitar tone, and the keyboards at times remind me of something from Born of Osiris.

With a mix of instrumentation experimentation, and expansive blackening, Carnifex is doing their best to keep things interesting. On the making-of video, Scott Lewis talked about how the band was trying to create its own genre, with this album they may have just done it. Slow Death might not be the most innovative deathcore record you will hear this year, but it is a very innovative effort for Carnifex.

Track List:

  1. Dark Heart Ceremony
  2. Slow Death
  3. Drown Me in Blood
  4. Pale Ghost
  5. Black Candles Burning
  6. Six Feet Closer to Hell
  7. Necrotoxic
  8. Life Fades to a Funeral
  9. Countess of the Crescent Moon
  10. Servants to the Horde

Playing time: 37:08

Release date: August 5, 2016

Label: Nuclear Blast


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