August 8, 2016 Carnifex – Slow Death (Album Review)
Founded back in late 2005, out in Southern California, Carnifex are a promising modern Metal band on the rise. Facing several changes since their formation, the band led by original members Scott Ian Lewis (vocals) and Shawn Cameron (drums) join on with Cory Arford (guitar), Fred Calderon (bass), as well as 2013’s edition, Jordan Lockrey (guitar). So what does Carnifex sound like? Deathcore? Death Metal? Metalcore? If you ask the band, it does not matter, they just play what they like, and that is what matters most. Labels aside, Carnifex offer a lethal dose of Extreme Metal, something they have proudly done since 2007’s debut, Dead in My Arms, and continued through 2014’s Die Without Hope. Now two years later, the dedicated band return with their sixth studio offering, Slow Death. Released on August 5th, Slow Death marks the second album since their switch to Nuclear Blast Records, and it could challenge as their best to date.
Ten tracks in total, the album begins on a strong and fierce note with “Dark Heart Ceremony.” Commencing with a funeral-like piano instrumental, the atmosphere becomes increasingly frightening until the voice arrives as a sensational debut. Fueled by drums and aggressive voice, the worst is feared and the next track matches the expectations with the pummeling of “Drown Me In Blood,” which clearly starts with the most terrifying electronic intro. Continuing the funeral mood in symphonic fashion, drums are full of subtle accents that enhance the impact of the riffs. Then, “Black Candles Burning” comes in with a slower and threatening rhythm. A highlight, it possesses more of what fans can hope to expect from the aggressive side of Carnifex.
Moving along, “Six Feet Closer To Hell” features strong guitar riffs with the sinister atmosphere as the background. Complemented by the drumming of Cameron, he offers textures that enhance the impact of the guitars while the chorus is catchy enough to sing along with from beginning to end. On top of it all, creepy keyboard and dark vocals of Lewis make for an epic listen. Speaking of dark, “Necrotoxic” shows more variations in the vocal tones of Lewis as he alternates guttural and high flying vocals, before ending with a surprising sound.
Compelling already, one of the most fascinating songs comes next with the catchy melody of “Life Fades To A Funeral.” A beautiful instrumental track dominated by acoustic guitar, it will captivate the listener even further with a quiet and charming break before returning with the fire for the remaining two songs. Those last two compositions begin with “Countess Of The Crescent Moon,” which instantly breaks the peaceful atmosphere as it changes the tempo once more and maintains a speedy force with creepy instrumentation and sinister vocals. Finally, ending it all, “Servants To The Horde” closes this album with an aggressive emotion and theatrical aspect that has an extremely riveting guitar solo. Heavy, powerful, and impressive, the song has a larger than life cathedral atmosphere that caps off Slow Death in breathtaking fashion.
Slow Death is clearly one of Carnifex’s best albums to date. It is brutal, fun, and it is a great way to let go of personal frustrations. Best of all, each song of Slow Death is different with soaring vocal performances throughout. They have matured as a band since Dead In My Arms and are tighter as a unit than ever. It will be interesting to see where they go from here as they continue to progress. CrypticRock gives Slow Death 4 out of 5 stars.