Carnifex’s latest LP, Slow Death, is nothing if not about getting down to brass tacks. Quick off the blocks, the San Diego natives jump into the two strongest bangers of the batch, ‘Dark Heart Ceremony’ and ‘Slow Death.’ While doing so, they also set the template of what else to come in the remaining 29 minutes; Carnifex gonna be Carnifex.
Not familiar with that particular style? Then you clearly haven’t attended the New England Metal and Hardcore Festival. Quick history lesson: from 2003 through 2006, young men hopped up on Despised Icon full lengths and Job For a Cowboy demos abandoned their families and began to violently stitch together hardcore and death metal. Not in the Suffocation kind of way either. This new breed was all about that Ibanez 7-string life, neck tattoos, and triggered double kick flurries. I guess the critics and kids call it deathcore. Hot Topic stocks went through the roof and scratchy logos became borderline mainstream. As did something known as “vocal covers” on YouTube. You don’t need to remember that last part.
You got that? Good. Something worth mentioning is that Carnifex is one of the more technically accomplished and prolific crews of the deathcore batch. With that out of the way, Slow Death doubles down on all of the Carnifex hallmarks we’ve come to learn and mosh to for nearly 10 years. That means bigger sounding drums, more throat-shredding vocals, and abundant pseudo black metal keyboards and riffs in the background. While the finished product has the subtlety of an aluminum baseball bat, Carnifex still holds an advantage over most of their down tuned peers: catchiness. ‘Six Feet Closer to Hell’ and ‘Drown Me in Blood’ are memorable upon first listen. Winds of Plague or Oceano can’t list that under special skills.
Another bit that I enjoy is the pace and brevity of the album. In a little over a half an hour you get a bucket of memorable hooks, grooves that make you want to hone your sweet karate pit moves and the best synth bits that Bleeding Through left on the table. Still one of the best bets in the deathcore racket.
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