Carnifex – Slow Death (Review)

CarnifexThis is the sixth album from Carnifex, a US death metal band.

Carnifex play modern/melodic death metal with elements of deathcore and added orchestration.

I’m not overly familiar with Carnifex, having only listened to one of their previous albums – their 2008 release The Diseased and the Poisoned; this was an okay album, but nothing particularly special, so I was not prepared at all for how far they’ve come in the last 8 years. Slow Death is light years ahead of that release, so much so it’s almost like listening to a different band.

The brutality and crushing grooves come thick and fast, with more than enough heaviness to satisfy fans of aggressive music. This is music that manages to impress and engage on first listen, but has enough going on to frequently entice the listener back for repeated visits.

Alongside this brutality is a melodic sensibility that really does add to the songs. It stops things becoming a one-dimensional slam-fest, injecting depth and an emotive edge into the music.

The added orchestration and electronic enhancements are not your standard death metal fare, and the fact that these are now quite a prominent aspect of Carnifex’s sound is to be applauded and encouraged. They’re not blatantly flashy or ostentatious arrangements, but their presence is definitely felt and, along with the melodic components, make for songs that are way more engaging than those of a lot of their peers.

Alongside the above, the songs themselves are very well written. The band clearly have the skill and talent to pull off something as ambitious as this actually is, when you stop and analyse it; combining melody, brutality and orchestration into something that successfully delivers heaviness, brutality, feeling and catchiness – it’s no small feat.

With the kind of solid, state-of-the-art production that you’d expect from a band of this stature, Slow Death sounds sufficiently huge. Taken with the quality of the songwriting as a whole, this album is a very, very good one that I’ll be listening to for some time to come.

Well, this album has been a huge wake-up call for me. I had no idea that Carnifex had become the band that they now are. The more I listen to it, the more Slow Death is shaping up to be one of the best releases of 2016 so far.

Favourite Track: Pale Ghost. Heavy, catchy, melodic and atmospheric. It has everything you need in one place.

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