Carnation – Where Death Lies (Review)

Carnation - Where Death LiesThis is the second album from Belgian death metallers Carnation.

Having really enjoyed 2018’s Chapel of Abhorrence, it’s with high expectations that I turned to Where Death Lies. It turns out they the band have exceeded these expectations with ease.

Carnation’s brand of old-school death metal is intact and well, delivering a muscular and lean 41 minutes of bowel-churning riffs and destructive groove. I’m a sucker for classic Swedish carnage, and Carnation offer up a particularly good example of the style. Want a cross between Entombed and Bloodbath? Look no further than Where Death Lies. A minor Hypocrisy influence spices things up further.

The style may be a well-worn one, but when it’s played as competently as it is here, who cares? Carnation know what they’re about, and these new songs build on the considerable strengths of their debut album to great effect. The songs are stronger and catchier, and there’s simultaneously more variety and a more concise delivery; Carnation’s songwriting has been taken up a notch it seems. There are even some surprises here and there, especially later in the album, such as the keyboards at the start of Reincarnation and the brief clean singing during In Chasms Abysmal.

The meaty riffs pulverise and smash your bones into a fine paste. Darkly winding melodies worm into your brain before you realise what’s happened. Macabre atmosphere seeps into your very core, filling you with existential terror and dread. Piercing solos run you through, and the deep growled vocals finish you off with violent glee.

This is an adrenaline-soaked slab of Swedish death metal that has a surprising amount of depth and longevity baked into it. Where Death Lies is the best example of the style I’ve heard this year, and an all-round great death metal record.

Very highly recommended.

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