Carnifex – Graveside Confessions (Review)

Carnifex - Graveside ConfessionsThis is the eighth album from Carnifex, a blackened death metal/deathcore band from the US.

Both 2016’s Slow Death and 2019’s World War X were great albums that I thoroughly enjoyed when I first listened to them, but that I only grew to love even more over time.

On Graveside Confessions Carnifex deliver a much longer album than normal – 63 minutes. This is due to the new material being bolstered by three rerecordings of old tracks from the band’s first album, (“Graveside Edition”), and a Korn cover of Dead Bodies Everywhere, which is brutally good fun. Of the new songs, there is 47 minutes worth of them, which is a much more manageable duration.

I love Carnifex’s blackened mix of death metal and deathcore. Riven with violent melody and bolstered by orchestral enhancements, these songs are demolishing. The singer sounds on top form. His vicious screams are as sharp as they usually are, but his deep monstrous growls sound better than ever.

Integrating blunt deathcore with black metal influences is not easy, but Carnifex have proven themselves to be extremely adept at this. Graveside Confessions continues this trend, but also reintroduces some older aspects of the band’s sound.

Carnifex have a firm understanding of how to combine brutality, melody, and song-based hooks. Well-written, with great riffs, catchy choruses, and ridiculous memorability for something so brutal and nasty…well, this is what I’ve come to expect from Carnifex. Graveside Confessions satisfies my desire for this quite nicely, even though it does so in a slightly different way to previously.

When comparing this new album to their last two, there are more elements of early Carnifex deathcore on Graveside Confessions. There are some massively heavy moments on this album, like the previous ones, but I’d say there are more huge breakdowns hidden amidst the blackened melodies and more instances of deathcore groove alongside the blast beats. There are also some well-utilised electronic/industrial elements that are felt here and there. It’s not a huge part of the band’s sound, but it is noticeable when they appear, and tracks like Pray for Peace and Cursed benefit from their inclusion.

This is an album that’s still melodic, but overall features less melody and more brutality. Essentially, the band have continued to develop their blackened intensity, while also reviving more of the deathcore side of their sound, as well as also trying out a few newer industrial influences on for size. And this is without even mentioning all of the other special little things on this album, like some of the classic metal leads, (Talk to the Dead), or the emotive instrumental January Nights, which is very well-realised.

The latest version of Carnifex, which is a mix of old and new, works very well, and these new songs are crushing and extremely moreish. Carnifex have once again produced a first rate album.

Essential listening.

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