The Californian death metal scene has spawned its fair share of bands as well as a thriving ground for deathcore development. Carnifex is one such band who have erupted out of the scene. Releasing their sixth studio album, Slow Death, they continue to pave their own dark path in the world of deathcore.
The album is full to the brim with evil. From the eerie piano intro and backing tracks of Dark Heart Ceremony to Scott Lewis’s screeching highs. Slow Death is definitely haunting and not in a beautiful kind of way. No its haunting in a something is watching you way. However it is still heavier than a ten ton truck. With guitar riffs swapping from blackened tremolo picking to palm muted chugging, songs like Drown Me In Blood and Necrotoxic have dark sounding bridges that split up the more head whipping sections. Carnifex have obliviously taken their black metal influences out of the back drop and thrown them directly into the listeners ears. Guitarist Jordan Lockrey and Cory Arford have done an incredible job at bringing out the full potential of the vocals.
As I mentioned before Scott Lewis has to be one of the evilest sounding vocalists around. His highs are shrill and full of wicked intent. The classic Carnifex lyrics are back. More melancholic and depressing than ever. Negative themes of suicide and despair fit both Lewis’s vocals and the dark tone, especially in Servants To The Horde which torments listeners with the chant ‘ dead children from a dead fucking world’.
The band appears to have shaken off the shackles of the deathcore genre, ditching the breakdowns that cement many bands to the genre. Breakdowns do make an appearance here and there in songs such as Six Feet Closer To Hell and Countess Of The Crescent Moon but with the developed sound, they simply haven’t got the same impact. Not that this is a bad thing, as drummer Shawn Cameron teams up with bassist Fred Calderon to make the best of the breakdowns. Turning them into heavy riffs that form the bases for solos instead of the hardcore style of arm flinging chugs. Being a hardcore kid it saddens me to say, but ditching the breakdowns has given Carnifex the room to breathe and make more of an impact for their style.
I honestly didn’t think Carnifex could get any eviler without going full black metal. Leaning to a more European death metal sound, the band hasn’t lost the stylistic choices that show what you can achieve within deathcore. Slow Death earns a great 8/10 and has to be one of the best death metal/deathcore albums to date. Fans of black, death metal and deathcore could join hands in appreciation.