Carnifex – “Slow Death” (Nuclear Blast Records)
Now with 6 albums under their belts in 10 years as a band, Carnifex have never been ones to hold back when it comes to their patented brand of deathcore. That said, “Slow Death” goes well beyond the expected to be easily within the realms of dark metal on many occasions! Scott Lewis continues to lead the Cally troupe with his screamo / guttural vocals while Shawn Cameron’s blurring drum work is still blinding. However, the overall speed of the songs has slowed and instead we get to really appreciate the technical virtuosity of guitarists Cory Arford and Jordan Lockrey from cranking out deep, chundering riffs to fluid neo classical solos. Moreover, the liberal use of dark melodies along with somber pianos – at times subtle and elsewhere prominent – definitely adds an emotionally powerful vibe throughout the 10 tracks like on ‘Six Feet Closer To Hell’, ‘Black Candles Burning’ and ‘Countess Of The Crescent Moon’. It’s not often that a genre like deathcore gets associated with melodies – and certainly not as bountiful and darkly majestic as this – but rather than try to escape the label, Carnifex have boldly sought to reshape it using the production mastery of Mick Kenney (ANAAL NATHRAKH, BLEEDING THROUGH), and Jason Suecof (DEATH ANGEL, CHELSEA GRIN, JOB FOR A COWBOY). With Mark Lewis (THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER, WHITECHAPEL, DEVILDRIVER, DEICIDE) adding the final mix, the refined sound of “Slow Death” with its clear lyrics and even Fred Calderon’s plucked bass strings being heard heralds a new chapter for this band, if not the style they are associated with.