Carnifex
Graveside Confessions

Despite being one of the early deathcore bands to successfully add keyboards to their repertoire and become more of a blackened deathcore band 4-5 albums ago, Carnifex has been surpassed by the likes of Shadow of Intent, Mental Cruelty and Lorna Shore when it comes to this supposed¬† ‘blackened deathcore’ sound (and you could make the argument those three all followed Carnifex’s lead..)

Still, they have kicked out a slew of solid albums since 2010s Hell Chose Me, in this more blackened style, even if 2019s World War X seemed to lean more in the direction of the band’s earlier, pure Whitechapel-ish mimicking deathcore and lesson the blackned influence a bit. And with album number 8, Graveside Confessions, the band still seems to be struggling with that balance, now going back to a more symphonic, blackened deathcore sound, as if to compete with the above mentioned bands after hearing the massive albums like Lorna Shore‘s Immortal. Arguably the benchmark for symphonic deathcore right now.

So what we have here is 11 new songs, 3 re-recorded songs from the band’s Dead In My Arms debut, as well as a inexplicable cover of Korn’s “Dead Bodies Everywhere”.¬† The eleven new songs are what you’ve come to expect from Carnifex at this point in their career, they still have a pretty good balance of downtuned, breakdown filled deathcore, mixed with some blacker tremolo picked elements and some sweeping keyboards. And the keyboards seem to be more present than World War X, which had some songs that didn’t have them at all. Still, they are never as full on, in your face, symphonic or choral as the above mentioned peers, but more of a subtle glossing but still used effectively as heard on the opening title track, “Seven Souls”, “Pray For Peace”, “Cursed” “Countess of Perpetual Torment”, “Cold Dead Summer and “Alive For the Last Time”, all solid. stout songs with nice breakdowns, blasts and keys. However, “January Nights” is a need less atmospheric acoustic bridge that breaks up the momentum a bit.

The re-recorded songs (“Collaborating Like Killers”, My Heart in Atrophy” and “Slit Wrist Savior”) are a bit of a let down as they simply removed the samples (which the band loved early on), beefed up the production and lessened the metalcore, screamier vocals, but don’t add keyboards from the bands newer sound, which is a shame, as I’d like to have heard these older, more pure deathcore breakdown heavy songs with the blackened influence.

Still, I respect that Carnifex is eight albums in, and still pretty consistently solid, and I’m guessing still moving units for Nuclear Blast, and having seen them live, put on a killer show. I just wish they’d full commit to the symphonics a little more, as when you compare to similar band’s releases this year like Mental Cruelty‘s A Hill to Die Upon or the new Lorna Shore EP, “And I Retunr to Nothningness“, Carnifex is lagging a little bit behind on both symphonics and nasty breakdowns.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
August 16th, 2021

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