Never Forgive Us

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So back in April I attended a show featuring All Shall Perish, Fleshgod Apocalypse, Carnifex, The Contortionist and Conducting From the Grave. Admittedly, the main attractions were All Shall Perish and Fleshgod Apocalypse, as while I own all of Carnifex’s albums, they aren’t a band I really crave — being a solid if unspectacular deathcore outfit. That being said their last CD, Until I Feel Nothing, as with many of their contemporaries, upped the death metal ante and in the case of Carnifex, a very slight symphonic element was added, giving the band a more dramatic, epic feel. So before the show, I hung out with amicable drummer and founder Shawn Cameron to discuss, Victory Records, fans and the dreaded D word…

Right off the bat, I have to say I like the recent album Until I Feel Nothing. You guys are what, four albums deep now? That’s pretty rare for a deathcore outfit. So here’s the question: Is Carnifex a deathcore band?

Shawn: I dunno man, I classify it modern death metal, but if some people can’t accept it as death metal, they have to call it deathcore.

When you listen to the new album versus your first album Dead in My Arms, they sound pretty different.  That first album is definitely deathcore.

Yeah. There is a difference between the albums, but we are still writing the same music. When we do the album, that’s the best album we can write at that time. I feel like every album is better, the riffs are harder and everything is tighter. That’s the main difference to me.

With the addtion of the keyboards, is there a concerted effort to distance Carnifex from the deathcore scene and try to be more death or black metal? A lot of prior deathcore bands seem to be doing it.

I dunno. If you think about the definition of deathcore, it’s supposed to be death metal with breakdowns. That’s what we are and I’m fine with it. But if you are going to call us deathcore, make sure you are classifying other bands correctly as well. We are friends as Emmure and they get called deathcore and they are not deathcore. The Acacia Strain is not deathcore. There has to be death metal in death core.

So then what was the impetus for adding much more keyboards on this album?

We actually had them on every album; the last track on Dead In My Arms had keyboards and we had keys on a couple of songs on The Diseased and the Poisoned. We didn’t have them on Hell Chose Me. We just didn’t have time to write them in. It could have been great on certain parts of that album. But we had plenty of time for this album and put more effort in to the keyboards. We actually used the keyboard player from Cradle of Filth (Ashley Jurgermeyer).

Also, the songwriting seems to have taken more of a shift towards more black/death metal, especially the songs with the keyboards. Not because they have keys, the songs themselves seem to sound that way.

There definitely has been more black metal influences. It just depends on how we feel when we are writing. Some songs just feel like black metal and we try to keep it going for the whole song. The writing for this record was more sporadic for this album and spread out.

What do you balance your set list between the older deathcore songs and the newer more varied songs? Are the keyboards incorporated in the live set?

Actually, we don’t do any keyboards at all for live shows.

So no “Creation Defaced” or “Curse My name”?

No, not yet. We don’t play any of the songs with heavy keyboards just yet . When we do get to playing those I’ll start using an automated background track or something. We definitely plan on playing them in the future. “Creation Defaced” is one of my favorite songs.

Is your deal with Victory Records over soon?

Yeah we’ve got maybe one more record left with them.

A lot of bands use their last record on a contract to do some filler or cover album to get it over with. Are you going to do that?

We aren’t the kind of band to do that. We don’t get very much help or press as it is, so putting out a shitty half-assed album doesn’t really help us at all. Regardless of circumstances, we are always going to try and put out the best music we can.

So how has this tour been? It’s a pretty mixed bill with a couple of deathcore bands, a proggy experimental metal band and an Italian symphonic death metal band.

It’s been really solid. We’ve had great turnouts, despite basically following the Nile, Black Dahlia Murder tour around. And the Whitechapel tour being around this time too.

When you mention a band like Whitechapel, or other deathcore bands, are there any that you listen too and say “that’s a great band. We need to sound like that?”

Whitechapel are a good deathcore band, so is Oceano. And I actually really like Dying Fetus, but don’t call them deathcore or their fans will punch you in the face (laughs). We’ve played with Suffocation several times and we’ve described out sound as death metal with breaks, and those guys are like ‘is there any other kind? [Laughs]

It seems like deathcore as of late is almost a dirty word. The scene, the trends, the saturation, the band names…what’s your opinion on that?

It is like a dirty word now. I think it’s mostly due to all these new bands only doing breakdowns and nothing else. We try to use the breakdowns to make something else heavier. That’s maybe where we as a band have progressed. On the Diseased and the Poisoned we wrote that in a month and I’ll admit we used breakdowns as a crutch, we didn’t know what to write between riffs so we we just used breakdowns to fill songs out. We are more into riffing now.

You have to feel good. Carnifex is a band that’s released four albums in the genre, and a band that has had a relatively stable line up the whole time. Even All Shall Perish have had a rotating line up but you guys seem to be in it for the long haul.

Yeah, we recently got called a ‘career’ band. For the second year in a row we aren’t doing a US tour over the summer. We don’t have have to be the type of a band that has to be in front of everyone the whole time. And this band has been together with this line up for four years now, so we fell pretty good.

Yet you guys never seem to get mentioned in the same breath as Whitechapel and such?

Yeah. Whitechapel only has two albums right? I think a lot of it has to do with the label we are on. We have been snubbed directly because of the label we are on. We’ve been told we can’t be on certain tours because of the label. It’s funny. Nobody bought our last album, but it has 13,000 seeds on Demonoid!

I have to say, I’ve always loved your moniker, Carnifex, being olde English for “executioner’ that’s just cool.

When we were coming up with stupid band names, I just found the word and liked it. One of my friends, Sarah, suggested it as a band name. We think it portrays heavy, brutal music. And when we looked further into it and found that the Carnifex was the executioner who executed slaves and foreigners –- he did the dirty work.

Anything else to pass on?

Let’s see…we’ve almost got the next album completely written .



  1. Commented by: Plasma

    Crap band. Just bloody admit “yes, we are deathcore” and stop trying to deny it. So boring, so cliche.

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