Carnation
Cursed Mortality

Though 2023 is in our rearview mirror, there’s still a slew of quality late 2023  releases lingering that deserve your attention.

One such release is the third album from Belgium’s Carnation, who burst onto the scene with the impressive debut Chapel of Abhorrence back in 2018 and followed it up with the equally impressive Where Death Lies in 2020. Plying a beefy mix of Swedish death metal and burly, typically chunky Belgian (and some Danish soundng) old-school European Death metal, the band jumped to near the top of the genre.

And with all-important album number three, the band continues their strong early career run going head to head with 2023’s slew of quality Swedish death metal-styled releases by bands like Angerot, Wretched Fate, The Plague, Gravestone, et al. Though to be honest, Carnation, is not quite a pure Swedish death metal band, despite the pretty beefy HM2 guitars, as they share a little more with some of their more classic chunky country mates like Moker, Aborted,  In-Quest, Caducity, Stentorian and such.

At a brisk 35 minutes, Cursed Mortality shows a band hitting their stride and balancing their tried and true backbone of beefy death metal, and just enough experimentation to not be treading water.

The aforementioned backbone is impressively delivered with the opening blasts and grooves of the first track “Herald of Demise” the classic Swedish canter of the second track “Maruta”, and the huge groove of “Metropolis”.

It is the fourth track, “Replicant” where Carnation starts to experiment a bit, with some clean vocals (which did surface on Where Death Lies), and a moodier tone before “Dutroux” gets back to the bludgeoning but Carnation is at their best when delivering a slower lumbering groove as heard on parts of “Submerged in Deafening Silence” and “Cycles of Suffering”.

As with the last album, things end with a 7+ minute number, this time the title track, where those Dan Swano-ish clean vocals make another appearance along with some keyboards and some acoustics before the track ends this kickass album with a big, menacing number that shows Carnation is a rising force in European death metal.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
January 11th, 2024

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