Carnation
Where Death Lies

I pose, that instead of purchasing carnations for your love on Valentine’s Day, Christmas, or whatever dumb bullshit humanoids in love celebrate, instead perhaps purchase Carnation. Give your love the gift that keeps on giving. The gift of blistering death metal.

We last heard Belgian death metallers Carnation when they released a banger of Florida-style death metal in 2018 with Chapel of Abhorrence. Evil death metal… because if I’ve learned anything about Belgium, it’s that they’re so damned… evil. Being that this is a somewhat high-profile release, I was shocked no one else picked it up. So, hooray or whatever. Let’s get blasting.

The first track, “Iron Discipline,” kicks off with a little feedback, then into the riff and a growl. This is definitely old school death metal in the vein of a combination between Dismember and Corpsegrinder era Cannibal Corpse. The CC reference is mostly in the vocal department. The guitars, while they do have a buzzsaw quality are certainly not of the HM-2 or bust category. A cool lead, a solid chorus hook, and we’re onward.

The title track, “Where Death Lies,” comes pretty early in the album as it’s track 3. It starts off with an L.G. Petrov (get well soon) style “UGH,” then into the galloping riff and verse. Before the second chorus hits, there’s a quick section that would put the mosh pit into a frenzy if we had those in this world anymore except for the fact that it’s quite short, just like the track itself.

Admittedly, moving forward, I do get a little lost in the music. Not in a bad way, though. In the focused, grooving along, happy to be listening to this album way. “Spirit Excision” has a little variety in the vocals department, but don’t worry, no cleans… yet. There’s no bad track here, but there’s no standout in the middle. That has to wait until near the end.

That track is “Reincarnation,” which is the standout track for me. It starts with a bit of an elongated intro, which includes some black metal styled keys. Even as the riff comes in, it could still be mistaken for black metal for a moment. As the riff progresses for a moment, it crashes into the realm of death metal and stays there. With a great hook and riff, I felt like this should be the closer.

Until I heard the closer, that is. That’s the next track, which is called “In Chasms Abysmal.” The main riff here is whiplash waiting to happen. A good death metal hook is here again, which is the norm on this scorcher of an album. There’s a great lead opening the door for the bridge which itself is carried by one. With a couple minutes left they let off the throttle for some… clean vocals?! For just a moment, though as it gets right back into blasting. As the riff fades out, some feedback comes in, and the album is over. Bummer.

If you couldn’t tell by that “bummer,” I’m a fan of what Carnation have put together here, just as I was with their previous. It’s short, it’s sharp, it’s fast, bad ass, high octane, testosterone-fueled death metal. You need to pick this up… and maybe buy some carnations for your love while you do.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by J Mays
November 23rd, 2020

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