Monday, January 2, 2012

Carnifex Proves They're Are Not For The Meek

California based Carnifex is back with a new offering on Victory Records entitled Until I Feel Nothing. It’s a beast of an album following in the footsteps of their 2010 praised release Hell Chose Me. That release saw the guys move closer towards the fore front of the death core/death metal scene as their praises were seen all over such magazines as Metal Edge, AP, Metal Hammer and many more.

Until I Feel Nothing may not break any new ground for the band, but it does showcase the band offering up more songs of intensity and brutality. The album opens with “Deathwish” and basically that song is an instrumental (minus a couple words) that starts off with a creepy horror movie feel to it. It builds in anticipation before unleashing a blast of energy that leads into the next track “We Spoke of Lies”.

For me, the album starts off a bit slow before settling into a good rhythm. It wasn’t until track four, “Dead but Dreaming”, before it really started getting interesting. That was when my face truly started to melt. Then, “Creation Defaced” made me a true believer. This song shows growth within the band musically. It’s a great arrangement that starts intense, but the breakdown towards the middle takes the listener is an unexpected direction. The screaming guitars disappear and the songs takes a dark, almost apocalyptic sounding direction. A minute or so later, the guitars return as the listener gets kicked in the face with a blast of rage. I am sure that some may hate it this risky move, but I found it to be very interesting and I think it really adds another layer to the song. I also think this song also showcases lead singer Scott Lewis’ guttural growls the best.

“Until I Feel Nothing” and “Curse My Name” are two more stellar tracks worthy of being heard. The rest of the album is some of the most extreme music that I have heard in this genre. I put Carnifex right up there and inching closer to the level that The Black Dahlia Murder is on. Time, as well as continued focus by the band, will tell if they make it to that next level.

The death metal label is quickly becoming oversaturated with bands and you really have to find your niche to standout for any kind of long term success. The band seems to be focused on unleashing the most brutal sound that they can. Producer Tim Lambesis (As I Lay Dying) was a good choice. He definitely allowed the band to find that comfort zone again that was found during the recording of Hell Chose Me. I’m not sure it was a step forward for them, but it was definitely not a step backwards.

As far as the band goes, the dual guitar attack of Ryan Gudmunds and Cory Arford is bombastic on the album. The shredding just peels away the skin when listened to at maximum volume. The rhythm section of Fred Calderon on bass and Shawn Cameron on drums are more than worthy of supplying the glue that holds this arsenal together. Just listen to Shawn’s drumming and tell me that he doesn’t exhaust you with his playing just a few songs in! As for Scott, he definitely has some of the most insane growls and guttural vocals in the industry. As for his high end, it’s better than in the past, but at times sounds like so many in that field.

Overall, I think it’s a really good album. If you’re a pansy and want you metal all sweet and corporate, then you need to stay away. If you’re looking for something intense and crushing in its delivery, then Carnifex is definitely the band for you. Grab a copy, crank it up and prepare to be assaulted!

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