"some music was meant to stay underground..."

70000 Tons of Metal - The World's Biggest Heavy Metal Cruise

Carnifex - "Die Without Hope" (CD)

Carnifex - "Die Without Hope" CD cover image

"Die Without Hope" track listing:

1. Salvation Is Dead (4:40)
2. Dark Days (3:34)
3. Condemned to Decay (3:36)
4. Die Without Hope (5:23)
5. Hatred and Slaughter (4:13)
6. Dragged into the Grave (3:55)
7. Rotten Souls (3:58)
8. Last Words (2:58)
9. Reflection of the Forgotten (1:06)
10. Where the Light Dies (4:44)

Reviewed by on February 25, 2014

"'Die Without Hope' tries out a variety of new elements that significantly pushes the sound in different directions while still maintaining a core atmosphere that remains steady throughout."

After a period of hibernation, the lumbering death metal beast that is Carnifex has awoken, with a new label home and a new plan of auditory attack. Consistently brutal with a huge, all-encompassing sound, “Die Without Hope” tries out a variety of new elements that significantly pushes the sound in different directions while still maintaining a core atmosphere that remains steady throughout.

The album has a solid balance between heavy, chugging, and frequently fast and technical parts with with tempo changes into slower territory. These changes help the music stand out, especially when there are little flourishes of one instrument coming to the forefront briefly before falling back into the chaotic maelstrom of sound.

Second track “Dark Days” brings out a big surprise with a symphonic piano opening, along with a melodic guitar solo halfway through, that dips the album into a sound along the lines of Fleshgod Apocalypse or a more death metal version of early Abigail Williams. The title track is another standout cut, featuring creepy sound effects and violins. The album also makes use of two distinctly different extreme vocal deliveries: one a deep and guttural death growl and another a harsher rasp that leans towards the black side.

Despite all these changes, there is still an issue of the formula getting stale halfway through, as the chugging does get repetitive by “Dragged Into The Grave” and “Rotten Souls.” The tracks remain tight and technically proficient, but parts of the album definitely show off the less attractive elements of the deathcore genre and come off sounding somewhat generic.

That being said, “Die Without Hope” is an all around solid album, and perhaps “deathcore” is no longer even the right category to lump the band into. Yes, there are some big booming breakdowns, but the music as a whole is more complex and has more influences coming in than just from the ‘core side, and there’s lots going on that’s worth hearing.

Highs: A new, more diverse sound that brings out symphonic and technical elements.

Lows: The album peters off a bit in the second half, become more repetitive and generic.

Bottom line: Carnifex pushes the deathcore label by adding in symphonic, technical, and black metal elements.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)