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Carnifex - "Slow Death" (CD)

Carnifex - "Slow Death" CD cover image

"Slow Death" track listing:

1. Dark Heart Ceremony
2. Slow Death
3. Drown Me In Blood
4. Pale Ghost
5. Black Candles Burning
6. Six Feet Closer To Hell
7. Necrotoxic
8. Life Fades To A Funeral
9. Countess Of The Crescent Moon
10. Servants To The Hord

Reviewed by on August 12, 2016

"...these 10 tracks admirably do what they set out to: aurally destroy their listeners while throwing in some serious curve balls you won't see coming. Nice job Carnifex!"

A real workhorse of the major deathcore scene, Carnifex has been reliably pumping out a new album every year or two across three different labels, with the longest stretch occuring between 2011's “Until I Feel Nothing” and 2014's “Die Without Hope.” That latter album was an unexpected gem, even for metal fans who normally don't dig deathcore. While it never hit my regular album rotation or became a personal favorite, it was an overall solid release that had me looking forward to whatever was coming next.

What was coming next would end up being “Slow Death,” which is about the most inaccurate album title ever. This ain't no funeral doom, that's for sure. From opener “Dark Heart Ceremony” to closing “Servants To The Horde,” Carnifex's sixth full-length album is both incredibly crushing and incredibly varied, but usually ending up on the faster side.

A horror movie score dark piano intro kicks off the album, which shifts into rapid fire blast beating and some of the heaviest deathcore you'll hear anywhere. The piano/keyboard flourishes aren't quite enough to label this as a “symphonic” album, but it is close, and they are executed more smoothly than you might expect for this style of music, like with the sudden symphonic change-up two thirds of the way through title track.

The opening to “Countess Of A Crescent Moon” just might have you thinking, “what the hell, is this Cradle Of Filth?” and then it just absolutely explodes into a much darker heaviness more along the lines of Fleshgod Apocalypse or Septicflesh. On a similar note, the end of “Necrotoxic” shifts into melancholic and clear guitar tones to herald the interlude “Life Fades Into A Funeral,” offering up some brief down time from all the insane brutality.

“Slow Death” is significantly more eclectic than expected, but still retains a skull-shattering level of heaviness. While the production isn't crystal clear, overall these 10 tracks admirably do what they set out to: aurally destroy their listeners while throwing in some serious curve balls you won't see coming. Nice job Carnifex!

Highs: Extremely heavy with a light symphonic twist.

Lows: Production could be clearer, and if you don't dig breakdowns then the symphonic trappings aren't going to change your mind.

Bottom line: Extreme death metal gets a hint of core and a touch of symphonic for an overall very satisfying listen.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 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)