One of the OGs of deathcore – and the OG of its blackened variety – San Diego’s Carnifex are one of the longest running success stories of the mid 00s extreme metal boom. With the band having just hit the road in celebration of their huge debut Dead In My Arms’ 15th birthday – and a ninth studio record in the works – now is as good a time as ever to dig through their ever-expanding back catalogue.
“Lie To My Face”, “Drown Me In Blood” and “Hell Chose Me” are some of the biggest songs in deathcore – but what about the rest of their material? There are some great Carnifex tunes from across their whole career that have been forgotten for too long. So without further ado, let’s bust out the shovel and exhume 10 of Carnifex’s most underrated deep cuts…
“Among Grim Shadows”
A killer track from Carnifex’s sophomore full length The Diseased And The Poisoned, “Among Grim Shadows” shows that the black metal element to the band’s sound was almost there from the very start. The tremolo-picked guitar lines and blastbeats sit nicely between the thunderous breakdowns, whilst frontman Scott Lewis’ screams are absolutely raw and wrought with emotion. While their debut is a classic, it was on Carnifex’s second LP that they really started to forge their own sound – with the highly underrated “Among Grim Shadows” a great example of this.
“Countess Of Perpetual Torment”
Lifted from Carnifex’s latest album Graveside Confessions, “Countess Of Perpetual Torment” is tremendous new jam that highlights the act’s continued songwriting prowess. It has some of the record’s biggest breakdowns – all three of them to be exact – with the closing one the nastiest of the pack. Experts at this style of music by this point of their career, Carnifex seamlessly fit the beatdowns in with minor-key chords and 8 string riffs. Being tucked away at the back end of the release with low streams, and yet to see the live stage, we’d definitely class “Countess Of Perpetual Torment” as a worthy deep cut.
“Countess Of The Crescent Moon”
Before you accuse us of laziness, yes, we’ve gone with another selection with ‘Countess’ in the title – this time the excellent “Countess Of The Crescent Moon" from 2016’s Slow Death. It sees Carnifex at their most gothic – with definitely more than a nod to Cradle of Filth, especially in the lyrical department. Despite this, it certainly that carries all of Carnifex’s hallmarks, with crushing sections and more epic passages. Plus it has a nice bonus guest solo from Sims Cashion, which is a ripping little interlude. A great, under appreciated latter-career gem.
From 2011’s oft-overlooked Until I Feel Nothing, “Creation Defaced” is the perfect example of Carnifex’s blackened deathcore sound. It’s got all the trademarks – dissonant chords, heavy breakdowns, ultra fast parts; but it’s the middle section where the group introduces some lesser used elements. The bridge moves into full atmospheric black metal territory – acoustic guitar, piano, lo-fi drums – before diving immediately back into blastbeats and breakdowns. It’s a nice change from Carnifex’s usual straight ahead blackened assault, and makes it a more than welcome addition to our list.
Off Carnifex’s seventh effort World War X, the relentless “Hail Hellfire” is hugely underrated gem. With lots of the great elements of the band’s present sound, the awesome production and ultra-tight playing creates and thick, low-tuned wall of pain – the last minute is particularly chest-beating, with pulsing breakdowns and siren-like guitars. 2019’s World War X feels like it didn’t receive praise it deserved, with great deep cuts like “Eyes of the Executioner” and our choice “Hail Hellfire” showing that it has a heap of powerful material on offer.
“The Liars Funeral”
An oft-overlooked rager from the brutal Hell Chose Me record, “The Liars Funeral” is an absolute punishing slab of late 00s deathcore-meets-death metal. Storming by at a blistering pace, it melds menacing riffs and blastbeats with a cool minor-key chorus. As the home of some of Carnifex’s most intense material, Hell Chose Me is loaded with some great stuff – and sadly the great “The Liars Funeral” has been overlooked in favour of more well known tunes.
“Never Forgive Me”
Our second dip into the excellent Until I Feel Nothing, “Never Forgive Me” is a clear melding of Scandinavian metal styles with (the-then) contemporary North American deathcore. Of course by this point we know that the Swedish melodic death metal sound works perfectly with breakdowns. It’s the addition of the black metal elements in the middle of the track that that separates Carnifex from the pack, plus the fantastic ending passage has a real crushing, marching-into-war feel. Very underrated song and album.
“Redemption and Regret”
From Carnifex’s self-titled 2006 EP, “Redemption and Regret” failed graduate onto a full length release. It’s admittedly not as strong as some that made it onto their first LP Dead In My Arms – like “My Heart In Atrophy” – but it shows potential. “Redemption and Regret” finds Carnifex in an early incarnation, with their style certainly metalcore leaning – with minimal black metal influences to be heard. Sure, it’s incredibly raw sounding – let’s not forget that production standards have gone up immensely in the last few years – but it’s an important part of Carnifex’s career.
Taken from the first record after Carnifex’s brief year long hiatus, “Rotten Souls” is a nasty track from 2014’s Die Without Hope. The song moves between walls of fast guitars and relentless drumming and half-time feels. It definitely sees Carnifex hammering that low 8th string hard; but also contains a great chorus, with the guitar lines moving into more melodic territory. Packing a big vocal hook refrain at the end, you’d think "Rotten Souls" would have become a permanent fixture in the band’s live show, but it was only played a handful of times – twice to be precise, back in 2015.
“A Winter In Remorse”
The most underrated number from the deathcore classic Dead In My Arms, “A Winter In Remorse” has been totally overshadowed by some of the bigger jams it shares an album with. Carnifex’s debut contains some of the cornerstones of the group’s career, such as “Lie To My Face” and “Slit Wrist Savior” – but “A Winter In Remorse” is exactly what you’d expect from 2007 deathcore – moments of furious pace and screaming vocals mixed in with punishing beatdowns and gut-wrenching low growls. Will Carnifex unearth it for their upcoming tour celebrating Dead In My Arms 15th bday?
What are your favorite Carnifex deep cuts? Are you planning on catching them on their 15th anniversary tour of Dead In My Arms? Let us know in the comments!