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Carnifex's previous album, Die Without Hope, was what I believed to be the greatest Carnifex release to that day, and I think that Slow Death is going to give it a run for it’s money.


Album Review: CARNIFEX Slow Death

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If I’m being truly honest with myself and with you, I have no problems with deathcore. It might not be the first sort of music I’d always like to listen to, but when deathcore is good, it is really, really good. This is especially coming from a world where deathcore is still looked down upon for not being heavy enough. But then there are bands like Carnifex who are loudly and proudly deathcore, but who do the genre so much justice that I can’t help but at least respect them.  I’ve followed Carnifex around for several years now, and while they’ve never made, in my opinion, an album of the year, they’ve released some really good albums. Their previous album, Die Without Hope, was what I believed to be the greatest Carnifex release to that day, and I think that Slow Death is going to give it a run for it’s money.

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Carnifex has begun to have a Whitechapel-like transformation in their sound. Die Without Hope definitely had signs of this maturation but I feel that Slow Death has finally brought it to fruition. Their sound is much more refined and developed than simple generic deathcore and relies a lot less on things like breakdowns and other clichés to build their songs. It’s also definitely slower, and takes time to develop ideas using atmosphere and maybe even a little bit of melody in their playing. The end result is something much darker and offers more variety than just generic deathcore.

"We wanted to take the next step," affirms [Carnifex vocalist Scott Lewis]. "On the last album, we started utilizing orchestration and additional programming in terms of classical and electronic sounds. We elevated that to a new level here. That's why there's a dark vibe that runs through the whole album. It adds a layer of atmosphere that gives you a different feeling."

Slow Death almost starts exactly where Die Without Hope ended, with a quiet and dark piano passage, which then moves almost immediately to the fastest song on the whole album, “Dark Heart Ceremony.” But all throughout the song, there are tons of orchestral and electrical elements to really introduce you to a newer sound of Carnifex. Atmosphere is probably a word I’m probably going to use a lot in this article because it’s really the best way to describe Slow Death. And to be honest, it’s not like they’re trying to achieve the sounds of a symphonic metal band or anything, but just a small little addition that ends up adding a lot more depth to their sound. And just in “Dark Heart Ceremony”, we not only have the atmosphere, but we still have tight double picking from low-tuned guitars, deep guttural growls, and crazy blast beats to keep you energized.

"Slow Death"

When you move on down through the album, you’ll run into other gems like “Pale Ghosts”, and “Six Feet Closer To Hell.” But also at this point, things will start to become a little more familiar. The elements are now being repeated quite a bit and you’ll start to get fully accustomed to this sound Carnifex is working to achieve. It’s a slower, heavier, atmospheric and by extension melodic, yet all the while still being pretty well under the umbrella of deathcore. But I do have to criticize the album on maybe just being a little too slow too often. I love their new experiments in new sounds, but I also was hoping to hear a little “classic” deathcore from a band who I know does that sound super well. It’s definitely not a deal breaker, but the slower speed of Slow Death can maybe get a little grating after a bit. Again, it’s probably a personal nitpick, but if I found it was something to criticize, then perhaps you will too.

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"Drown Me In Blood"

Again, Carnifex’s transformation of sound I think can be best compared to Whitechapel’s matured sound as of late. Carnifex has truly been growing in their musicianship and have grown past a lot of their old material that some might say could be a little “deathcore by the numbers.” Slow Death is a solid, atmospheric, and a most of all HEAVY release. If you have been lacking in new material to headbang to, then this is the perfect medicine for you. If you’re still in the anti-deathcore camp, then this still might not do it for you, but perhaps you could try and be pleasantly surprised.

Score: 8.5/10

"Six Feet Closer To Hell"

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