Being part of the initial wave of deathcore acts does not come without its stigma. Immediately labelled by the metal elite to be a genre of no value and instead simply belligerently heavy is not entirely false. Whilst Whitechapel have moved away from the label via more melody and Despised Icon have moved further into the depths of extremity, it leaves the weight of the genre to be placed on the shoulders bands like Suicide Silence and Carnifex. The former already have a legacy but the latter have always been simply lumped with the rest of the deathcore pack and as they have recently displayed on their most recent release Slow Death, Carnifex are so much better than that.
Slow Death is the title of the most recent slice of destruction and it kicks off with a mighty, mighty racket. Dark Heart Ceremony opens with an eerie ambience before the avalanche of distortion hits. It is certainly heavy and the momentum carried though onto the following title track really helps get this record off the best possible. The riffs are unforgiving and the drumming harkens back to the original, blast beat ridden blue print of old and holds the entire album together tremendously well.
Utilising ambient synths allow for Carnifex to add depth to their sound that really does aid in the final product. Drown Me In Blood is elevated due to the subdued introduction and Six Feet Closer To Hell features synths that lay in the background. Adding far more ambience to the colossal wall of sound that simply cascades, this addition also acts as an anchor for the listener, allowing for an easier time digesting the music as a whole. Don’t let all of this talk of synths fool you; Slow Death is an unforgiving experience, as Necrotoxic displays with astonishing and vicious ease.
Of course becoming so proficient in one genre does not leave the band exempt from the same downfalls that originally plagued the deathcore sound. Being such a confined genre of specifics means that Carnifex are unable to experiment with sound as much as one would hope, instead aiming for finely tuned brutality through a truly excessive use of breakdowns. Of course they are heavy but the songs begin to blend into one heaving mess if one isn’t paying attention.
Carnifex helped write the blueprint to the deathcore sound and over the years have perfected it. Now being able to utilise the elements of the genre to frightening effect, Carnifex have reached a creative plateau, which will require some genuine musical experimentation to break out of. Despite all of this, Slow Death is far from a bad record, and its aural assault is still fun to listen to, but it only ever slightly better than their previous efforts.