Monday, March 24, 2014

Carnifex - Die Without Hope

Carnifex are a band I've never particularly fallen in love with. their album Hell Chose Me had some great songs on it, as did their first two albums, but I was never particularly sparked by them. Their last release Until I Feel Nothing didn't do a whole lot to change that either. Then Carnifex went on a hiatus that left no definite promise of their return and I honestly expected them to fade into obscurity for me. However this year they smashed right back onto the scene with Die Without Hope and I'm not sure if it's hypocritical or not, but they entirely changed my opinion of them. Die Without Hope is easily the strongest writing they've had to date and makes it easier to appreciate their back catalog as well.

The album starts off with what are likely the four strongest songs on the album. 'Salvation Is Dead' begins with an eerie ambiance that is shattered by an intense wall of sound that doesn't let up until we get a gasp for breath in the second to last track 'Reflections Of The Forgotten'. The band fleshes out plenty of genres influences they've always had, the melo-death influences shine in the couple guitar solo's we get on the album, and the black metal influences shine very well here. Between this band, Lorelei, and Ovid's Withering, blackened deathcore is starting to show a good amount of promise. Carnifex has done a great job fleshing out almost every aspect of their established sound. I know I criticized Until I Feel Nothing for having a relatively weak atmosphere to it, but Die Without Hope  is dark and consistent thanks in part to drummer Shawn Cameron who worked on the keyboard aspects of the album.

While there has been improvement across the board the album isn't without faults. At times the balancing act between different genre influences can make things a bit awkward. For instance as I already stated the first four track are likely the strongest on the album, but once we get past that the transition between the title track and 'Hatred And Slaughter' feels  a bit off, probably due to the initial lyric of the song being one of the more immature feeling on the album and the title track is one of the darkest songs on the album, so the placement feels a bit odd. These moments though are few in number and the album as a whole still works well a unit.

Die Without Hope does a lot of things right and still sticks to the sound that Carnifex has established for themselves. They aren't stepping to heavily into other subgenres, but merely sampling things to see what works and what will please the fanbase they've established. It's evident that the year long hiatus had a positive effect on the band and one can only hope they keep up the progress.

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