All the anti-Deathcore lifelovers can say whatever they want to, the bands and their rabid fans aren’t going anywhere. And when it comes to vibes of pure seeping negativity, only Funeral Doom and Suicidal Depressive Black Metal offer more misery than the right Deathcore band. San Diego’s Carnifex is the right Deathcore band. These guys have already gone through many changes in only a 6-year existence. Lineup shuffling aside, each full length LP has had its own distinct flavor. Their 2007 debut, Dead in My Arms, was a pummeling beatdown of an album. Just a pulverizing breakdown expo that happened to come with a side of brutal vocals. Next year’s follow up, The Diseased and the Poisoned, was a bit of a sophomore slump. Still brutal, still a festival of breakdowns, but as time would sadly reveal, not a truly memorable song to be found. They seemed to find the perfect balance with last year’s Hell Chose Me. Each song following basically the same formula: start with fast and furious Death Metal, end with breakdown from Hell. It should be noted that the title track from this album was the most played song at any local bar with a jukebox worth a piss by my insignificant circle of friends and I that year (which led to many disgruntled patrons and staff). The first thing that jumps out at me concerning this new album is production by Tim Lambesis. This band over time have adapted a somewhat anti-religion lyrical stance, and as we all know, the As I Lay Dying frontman thinks Jesus looked sexy as fuck on that cross. Still, Lambesis has undeniable talent and his knob-twiddling skills here show no deviation from that fact. These songs have something to say for talent as well. By far the most dynamic material they’ve ever penned. It’s still intense, it’s still heavy as fuck, but the songwriting clearly shows an immediately evident maturity. The guitarists are layering their attacks. Building up to moments of climax and playing off each other as opposed to a berserker barrage of riffs followed by impending breakdown insertion. It’s not like Carnifex are going all clean vocal/acoustic ballads/touring DJ on our asses just yet, but I think it’s safe to say that we haven’t seen tracks as intricate as “Dead but Dreaming,” “Creation Defaced,” the title track, and the ominous closer, “Curse My Name,” from them up until this point. There was nothing wrong with them before, I want to make that perfectly clear. But there’s also nothing wrong with wanting to be better. Until I Feel Nothing just might be Carnifex at their absolute best. Only time will tell.
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