Carnifex – Necromanteum
Release Date: 06/10/2023
Running Time: 42:00
Review by Rory Bentley
Deathcore bruisers Carnifex have always had more strings to their bow than your average pig-squealing chug outfit, often favouring a flair for the dramatic over just plain audio GBH. Now on album number 9, the band are leaning heavier into the kind of occult and harrowing existential topics that feel like the perfect fit as we enter Spooky Season.
One look at the cover of “Necromanteum” with its eerie green fog and graveyard landscape should give you a good idea of what’s in store here. The band’s brutal, face-ripping intensity is still there but there are keys and orchestral flourishes that give the feeling of riding full speed on a rickety ghost train, dodging ghouls and monsters as you cling on for dear life.
Opening with ‘Torn In Two’, you kind of know what the deal is here as machine gun drums and slam riffs usher in some suitably brutal guttural vocals, except there’s a little more going on than meets the eye at first. Those nightmarish strings swiftly make their impression and felt like someone’s grafted the soundtrack to The Omen onto a Suffocation song. It has all the grandeur of Dimmu Borgir at their blockbuster best while still sounding muscular enough to spin kick your jaw off.
‘Death’s Forgotten Children’ sees the band tagging in Chelsea Grin frontman Tom Barber who combines with Scott Ian Lewis to produce some truly vile screeches and bellows. Seriously, these guys sound like they’ve got chunks of flesh in their throats as they conduct another cacophony of cinematic horror and fleet-fingered soloing to keep the momentum going.
This formula forms the backbone of the album’s sound, however there are a few welcome changes of pace to add a little variety to the attack. ‘Crowned in Everblack’ has an epic chorus, more bries than a fromagerie and some evocative clean chords that lead into a Death-Doom section to die for. Or from. Meanwhile ‘Bleed More’ (great title) complements its Gothic keys with some swinging grooves that offer a nice departure from the more straight to the face artillery found elsewhere.
The production is razor sharp allowing the symphonic elements to shine without blunting the impact of the filthy guitar tone and the pivot to more occult lyrics stops things descending into angry Deathcore cliche, but I did get a little bit tired towards the end of the record. Despite the blood-splattered theatre of the likes of ‘Architects of Misanthropy’ hitting the spot in admirable fashion, there’s a Cannibal Corpse album that’s just dropped that’s pretty tough to beat in both the horror and riff stakes, so anytime the band doesn’t lean into the more dramatic end of things they risk drawing an unfavourable comparison to the kings of Death Metal.
Overall though this is a fun thrill ride that will more than hit the spot for long term Carnifex fans and has enough grandeur and compositional nouse to pick up new fans along the way. Not everything needs to be the Exorcist, sometimes a good old fashioned slasher movie is all you need to get your pulse racing and put you in the Halloween mood.
01. Torn In Two
02. Death’s Forgotten Children
04. Crowned In Everblack
05. The Pathless Forest
06. How The Knife Gets Twisted
07. Architect of Misanthropy
08. Infinite Night Terror
09. Bleed More
10. Heaven And Hell All At Once
Scott Ian Lewis- Vocals
Shawn Cameron- Drums
Cory Arford- Guitars
Fred Calderon- Bass
Neil Teimann- Drums
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