After last year’s ‘Bury Me In Blasphemy’ EP came as a surprise release, American deathcore veterans Carnifex have returned in 2019 with their seventh studio record, ‘World War X’.
The album starts in a generally positive way, with the title-track coming to life after a brief passage of gunfire and explosions and a marching stomp bringing in vocalist Scott Lewis into a very black metal-orientated melody (it honestly wouldn’t look out of place on a Dimmu Borgir record). Combined with thrashy guitar riffs and orchestral melodies, you’d be almost forgiven for thinking that Carnifex have followed scene pals Whitechapel into a slightly left-field area of the deathcore world.
‘Visions Of The End’ has a groovy main guitar riff running through it, and a gloomy atmosphere rears its head during ‘This Infernal Darkness’, showing glimpses of uniqueness and quality, only for it to be overshadowed by Lewis‘ mainly linear vocal delivery.
There are more than a few missteps on this record, two of the main ones coming from the songs featuring external musicians. ‘No Light Shall Save Us’ featuring Alissa White-Gluz (Arch Enemy) could’ve been so much better, but unfortunately White-Gluz‘s vocals don’t really appear until late on in the track and, even then, are hard to distinguish clearly.
Similarly, ‘All Roads Lead To Hell’ features renown guitarist Angel Vivaldi, and, while there are some interesting guitar segments, they’re really understated in the mix and get lost amongst the rest of the track.
There’s some degree of originality that tries to seep through the veneer of what’s essentially an extremely heavy record. Whether it’s the interesting guitar solos on ‘Eyes Of The Executioner’, the technically astute use of pinch harmonics throughout ‘By Shadows Thine Held’, or the quality of the instrumentation on ‘Brushed By The Wings Of Demons’ (guitarists Cory Arford and Jordan Lockrey produce man of the match performances on what is arguably the strongest track on the record), the band can be commended for at least trying new things.
However, with Whitechapel truly bending the limitations of deathcore in 2019 and releasing an incredibly strong album, this new effort from Carnifex doesn’t show as many characteristics as they perhaps realise. The fact that this remains mostly average just doesn’t cut it in this world of plentiful music, and renders it indistinguishable from their peers.
After getting into alternative music during the mid 90s with the rise of nu-metal and pop-punk, I’ve gradually spread my interests far and wide and have a real love for metalcore, prog metal and tech metal. Amongst other things, I am a husband, father of two amazing kids, heavy metal DJ, and video game/book/nerd enthusiast!