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Friday, September 3, 2021

For All the Poetic Rage, Carnifex’s ‘Graveside Confessions’ Plays It Too Safe [Haunted Riffs]

The trajectory of Carnifex’s musical growth has been both promising and odd over the years. Always a band to count on when it comes to vicious sounding music, a major component that has set them apart from other deathcore acts is their approach to atmosphere. With their past few records, Carnifex has woven elements of symphonic black metal into their material. Whereas symphonic/electronica elements are not hard to find in the genre, the blackened edge has allowed the band to offer listeners a refreshing and elevated take on deathcore.

The odd aspect to all of that is how the band strides away from that style at times, opting for a more generic form of aggression – which is what hinders Graveside Confessions. Now don’t get me wrong, generic heaviness doesn’t always mean something negative; in the case of Graveside Confessions, the record is a banger. But the record doesn’t offer much to stand out any differently in comparison to Carnifex’s past releases. The self-titled opening exudes grim ferocity in its chilling lyrics and menacing instrumentation. It’s the type of opener that sets the mood for a theatrical rush to come – only for the rest of the album to settle into a mostly typical deathcore approach.

An exception to this is the purely instrumental cut “January Nights”, which exudes a delightfully eerie gothic aura. Yet, outside of some technical flavor and melody, the compositional flow of each song tend to play out in an almost similar manner to one another. Is it all exciting sounding? Damn right it is. But compared to what Carnifex has done in the past, there’s a lot to be desired here. Those symphonic elements do make an appearance from time to time thankfully. “Cold Dead Summer” and “Alive for the Last Time” are prime examples of the band’s deathcore sound hitting with an added emotional touch – the symphonic elements building upon the brutality to include an air of sorrow.

Alongside the band’s exhilarating instrumentation, vocalist Scott Ian Lewis once again delivers a plethora of gut-wrenching, intimately raw lyrics. The sinister and melodic tones coming from the band’s performance have always aided in emphasizing the melancholic nature of Lewis’ words. In the honest, heartbreaking way he writes, Lewis makes for a lyricist that does not hold back – crafting narratives that have the power to get under the skin and haunt. “All I see is a blood-red moon/ All I see are suicide wounds/ I could die tonight, it’s never too soon/ All I see are enemies/ It’s demons as far as I can see/ I have reoccurring vampire dreams.”

Graveside Confessions captures the rage that listeners have come to expect from Carnifex. Yet for as much as these tracks rip hard, they don’t land with the potency the band is capable of creating. There is untapped potential in the band’s use of symphonic black metal – the traces that are present here are welcomed, but Carnifex could lean into them more. It’s a style that greatly elevates the core Carnifex sound, adding another intriguing component to mesh with Lewis’ emotional lyricism. It’s a shame that rather than build upon their style or expand in new directions, Carnifex plays it comfortably on Graveside Confessions.



source https://bloody-disgusting.com/reviews/3679850/haunted-riffs-review-poetic-rage-carnifexs-graveside-confessions-plays-safe/

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