EP Review: Carnal Decay – When Push Comes To Shove

After only a year since the release of the band’s acclaimed fourth full length record You Owe, You Pay, Swiss brutal death metallers Carnal Decay hit us with a ferocious three track EP When Push Comes to Shove.

Heaviness and out-and-out brutality are hallmarks of this Swiss four piece, but with When Push Comes to Shove they have added a truckload of groove and catchiness to the mix and, by god, it works well.

Opening, and title, track “When Push Comes to Shove kicks proceedings off with a murderously plodding riff accompanied by Michael Kern’s vocals which are more subterranean than guttural and really jar the listener to the core. The pace then picks up into a blasting beast, punctuated by guitarist Isabelle Iten’s impressive harmonic leads, before finishing with a slamming riff which is both heavy and catchy in equal measure. A strong start to the record but better is to come…

Second track, “Food For Thought” drops you off a wall of frenetic, breakneck blasting before drummer Sebastian Mantel slows things down into a mid-tempo beast of an anthem which really gets the blood pumping, driven by his machine like double bass. There is a much more slam like quality to the mid-part of this song but the highlight has to be the breakdown which follows, slowing the track down to a graven, crawling riff so catchy it will have your neck sinews working overdrive. All the more impressive is this track’s ability to sacrifice none of it’s aggressive brutality aided by Igor Fil’s (Katalepsy) guest vocals which are unforgivingly vicious.

Not to be outdone, highlight of the EP “We All Bleed Red” follows a similar pattern to its predecessor beginning at a frenetic pace before slowing to a thrash like riff which is simply jaw droppingly catchy and is again elevated by Iten’s technically excellent lead work. The tempo again slows to allow a classic almost Pantera like riff to develop which is as crunchingly groovy as the previous. If your neck hurt after the second track, you’ll have to lie-down after this one is finished with you.

This record really leaves an impression with it’s groove and catchiness. At the same time, the band show a maturity and confidence which is often lacking in this genre, by really slowing things down. This works really well and enhances the overall feeling of groove yet doesn’t sacrifice any of the band’s trademark brutality. My only complaint is at just over ten minutes, I wish the journey had continued longer. However, if When Push Comes To Shove is a sign of things to come, it will be well worth any future wait.

When Push Comes to Shove is out now on Rising Nemisis Records.

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