I had a quick check and we first featured Carnifex on these pages back in 2015. Jim caught them at the Cathouse and had a chat with drummer Shawn before the show, too. He’s a big fan, but missed out on grabbing this album… which I did on the strength of his review of Slow Death in 2016.
And you know something? He wasn’t wrong. Carnifex are something special and World War X demonstrates this well. At first listen you get the obvious blast of extreme/death metal, but it doesn’t take long for the little sparks to shine in the darkness, especially if you take the time to really pay attention.
The opening and title track is brutal, but also multi-layered and melodic in places but the first song that really turned my head was “This Infernal Darkness”. Absolutely brim full of atmosphere, it counterpoints the skin-shredding heaviness with moments of lucidity, turning a regular headbanger into a much more mature and enjoyable piece of music. The thing is, it would still go down well live as it’s not too “off the wall”.
If you want your brain flayed, just play “Eyes of the Executioner” on repeat, but then you’d be missing out on “No Light Shall Save Us” (with additional vocals by Alissa White-Gluz). And that would be a shame. Keyboard stabs provide emphasis before the bass notes chop down like heavy machine gun fire, and Scott Ian Lewis plays vocal ping pong with White-Gluz.
It’s been a while since I’ve really been taken by a particularly heavy album, at least in this vein. Carnifex have made up for this, in blood-drenched spades. Just the right amount of technical, just the right amount of blast beats, just the right amount of keyboards. This is a Goldilocks album. They’ve got it just right.
Jim’s two cents
I stumbled across Mosh’s review whilst doing some copy editing and figured it was worth adding my two cents as I’ve had chance to listen to the album as well.
Like Slow Death, Carnifex have continued their trend of mixing black metal elements with deathcore and this time have got the balance just right. The band have continued to work with Mick Kenney from Anaal Nathrakh and it truly shows. World War X is much more visceral and aggressive which is what makes it, like Mosh says, a Goldilocks album.
World War X is out on August 2nd