Regular readers of this blog know that I love me some Carnifex, so let’s just say I’m going into this review a little biased. However, I would like to point out that I had some apprehension before my first listen. Carnifex is on Victory Records, which is by far one of the crappiest labels in existence, and bands have been known to slowly turn into the pathetic metalcore known to be put out by the label that made Hawthorne Heights and Atreyu popular. Since Hell Chose Me would be the second release for the ‘Fex on Victory, I had to wonder if the new record would be a bunch of over-produced, watered-down garbage made for boys in eyeliner and tours with Hatebreed. Beyond that, as much as I have praised the idea of death metal with hardcore breakdowns, I will readily admit that deathcore is already starting to get stale, so I would not have been surprised if Carnifex’s new offering sounded fairly familiar.
Well Bellions, you can plainly see from the header that this album was not good enough to make it into the coveted “So Sick It Hurts” category, but that doesn’t mean it was bad. The release is actually pretty solid, but I don’t think it was anywhere near as interesting as the band’s last album, The Diseased and the Poisoned, which was just fucking destructive as all hell. But let me give credit to the band for trying to keep things a little fresh. There were some changes made to the sound, although I don’t think they necessarily made anything better or worse. For example, the growled, death vocals are not as prevalent, instead being replaced with more of the black metal sound. I personally liked the Cookie Monster vocals, but in the big scheme of things this didn’t really come off as a big deal. As for the music itself, Carnifex delivers an album that is played with more speed and less breakdowns than before. I would say the shift sort of resembles what Job for a Cowboy did a few albums back, moving away from the “-core” aspect and more toward the “death.”
Speaking of the breakdowns, those present on this album lack the insanity they have in the past, which is disappointing. One of my favorite things about Carnifex was how intense all that chugging could get. Oh well. While I’m complaining, I also want to point out that the album art is lame as balls.
So where exactly do I stand on this album? I’d say it’s worth the listen, but I can’t tell anyone to run out and buy it. I think this release sort of gives us an idea of where the genre of deathcore is going. By that I mean this: Bands will probably realize that they need to change things up a bit, but nobody is going to figure out how to make things as exciting as they were a few years ago.