Music

Carnifex: Hell Chose Me

This California-based quintet are lost in the pack of deathcore bands that are popular right now -- and with nothing to distinguish their sound, this new album only helps them stay lost.


Carnifex

Hell Chose Me

Label: Victory
US Release Date: 2010-02-16
UK Release Date: 2010-02-15
Label website
Artist website
Amazon
iTunes

As a genre, metal has almost always had a whipping boy, a subgenre that constantly gets criticized as being "false" and destroying metal. In the past, it's been hair metal, nu metal, and metalcore. The newest whipping boy is deathcore, the latest trend of bands delivering the most brutal, pummeling, intense music possible. And while deathcore may not actually be destroying metal, it has definitely lost its originality very quickly. Given the number of bands playing that style now, combined with the rather limited range of musical options, it didn't take long for the deathcore sound to become stale and boring. As such, most deathcore bands don't have many individual characteristics, and it's hard to distinguish one from another. Such is the case with Carnifex, a California-based deathcore quintet signed to Victory Records. Their third full-length record, Hell Chose Me, is more of the same from a band already following a very simplistic formula.

Hell Chose Me has much of what you'd expect from a standard deathcore album. The guitars are tuned down beyond reasonable levels for most metal bands, and most of the riffs are very one-dimensional and easily forgotten. The vocals range from basement-level grunts to the much-maligned deathcore "pig squeal", which becomes grating and harsh on the ears very quickly. Neither style makes understanding the lyrics even a remote possibility in most cases. The bass is barely even present in the mix, only becoming perceptible when the guitars aren't playing. The song structures alternate between blindingly fast sections and sludge-laden, impossibly slow breakdowns that last entirely too long to even be called breakdowns. There are even some songs where the entire song is basically an extended breakdown, which defeats the purpose of having one in the first place.

However, to the band's credit, there is an acoustic intro to the track "Heartless" and an acoustic outro on album closer "Genocide Initiative", both of which help to break up the pace and give listeners a short rest from the sonic beatdown. And even with their complete lack of composition skills, the band are remarkably tight with their playing, staying together through very complex time changes and patterns. Most of this is due to drummer Shawn Cameron, who holds the songs together with his razor-sharp drumming technique.

Carnifex do change one thing about their sound since their last album, The Diseased and the Poisoned, and that is their lyrical content. Although most listeners wouldn't be able to tell without the assistance of printed lyrics, the lyrics on Hell Chose Me almost exclusively deal with anti-religion and anti-establishment topics. While these topics are not new in metal, they are not commonly seen in deathcore, since most deathcore bands deal with violence and murder in their lyrics to match the ferocity on their music. In some ways, these new lyrics help Carnifex to gain an identity apart from their peers, but the band will need to work hard to avoid having these lyrics seem like a gimmick to attract more listeners.

Diehard fans of deathcore will likely call this record one of the best records of the year, but for other metal fans who aren't buying into the hype, this is just another in a long series of deathcore albums that do nothing but assault the eardrums of listeners with the same tired breakdowns and dissonant patterns of the past. Carnifex are good at what they do, but Hell Chose Me doesn't offer anything new or different, and like most other deathcore bands, that will always be their biggest shortcoming.

4

The 70 Best Albums of 2019

From forward-looking electronic and experimental to new approaches in the ever-evolving R&B scene, from hip-hop and punk to rock and pop, 2019 bestowed an embarrassment of musical riches upon us.

Music

The 10 Best Electropop Albums of 2019

From bubbly, perky synthpop to the deepest of darkwave, electropop in 2019 reflected the general malaise by forging the brightest of pop to forget the bad times on the one hand, and embracing downtempo textures and moods on the other.

Music

Codeine Club Music: 10 Sizzurp Rappers and Their Lean Lyrics

Southern Houston rappers put a twist on old blues musicians' mix of cough syrup and booze and stirred it up into a more dangerous concoction. Here are 10 rappers who took the brew from their double-cups and dropped the purple drank / sizzurp / Texas tea / "lean" into their lyrics to mixed effect.

Music

Brits in Hot Weather #19

This week we have shadowy trap from Jordan Comolli, grime infused techno from Barney Lister, eclectic indie from Weird Milk, lo-fi indie pop from Tricky Juno, and an absolute belter from Two Tribes.

Music
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2018 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.