Review: “World War X” by Carnifex

The Seventh studio album from Carnifex has been one we’ll promoted by Nuclear Blast in the build up to it’s appearance. It’s easy for a band that has reached this stage in their career to be cruelly ignored under some misguided notion that they don’t need any help in promoting their album and spreading the word, so to Nuclear Blast we tip our hats. The San Diego California Deathcore heavyweights previous outing “Slow Death” appeared 3 years ago with a cover dominated EP “Bury Me in Blasphemy” bridging the gap. It’s also their third outing for Nuclear Blast.

The cover art depicts an apocalyptic future that is the no doubt inspired by the crushing opening title track. Gunfire, bomb blasts and the sound of shelling accompanied by a Military march and orchestral atmospheric bring Scott Ian Lewis’s skull crushing vocals and Symphonic Deathcore at its finest. The band have always trodden a path that bridges the gap between Death Metal, Blackened Deathcore and the heavy end of Metalcore and the title track encompasses all of those styles. There are some glorious Technical Death Metal moments from guitarists Cory Arford and Jordan Lockrey throughout the album and they start right here. There is an obvious comparison with Bleeding Through in places but the lyrics here aren’t the personal kind with Lewis being a storyteller. Featuring an impressive solo backed off by a short bass solo and some brutal double kick footwork “Visions of the End” continues the vibe in serious style. The use of some guitar work that borders on DJent to get a groove and stuccato riff moments to allow the bass from Fred Calderon to bleed though is masterful. There is little doubt that bodies will be in the pit to this one. Older Winds Of Plague fans will love “This Infernal Darkness” with its savage grooves and unclean throat shredding but it’s that blast beat section with its rising technical chord progressions that makes the track. The lyrics turn personal and introspective as Lewis speaks into the darkness in his mind and the keyboards from drummer Shawn Cameron create a wonderful atmospheric with a couple of nice break points as the rest of the music drops out.

Thundering in from the closing symphonic keys, “Eyes of the Executioner” is a battering ram of a tune that hits harder than a SWAT team breaking down doors in the early hours. Lewis returns to talk of the voices in his head with some incredible Demonic growlings that at times sound like he’s a man possessed by the Devil himself. Rhythmically Shawn Cameron delivers a power house performance while the track plays out with tactical strike precision at break neck pace. The first of a pair of mid album guest appearances sees Alissa White-Gluz of Arch Enemy and formerly The Agonist join the band for the first single “No Light Shall Save Us”. The melodic fade in with clean vocals from White-Gluz gives the tune some breathing space against the previously brutal cuts before everything kicks into gear and Lewis roars into life. The Swedish Blackened Death Metal inspired riffage is suitably impressive while the chugging Deathcore riffs before the solo deliver that satisfying crunch factor. White-Gluz adds an angelic vocal touch with some almost operatic harmonics underneath Lewis’s skull crushing vocals that gives the tune a cinematic quality. The second guest appearance is on “All Roads Lead to Hell” which sees the band joined by Angel Vivaldi. Face melting solos go off all over the place while the rhythm section is on fire with a serious work out on this cut. “One more nightmare that I’d kill to forget” will be the line that the audience will be screaming along to should the circle pit stop for long enough.

“Brushed by the Wings of Demons” also features an absolute face melter of a solo as well as an interesting more melodic Progressive riff break that lifts back into the main pounding groove that is simply another amazingly heavy get the pit moving anthem. There is no filler, there is no break, it’s just relentless quality. “Hail Fire” brings with it the continued variety in the guitar with with a seamless movement between Metalcore guitar tones, Black Metal and then DJent passages before going back around again. There is a HUGE breakdown followed by some siren esq guitars that burst back into the track in stunning fashion. “By Shadows Thine Held” finishes the album with the same high energy relentless pursuit of heavy that it started out with. It’s a ferocious cut that just doesn’t let up and as with the rest of the album it has plenty of nuances in the guitar work that will hit you time and time again over repeated listens. The DJent breakdown that turns into the lead tapping section is straight out of some August Burns Red before it bursts into a solo just adds to the sheer volume of technical skill on show. Everything has its rightful place and Carnifex have just just destroyed your ear drums [8.5/10]

Track listing

  1. World War X
  2. Visions of the End
  3. This Infernal Darkness
  4. Eyes of the Executioner
  5. No Light Shall Save Us (ft. Alissa White-Gluz of Arch Enemy)
  6. All Roads Lead to Hell (ft. Angel Vivaldi)
  7. Brushed by the Wings of Demons
  8. Hail Fire
  9. By Shadows Thine Held

“World War X” by Carnifex is out now via Nuclear Blast

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