CARNIFEX
"Until I Feel Nothing"

(Victory)

01. Deathwish
02. We Spoke of Lies
03. A Grave to Blame
04. Dead But Dreaming
05. Creation Defaced
06. Dehumanize
07. Until I Feel Nothing
08. Never Forgive Me
09. Wretched Entropy
10. Curse My Name

RATING: 7.5/10

The only significant issue with CARNIFEX's 2010 release "Hell Chose Me" was that the deathcore bruisers fell a little short of making an album with the kind of songwriting that could push them further away from the herd. They weren't far from accomplishing that feat and the album was still better than average, not to mention one defined by a musical approach akin to the charge of a steroid-injected rhinoceros. Those rhino characteristics are retained, even enhanced, on new album "Until I Feel Nothing", but this time CARNIFEX also brings to the table a much improved approach to songwriting. Some might call that the complete package.

More than just 10 tracks of brutal deathcore, these are 10 tracks of smartly composed, relatively distinct, and even memorable tracks of brutal deathcore. The pace is typically furious and the breakdowns frequent, yet well placed and thunderous, but the fact that tracks like "We Spoke of Lies" and "A Grave to Blame" are infused with just enough melody to make the choruses memorable is where the game has been raised. The incorporation of programming and string arrangements by Ashley Jurgemeyer works as more than just window dressing too; it actually enhances the appeal of songs like "Dead but Dreaming", "Curse My Name", and the aforementioned "A Grave to Blame". Several tunes — "Creation Defaced" and "Never Forgive Me" in particular — are just as notable for some compelling arrangements, which often comes down to impacting transitions and various sorts of shading in the guitar work that take equal amounts of death metal's old and new. Vocalist Scott Lewis does a fine job of changing up his demonic screams with mid-range sections and guttural lows. The malicious intent he spews with the lines "I dream of the end of the world" and "I'll burn this world down to the fucking round" during the final section of "Creation Defaced" are lyrical kicks to the gut and outright attention-grabbers. Dan Castleman's engineering, a Jason Suecof mix, and a tag team production from the band and Tim Lambesis (AS I LAY DYING) collectively packs on hell of a punch.

So consider those musical attributes in the context of an album that often sounds as though OCEANO and THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER had a serious disagreement that could only be solved through an all-out brawl. That'll give you a good idea of what to expect from "Until I Feel Nothing". CARNIFEX may not be building a legacy of deathcore wheel reinvention. They do however continue to do what they do pretty well and then make it better each time they enter a recording studio.

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