Monday, July 19, 2010

Carnifex - Love Lies in Ashes EP (2006)

With every movement in extreme metal or any other genre of music, there are trend-setters and ass-stabbers. Trend-setters come along completely out of the blue, with a fresh spin on several previous formats, or even more rarely, something entirely different. Ass-stabbers just copy the blueprints that have manifested before them, with as big a budget and rockstar charisma as possible to ensure they can leapfrog over the trend-setters into the iPods and high school locker pinup pics of the crass and impressionable youth of American (and beyond). Carnifex is one of those entities who have taken the 'deathcore' style and just run with it, but not very far.

Almost as an indicator to just how pop-savvy and child aware this California band is, they open this teaser EP with a 40 Year Old Virgin sample. Great movie, mind you, but here this sample is used to thrust the listener into the band's immediate mindset, which is to evoke a whole lotta useless chug riffs and FUCK YOU UP MA'AN! Yes, Carnifex are about moshpits for your neighborhood, suburban 'rebels' that fit the profile of the modern 'emo'. I'm not opposed to such violence if it could somehow mesmerize me into my own state of caveman brutality, but as I mentioned, Carnifex are doing absolutely nothing interesting within this field. Primal, hammering mid to fast-paced rhythms lapse into mosh/squeal riffs stolen from countless brutal USDM acts, and then occasionally the band will slow things down even more to a mix of death and old school metalcore breakdowns that were pioneered by Earth Crisis and other blockheads back in the day.

Love Lies in Ashes consists of four tracks, and it was intended as a demo, but released through the web where the band arrived at much of their fandom. "Collaborating like Killers" starts at a fairly rapid pace, then devolves into a series of uninteresting chug riffs, especially the one around 3:00 in the song which sounds about as redundant as you can get. Just because you play your bottom frets open, in simplistic bludgeoning patterns, and then use guttural vocals over them, does not in any way make them heavy, and unless you're a 15 year old jock with a lot of excess testosterone to spill at a Carnifex gig, I can't see any entertainment value. "Love Lies in Ashes" offers the exact same formula, teasing you with a riff you might kick out of bed in the morning, then erupting into the same old, heavy ended chugging, which then segues into even more generic chugging. When will it fucking end? Not on this EP! "Slit Wrist Savior" is practically identical in construction, as is "Hope Dies with a Decadent". I seriously had to check the track list to make sure I was not merely repeating the same track on end.

This is terrible music which probably did not take these gentlemen more than a half hour to conceive, tops. The vocalist shifts from guttural grunting to higher pitched screams, as if this were grindcore, but unlike Carcass, they are neither funny nor creepy. The guitarists wrote a few riffs that were melodic like the At the Gates plagiarists Black Dahlia Murder, a few more that sound like Suffocation and Cannibal Corpse, and just filled in everything in between with awful romp-core mosh-poop for a misspent youth. Remember how that breakdown in "Raining Blood" was so effective 20 years before Carnifex released this? That was a breakdown. This? This is just toilet training for the LCD, extreme metal/hardcore novice who doesn't have the self-esteem to shop outside Hot Topic or the few vacant brain cells necessary to track down something better in the bins. Time for a courtesy flush.

Verdict: Epic Fail [1/10]

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