ALBUM REVIEW: Carnifex – Necromanteum


If there’s one redeeming quality to Carnifex’s new record, it’s guitarist and relative newcomer Neal Tiemann. The string slayer’s adept finger-tapping during boisterous guitar solos does its best to keep Necromanteum (Nuclear Blast Records) afloat despite a myriad of deficiencies.

The California-based five-piece’s ninth studio album emphatically embraces symphonic elements. Though still deathcore, it’s over encumbered by superfluous and oftentimes mediocre electronics. Even the I Spy Spooky Mansion level artwork reveals the album’s lack of confidence.


The hit-or-miss nature of said symphonics is hard to ignore despite the wall of sound encompassing it. But Tiemann, who arrived but a year prior, assuredly makes his presence felt, especially on “Architect Of Misanthropy”. Founding members Scott Ian Lewis (vocals) and Shawn Cameron (drummer) are still present, so expect heretical harsh vocals and dastardly drums.


However, other problems persist on “Crowded In Everblack”. A nails-on-chalkboard ear-sore creeps in the background, and unlike in grindcore, it’s not complementary here. It’s as if AI actually has penetrated society and is controlling the narrative against our will. It’s frustrating and borderline illogical to suggest Necromanteum would be a full letter grade better without the electronics – you can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube, after all. But it’s baffling that a band would want to completely saturate what originally would have been a pretty upstanding record.


At least there’s stylish soloing with character and panache. But that can be found just about anywhere these days.


Maybe I’m a curmudgeon or an old relic who is watching the world pass him by without adapting and reinventing oneself to withstand the test of time. But if deathcore is going in the direction of bombarding tracks with artificial electronics – and not always expertly produced, at that – we should either rebrand a new subgenre or this author needs to find a new way to explore what used to be a brutal, earth-shattering brand of metal.


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6 / 10