She was only 15 years old. A beautiful girl, she walked the halls of our high school befriending everyone, seemingly happy and healthy. Tremendous in the classroom, a loving sister and daughter, her future appeared as bright as her smile. That’s what we all thought. Until one morning we were brought together as a school to learn that she had taken her life. Another devastating loss that should never have been. This is mental illness.
Carnifex, with their upcoming 6th album, Slow Death (Nuclear Blast), addresses the unending pains that manifest for those with severe emotional trauma , and do so with the hardest work in their career. It may also be their finest.
Dark Heart Ceremony introduces the dark vibe found throughout Slow Death with eerie and captivating piano and orchestral arrangement. That is, before dynamic vocalist Scott Lewis erupts with fury as the blast beats pound home. Promise of what may unfold in the next 37 minutes, Dark Heart Ceremony is a proclamation that those in suffering are not alone, and need not suffer in isolation. Even more, it’s a strong open hand to the listener, assuring all that Carnifex has weathered demons as well.
Drown Me In Blood shows us exactly what the intention is, and exemplifies the power and strength of the machine it will be filtered through. “That song is basically about if you were trying to put negative emotions and depression into physical form,” the frontman explains. “In this case, the metaphor is blood. You’re overcome by all of the things you feel you can’t fight against whether they’re emotional, physical, or related to a relationship. It takes the perspective of the negativity, and then it assumes the view of the person trying to cope with that negativity.”
Since 2005, the San Diego deathcore assembly has built a following by incorporating diverse musical elements and sounds into their extreme base. Slow Death is outlined with black metal brilliance, dabbed here and there on tracks like Black Candles Burning and Life Fades To a Funeral, and evident at times in Lewis delivery. It is downright painful, enduring then pondering the true meaning of songs that rip open the heartache and expose the blackness inside. But, it’s important work, and for those who’ve contemplated if their lives mean anything, if it’s worth waking up to another day, I hope you find any reason to do just that- let Carnifex help you as well.
You can’t create gut-level emotion without having experienced it. There is just no way to fake it. A branch on the tree that is mental disease is unfiltered anger, and Necrotoxic and Pale Ghost address the boil under the skin and then detonate emotions skillfully. Lest we forget, all this done while the bass thunders and guitars shred artfully. Slow Death is a musical masterpiece in its own right, not to be lost in the lyrical greatness and cathartic potential.
To suggest that a song, album, or band can prevent suicide is reckless and that is not my intention. Serious medical attention and support is absolutely necessary. But we don’t always recognize pain for what it is, or in time to help. If music can be the life support until someone in need receives professional guidance, then we should all thank artists- I know I do. Slow Death is an awareness, a note-by-note and word-by-word wake-up call. “The whole album discusses trying to let that out. If you’re feeling those feelings, I may not be able to tell you how to not fix them, but at least you have someone to commiserate with. My hope is fans can relate and connect.”
Thank you sincerely Carnifex.
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