Carnifex – Slow Death (Nuclear Blast)

Genre: Death Metal/Deathcore

Carnifex may be synonymous with deathcore, yet the San Diegans have enough ambition to push into new territory – something they proved with 2014’s Die Without Hope, an album that introduced us to a wider sonic tapestry than we’d found on previous efforts.

Slow Death continues that forward momentum. Sure, there are plenty of brutal ‘core passages lurking in songs such as opener Dark Heart Ceremony and the pulverising (though somewhat unimaginative) Black Candles Burning, but much of the album is cloaked in a sinister atmosphere – and it sounds more akin to symphonic death metal than street-level pit-fodder. Drown Me In Blood is a prime example, balancing dazzling leadwork with subtle synths to great effect as it drags you into a dark dimension.

The quintet’s sixth opus will also get its hooks deep into after a couple of plays, with the anthemic Six Feet Closer To Hell pick of the bunch: it’s a crushing, chugging, leviathan of a tune, punctured by blastbeats and infernal melodies, and boasting a monstrous chorus.

And like much of Slow Death, Six Feet… is proof, if it was needed, that Carnifex can write classy extreme metal – regardless of which genre they supposedly represent.