I’m fairly certain I first heard Carnifex in high school from one of those “Br00tal Breakdowns” YouTube compilations and I really haven’t thought about them a tonne since. When I saw they had a new album, they’re seventh full-length, I really didn’t know what to expect. World War X is pretty diverse for a deathcore album, with other styles of extreme metal poking out through the nine tracks. I can’t say Carnifex are doing anything you’ve never heard before, but they’re doing a really good job of it on World War X.
The album kicks off with its title track, a Black Dahlia Murder-esque death metal tune with a few breakdowns and melodic elements sprinkled throughout. This mash of styles continues throughout songs like “Eyes of the Executioner,” “Brushed by the Wings of Demons,” and, my favourite from World War X, “Hail Hellfire.” The guitar onslaught and merciless drumming throughout “Hail Hellfire” just gets my juices flowing. The keyboards that show up sporadically throughout the song could have easily been overbearing, but the band showed some much-appreciated restraint and kept the keys subtle. Carnifex does a pretty good job of implementing melody throughout the album without it feeling forced or taking away from the heaviness of a given song. It’s not as though the band are reinventing the deathcore wheel, but it’s nice to hear them willing to push the genre’s boundaries.
The only real problem I have with World War X is the cheese factor. By no means are Carnifex the only band in the deathcore/tech-death realm that flirt with the fromage, and shit, it can be a lot of fun in a live setting. But I can’t help but roll my eyes during the try-hard theatrical vocals of Arch Enemy’s Alissa White-Gluz during “No Light Shall Save Us.” Some of the lyrics on World War X are swimming in queso as well (that’s “cheese” in three languages so far). Lines such as “I’d sell my soul just so death can take me back” from the closing track “By Shadows Thine Held” are just too bland for my liking. The käse (four languages) might not be a problem for you, but it’s something I noticed on re-listens.
World War X probably isn’t an album I would have given a listen to. I’ve seen Carnifex in the last few years and they put on a great live show, but they’re not one of those bands I’ve kept up with. That said, I’m glad I gave this thing a chance. The band is as heavy as I remember, and they’ve got a few musical tricks up their sleeves. If you’re in the mood for some hi-fi aggression, World War X is worth checking out.
Written by Justin Bruce
*edited by Mike Milito