Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2018
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

Brutal deathcore - 75%

Grumpy Cat, August 24th, 2017

Carnifex is a deathcore band that fell came onto my radar because they were booked on Summer Slaughter 2016 which I attended for the sake of Nile, Suffocation and Krisiun. I became inexplicably intrigued with them, enough so to then buy tickets to Warped Tour 2017 (yes gross I know) to catch them as well as Alestorm, CKY and Municipal Waste.

Before Carnifex evolved into the band they are today though the band started as something much more humble. A fairly average and heard it before deathcore band trying to be brutal and proving that they have something to prove. All the typical deathcore gags are here, chuggy chug riffs sprinkled with pinch harmonics, the breakdowns, the alterations of deeper growls and higher screams. I'd be lying if I said they added anything to the formula too, there is some occasional sampled clean vocals usually laughing or saying some phrase including the word "fuck", some groove riffs strewn about and the breakdowns have a subtle slam metal influence to them, but nothing really special or unique.

The key here is purely that Carnifex does it better because their song writing is more compelling and meaningful. When the breakdowns hit, they truly hit hard. The motion between riffs feels natural and an actual progression can be felt in the structure of songs, it still feels like the song suddenly haphazardly devolves into a breakdown for no reason other than to add breakdowns on a few tracks like Slit Wrist Savior, but more often than not even the breakdown feels like an actual conclusion to a section of music that actually deserves to be broken down. This is Carnifex's debut effort and they already show a far better understanding for their craft than other bands do after a decade in the business.

An amazing piece of nostalgic, classic deathcore. - 88%

Erasofmisery, October 1st, 2015

I've always felt that Carnifex is a very popular deathcore band because of how well of a start they were given with the release of their first album, Dead in My Arms. 2007 in my opinion was one of deathcore's very best years due to so many debut releases being put out, and Carnifex is indeed one of the best. Since then, they have gained a large fan base and have steadily pushed themselves further and further to where they are now.

Beginning with the vocals, I think this album is Scott Lewis' best vocal performance next to Die Without Hope. His vocals sound very fresh and original here, and they are full of intensity and power. He belts out every single scream very well and has a lot of force in his vocals. In the previous EP, Love Lies in Ashes, he pig squeals on the tracks which were rerecorded on this albums. I really wish he did pig squeals on this album because they were fantastic. On here, he does more gurgling and guttural like noises rather than straight up pig squeals.

As for the guitar, the riffs themselves are great, but they definitely could've been used more. The riffs are decent, simple, catchy, and sometimes remind me of TBDM. I feel like the more they could've done in terms of creativity by adding less chugging and more riffing, the more appealing the album could have been.

For the drums, Shawn Cameron does an amazing job. The drums deliver a very powerful delivery each time you hear them and they make the album just seem more aggressive. He is able to follow very well with the rest of the band and unleashes absolute hell when he plays.

For most of the album, you can't hear the bass but on some parts there actually some instances where you can hear it. For example, during the first breakdown on Dead in My Arms, the title track. Having fully audible bass would've made the album sound even more heavy and brutal. Also, the production has a very rusty and unclean sound to it. The guitars sound very scratchy the bass sounds very thick, and the drums sound very sharp. There are a lot of breakdowns on this album, but most of them are heavy as fuck and deliver well enough. I do feel however that there could've been a bit less breakdowns because sometimes it is unnecessary to have so many.

This is a very solid deathcore release because it set the tone very well for the genre and is still a great album that influenced so many other bands. At its time and even now, it is still one hell of a deathcore album and might be my favorite album by Carnifex. What makes me love Carnifex so much is how amazing their debut effort was.

Emo? Nah. Average? Yeah, pretty much. - 55%

BlackMetal213, May 31st, 2013

Carnifex is a deathcore band. Yup. Being a deathcore band, general metalheads will likely put them off before hearing any of their music. And that is to be expected. I like deathcore, so I checked Carnifex out without hesitation, but I do not speak for the general population of metal fans. "Dead in My Arms" is Carnifex's debut full-length studio album, released on the small record label This City Is Burining in 2007. Even with limited publicity for the album, it sold quite well in the summer of 2007, catching the attention of Victory Records, which they are currently signed to. This album, while certainly not being the band's best, as well as suffering from being somewhat generic for deathcore and simple, is a solid debut. While this album is a good album, it's quite average.

As one could expect, this album is packed full of breakdowns, breakdowns, and, what's that? More breakdowns! There is not one guitar solo to be heard on this album, which of course shouldn't be surprising, as about 70% of deathcore bands use little to no guitar solos. Every song on this album has breakdowns, and more than one exist in each song. Hell, the intro track to the album is just one breakdown all the way through. The breakdowns all blend together and really are not that distinguishable from song to song. However, the breakdown containing the most ass-kickery must be the first breakdown in "Hope Dies With the Decadent" although it is right at the beginning of the song, and lasts only a short few seconds. The breakdown in "Lie to My Face" after the childish "what the fuck" sample is also decent. Cory Arford sets his guitar to a low tuning, giving the album its heavy sound. There are moments of melody on this album, specifically in the tracks "Hope Dies With the Decadent", "Lie to My Face", "Dead in My Eyes", and "Dead in My Arms". Most of the melody comes from tremolo picking, and is fairly limited. By focusing more on heaviness and groove rather than melody, it is apparent that Carnifex, unlike quite a few other deathcore bands, are not trying to be The Black Dahlia Murder. Unfortunately, as previously stated with the breakdowns melding together practically in each song, many of the songs sound strikingly similar to eachother. For some people, it might take about 7 or more straight listens to be able to tell each song apart.

Vocals. Well....it's deathcore. There are high-pitched screams, guttural growls, pig squeals, and grunts. No clean singing is heard anywhere on this album. The screams sound painful and disturbing at times, as if Scott Lewis gargled rusty nails and moonshine before recording his vocals. He sounds similar Jonny Davy from "Doom" era Job for a Cowboy in his overall vocal style. The pig squeals can get quite annoying at times, being my least favourite part of his vocal delivery. Thankfully, this is not Waking the Cadaver, and we are not treated to constant "bree bree shredded wheeeeat" squeels for the 30 minute duration of this album. Some examples of his pig squealing is during the breakdown at about 2:25 or so into the song "Love Lies in Ashes". It can get annoying, and the listener must have patience. Being somewhat of a fan of deathcore, I can tolerate it better than others, but some of my friends who generally dislike the genre sneer at this. And then soon after this song is over, on the next song "A Winter in Remorse", we get more pig squeals right away practically at the beginning of the song. Thankfully, Lewis' pig squealing decreases tremendously on albums following this one. Sometimes, it sounds like Lewis is burping, as showcased on the squealing and grunting on "My Heart in Atrophy".

The drumming on this album has to be the highlight. It is fast and furious, and fairly impressive and at some occasions, technical. Blast beats are all over the place, as well as double bass pummeling and cymbal crashing. Unfortunately this falls into the same hole as the guitars do: it sounds similar in most of the songs. The drums hardly differ from track to track, but have great consistency. Shawn Cameron is the oldest member of the band, being around 28 when this was released. Not that age matters much, as Vitek from Decapitated was only 15 when they recorded their classic "Winds of Creation", but it is clear that Cameron is not fucking around with his drumming. He is a seasoned drummer, and my theory behind the repetition of the drumming, is that the drums tend to follow the guitar riffing a lot of the time, and the guitars throughout the album are very similar and have little variation. Oh well. At least you can hear the drums, guitar, and vocals. The same cannot be said for Steve Mcmahon, the band's bassist. He is completely forgettable and not even worth mentioning.

Overall, a fairly generic and average deathcore album from a band that would improve greatly on future release, but still have much to learn. Carnifex is often given too much hate, but are actually one of the better deathcore bands, even if they had a somewhat shaky start. To sum up the review in terms of what is good and what is bad about the album, pros and cons are as follow:
Pros:
drumming is technical and full of blastbeats
some of the breakdowns due to the sheer heaviness
tremolo picking is pretty damn cool

Cons:
repetitive at times
vocals can get annoying
the lyrics sound like a depressed teenager most of the time
songs blend together and sound very similar to eachother
bass is too quiet in the mix

Top picks: "Slit Wrist Savior", "Hope Dies With the Decadent", "My Heart in Atrophy", "A Winter in Remorse", "Dead in My Arms"

Beautiful passion and pain compiled into deathcore - 86%

GuardAwakening, March 20th, 2013

Ahhh Carnifex at their debut, the times of playing music as a means to try their best to get out of their terrible and heartbroken lives. This is men doing what they do best out of poverty and I'll be totally honest, this record is a dark and timid clone of Suicide Silence but it's the passion that saves it from being more than just a clone of another band to me. Carnifex had nothing at their beginnings and getting signed to This City Is Burning was basically a blessing. With their heartbroken frontman Scott Lewis taking the mic, it was a sight that really touched listeners who payed a close enough attention to what these five (four at the time of this album) were doing with themselves.

This record is packed with the absolute usual of deathcore you would expect; guitars tuned to drop A, lots of tremolo, blast beats, breakdowns in every song and vocals that alternate between screams and growls. All the magic taken out of death metal and metalcore together are displayed here track by track into a ferocious and violent audial onslaught. One of the biggest factors I wanna talk about their members accordingly would be drummer Shawn Cameron, being the oldest member of the band, he's also one of the most talented and he plays better than many I even hear in death metal. His fills are never repetitive, his blasts are excellent and his drumming tones alone sound really good. His snare has this "smack" sound to it and it's almost like a trademark for early Carnifex. They come through the mix almost like you're going to know when he hits his snare and his bass drum almost has the same exact smack effect but just with the low bass tone to it.

Vocalist Scott Lewis here is great, I mean sure, he sounds a lot like Mitch Lucker (rest in peace), but I hate to say it, his growls are more bearable than any Lucker clone or maybe even better than the growls Lucker did himself back during the days of The Cleansing and No Time to Bleed. His growl tone is bearable and sounds like a wounded cattle and he also occasionally embodies some extremely deep gutturals such as during the breakdown to "Lie to My Face" or "My Heart in Atrophy". Lewis only was at the peak of his potential during this album, though. He would eventually find way better methods with his voice during Hell Chose Me and Until I Feel Nothing.

Finally the guitarist Cory Arford is probably the least redeeming thing here next to the bassist which is kind of sad considering not too many of these riffs are too bad, but put up against Shawn Cameron's overpowering drumming, Arford is almost completely forgettable. After hearing this album, his name could be instantly lost when put up against almost any deathcore guitarist out there. However, the one good feature about him that I can say in the very least is that he actually plays slams during a big amount of the breakdowns on this album and that's interesting because these two guitar traits are not usually combined, but he combines them on almost every breakdown the band does. He (like Lewis) improved VASTLY on later releases, but here I'll be completely honest; he just could have done more than just tremolo, sweeps and breakdowns. Not bad, but not amazing either.

Now my biggest favorite thing on this whole release (which I know will probably sound kind of lame) is definitely the lyrics. Basically take the lyrics of any depressive black metal band, inject them into deathcore and you have this. DSBM lyrics are usually incredibly groaning if not captivating and the ones dealing with heartbreak always got me the most and I think that's why I enjoy this album so much, because I can relate to the lyrics on this release and what Lewis went through during the writing process. I can do another entire paragraph praising the lyrical content of this record, but all I need here is the song "My Heart in Atrophy" as my prime example as it is an amazing first-person perspective of the exact feeling of the heartache women cause men.

Dead in My Arms is by all means not for those who can't stand typical deathcore. As an above-decent metal album that it is, it shreds, has great moments and even has one hell of a final closing track that pretty much sums up everything you spent thirty minutes listening to.... But also has a lot of songs that could end up sounding the same if you didn't give it as many spins as I did over the years. If you only like Carnifex's later material, you may not like this one, but if you LOVE their later stuff enough to want to hear their roots, this could be greatly considered. I've been a fan of this band since 2009 and that's saying something (abeit this was before Hell Chose Me was even announced for a release date).

Best songs: "My Heart in Atrophy", "Love Lies in Ashes", "Hope Dies with the Decadent", "Lie to My Face" and the title track.

Generic, boring Suicide Silence/JFAC worship - 10%

mustaine_is_god_96, September 27th, 2012

Seriously, were they even trying at this point in their career? They clearly had potential, but they were wasting it by copying every other band that came before them. Repetitive chugging, generic slam death metal-inspired breakdowns, and even pig squeals! Were they trying to be like Job For A Cowboy, the band that pretty much set the standard for modern deathcore (quite terribly if you ask me)?

Let's start with the music. It sounds like they were trying to copy Suicide Silence and add "melodic" riffs. To be honest, it's only pseudo-melody. There's nothing melodic about alternate picking a few notes that apparently sound like a melodic passage. To make things worse, EVERY song sounds the same. They're all just chugging breakdowns, pseudo-melody, and generic drumming. They even decided to throw in some pointless instrumentals in the mix, which do nothing in terms of building atmosphere, which was likely the intention.

Scott Lewis is one of my favourite vocalists, to be honest. But it's not because of his performance on Dead in My Arms. It's because of his later vocal performances on their last 2 albums, "Hell Chose Me" and "Until I Feel Nothing". On this album, he's just using generic growls and screams accompanied by pig squeals. Wow, pig squeals. Nothing says "br00tal" like uttering "bree bree hor hor" into a microphone. Once again, it's Job For A Cowboy worship. I'm just glad JFAC got tired of making deathcore and decided to move on to death metal (and actually becoming very successful musically). It's also a good thing Carnifex decided to abandon this style for more technical and melodic riffage.

Lyrically, this album is terrible. It's filled with a lot of pseudo-emotional teeny bopper bullshit subjects. It may be relatable to the "emo" crowd, but the way they wrote the lyrics was very immature. A lot of the subject matter is typical for many deathcore bands, especially the many songs about love and bad break-ups. Seriously, no one will even find these lyrics relatable aside from the "emo" crowd.

Overall, this is a very boring album. Nothing to me stands out, not even the highly glorified "Lie to My Face". If you're a die-hard Carnifex fan, you might want to listen to this album just to get an idea of how they started. Otherwise, I suggest you steer clear of this album.

What Happens When a Slam Band Plays Deathcore - 93%

MutantClannfear, July 21st, 2011

This album appears to be getting a lot of shit by people who are apparently listening to this album while looking for something beyond what the music contains. I don't know about anyone else, but I don't listen to a deathcore album expecting some sort of intelligent song structure, original riffing, or a mixed bag in terms of song structure. I listen to it expecting self-aware stupidity, chock full of however many breakdowns the band can stuff into their formula. On their first album Dead in My Arms, Carnifex certainly deliver in regards to that formula: this album is some of the heaviest, most legitimately brutal deathcore I've ever heard.

As ridiculous as this might sound, I'd say this album takes just as much influence from brutal death metal as it does deathcore. "Slit Wrist Savior" sums this up best, since it starts with a slam/breakdown that sounds like it was ripped from a Kraanium song, loaded with pinch harmonics and a shitload of bass. The alternating blast-filled riffs remind me more of some groovy goregrind band than the genre these guys set out to play. Hell, the only thing that truly confirms that this album is played by a deathcore band is 1) the fact that deathcore fans like them, and 2) the fact that this album pads out its slamdown-whatevers with a bunch of bouncy TBDM-emulating riffs. The guitar tone is truly thunderous, rivaling even Cephalotripsy and probably any other slam bands you could name, and that tone just makes it all the harsher whenever Carnifex plays one of their slamdown-whatevers.

The drumkit, coincidentally, sounds exactly like one that would be used by one of those bassloaded, groovy brutal death metal bands: flat, slightly tinny snare, rather clicky bass drum, and hollow cymbals. The drummer plays typical deathcore beats for the most part, though I wish he'd blast on the bass pedals a bit more during the breakdowns as it'd probably give the already-thuggishly heavy chugs enough energy to create a crater in the ground. The vocals alternate between high, raspy screams, dry growls, and then heavily studio-altered gurgles. I neither like nor hate the growls and screams, but the gurgles are pretty good and they give the music a bit more eerieness than it's able to create on its own.

This is one of those albums where the whole is worth more than the sum of its parts. It boasts one of the best guitar tones of all time, backed up with more groove and bass than even slam bands will venture to use, and on top of that, the music is actually good. This album's pretty much a masterpiece and it's a fun, stupid listen for deathcore fans and slam wiggers alike.

Go and draw a bubble bath, you'll feel better - 17%

autothrall, July 19th, 2010

Apparently, the little angels and demons perched upon the shoulders of the members of Carnifex disagreed with my assessment of their debut EP Love Lies in Ashes, because they inspired the band to arm themselves with some new tattoos, increased attitude and a higher production standard, re-record the EP material and tack on some newer tracks for their first full-length effort, Dead in My Arms. But while the mix of this album might crush that prior offering, the music is largely just the same shallow, empty mire of brute moshing force and mock death metal sequences that we've already experienced, with no subtlety nor intricacy. You don't come to Carnifex to think or be inspired, my friends, you come to tear it up at the local club with all your high school and college adversaries. To let all that extremity and emotion hang out of your designer jeans and hot print tees.

I'm going to focus in on a single track here to display the tragedy that is this band in all its glory. "Slit Wrist Savior" is not a new composition, having appeared on the previous EP, but here it is as crunchy as clear we're likely to achieve. We begin with a double bass driven mosh/squeal riff typical of nearly any slam/death metal act on the planet, fully bereft of charisma or quality, while the vocalist Scott Lewis gurgles and snarls out Hallmark-card-gone-Goth poetry about a wrist cutter. About :45 in, the pace picks up to a thundering old school death metal rhythm, with a fairly bleak but inoffensive pattern of notes that is quite far from evil. At 1:00 you go into a slamming, thrash rhythm, and then back to a faster death metal rhythm, which isn't all that bad when the guitar melody arrives. Then a driving, melodic death riff, and a cadence on the snare, which is about to herald the onslaught of a HUGE BRUTAL MOSH RIFF. The riff sucks, of course, just the band jamming on low or open frets while the singer growls over them, before a brilliant secondary pause for a sample 'Fine, fuck you then', and ANOTHER sledgehammer mosh riff of no interest or curiosity whatsoever.

Yes, the two or three ideas that could have been developed in the earlier riff cycle are completely tossed out the fucking window so a cadre of mindless zombies at a live gig can get their freak on, windmilling and flexing their muscles and chains at the other gym-goers. Now, if you take this process and assemble it in slightly different patterns, you've come up with the remainder of Dead In My Arms. The band even toss in more samples of people saying things like 'what the fuck' before breakdowns, in other songs! If Carnifex is having a laugh at our expense, well then, I suppose, all the power to them, but then why waste a few minutes of this record on good riffing? Yes, there are a handful of considerate guitar riffs found throughout the album, like the burst intro of "A Winter in Remorse", which doesn't last very long; or about half the riffs in "Dead in My Arms", which evoke the melodic death of At the Gates from a distance.

But staring down the barrel of this band's limited arsenal of firearms, you can be assured that there is just too much fat to trim, fat that manifests in sluggish, chugging mayhem which is not even bordering on memorable. The lyrics are horrid manipulations of basic pop vocabulary or emotional hardcore that teach us all the woes of self-esteem issues and how tough and brutal life can be. With the same subjects in mind, an increased use of metaphor and imagery could actually render a more effective result, but these are all about bleeding and breathing and closing your eyes and suffering and beauty and ripping you apart! In other words, as effortless as a Lady Gaga or Beyonce track, if not more so. I can't help but feel Carnifex, as they appear on this album, are a soulless shadow of mightier metalcore of the past, when such breakdowns were pulled off by an Earth Crisis or Converge with far more sincerity. Now it seems they're products on an assembly line of brutal forgetfulness, being operated by minimum wage laborers who simply don't care too much except to occasional flip a button.

-autothrall
http://www.fromthedustreturned.com