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Calm Down People It's Not That Bad! - 81%

Nokturnal_Wrath, November 27th, 2013

I don’t know what people were expecting to get when listening to The Disease and the Poisoned as this album seems to draw a lot of criticisms from people who were listening to this music whilst looking for something more than what it contains. I’d like to get this out of the way first; yes this is indeed deathcore and most certainly fits all the criteria for it. It’s obnoxiously tough guy, the guitar tone is crunchy and abrasive, the breakdowns are incredibly thuggish and moronic yet none of this hinders this album in anyway. The Disease and the Poisoned is some of the most stereotypical deathcore I've heard yet for some reason I strangely enjoy it.

It seems strange that I like this album so much considering this is deathcore to the bones. There’s nothing really separating this from the crowd but damn if this isn't some solid and admittedly well written deathcore. The melodic riffs present on this album are actually interesting and provide more than simply being a break from the unrelenting blasting and chugging sections. The harder, more moronic sections are enjoyable as well; the guitar tone is incredibly thick and chunky whilst the low growls are powerful and aggressive. This band certainly doesn't deserve to be hated so much.

Vocally this album is a mixed bag, whilst the low growls are incredibly powerful and deep, the higher pitched screams are rather undeveloped. However this is only a minor flaw and this doesn't hinder the album too much. The guitar work is quite typical for deathcore, a heavy focus is played on the palm muted riffs along with a heavy focus on breakdowns (there’s two or three per song). Interestingly enough the breakdowns actually work in the bands favor, actually fitting in with the song and not hurting their momentum they’re surprisingly enjoyable. In fact, the overall flow of this album is very good. None of the transitions between heavier sections and melodic riffs ever feel out of place. Despite the somewhat sterile production values the album overall has a very organic feel to it. Songs are constantly moving with no one section being focused on for too long, none of it ever gets tiring and this album keeps entertaining throughout. The drumming on this album is phenomenal and differs greatly from the overused formula of “blast beat, breakdown and repeat”, the drummer always has extra tricks under his sleeves constantly surprising the listener with interesting patterns.

Carnifex is a band for those looking for deathcore with a hefty amount of death metal thrown into the mix and are not turned off by excessive amounts of self-aware stupidity. However, whilst overall this album is very good much of the album sounds very similar with not enough differentiation being present within each song. Most of the songs have the same structure of fast and heavy sections followed by breakdowns and the occasional melodic riffs. Thankfully the music is well written enough so I can look past the rather one dimensional song writing. Yes this is obnoxiously tough guy and the lyrics are ridiculous but it’s hard to argue with music so catchy.

Progress...Progress... - 70%

BlackMetal213, October 2nd, 2013

Everyone in the metal community by now is familiar with, or has at least heard of Carnifex. They are a deathcore band from California. This is a step up from their first album "Dead In My Arms" in both production, as well as musical integrity. While "Dead In My Arms" is an okay album, it is average at best and was definitely a shaky start for one of the most elite deathcore bands. Yup, with this release, Carnifex definitely grows a pair and move to more of a straight up death metal sound, albeit very melodic, which would continue in the band's following albums.

The one thing that sticks out most to the listener upon first listen is the production value. This album was released on Victory Records, which is a huge step up from the label This City Is Burning, which released the band's EP and debut album. Everything on this album is crystal clear, the guitars have a very nice tone to them, and the drums don't have that tinny sound they had on "Dead In My Arms", but more of a crisp, clean sound, especially with the snare drum. The blast beats on this album are just as good as they were on the debut, and with the drum roll starting off the second track and first actual song on the album "In Coalesce With Filth and Faith", we know the drumming on this album will be top notch. The drummer Shawn Cameron steals away a lot of the show throughout the album, with his blast beats as well as his double bass and beatdown drumming techniques. "The Nature of Depravity" features some of the best drumwork on the album, with an insane amount of double bass and blast beats. Turned all the way up, the listener can feel the pulse of the drumming beating through his/her brain. And it feels amazing.

The drumwork is not all the album has going for it. Another thing that will take the listener by surprise is the fantastic guitar work. Sure, there are breakdowns in every song, about 2 to 3 of them actually...but they are placed very well throughout the song in between very melodic, yet brutal and crushing death metal riffs. That's right, death metal. If it wasn't for the breakdowns, this would be considered a death metal album. I mean...just listen to "Adornment of the Sickened". The intro to that song is straight up death metal. The riffs are much more evil than they were on the previous album, yet they take a lot of influence from melodic death metal, especially the Swedish bands like At the Gates, early In Flames, early Dark Tranquillity, and early Soilwork...Sure, people will write this band off as a standard clone of The Black Dahlia Murder for this, but that is far from the truth. The breakdowns may get to be too much at times and seem monotonous, but they are placed very well throughout the album so they don't get that boring. As previously stated, most of the songs go from a melodic, yet very death metal riff, to a breakdown, to another death metal riff, to a breakdown...and no, there are no guitar solos on this album anywhere, so don't hold your breath. But that does not take away from the intensity of the music. It shows that a band does not need to rely on guitar solos and technical riffing to make a good album. One thing about the breakdowns on this album that differ from the ones on "Dead In My Arms" is that they sound closer to the breakdowns used in metalcore, rather than the ones used in slam death metal, which was more so the case in "Dead In My Arms". Not that it's that big a deal, it's just a small yet noticeable difference. There are still slam inspired breakdowns however, such as the one at the end of "In Coalesce With Filth and Faith" and at the end of "The Diseased and the Poisoned" (which by the way features some of the best melodeath riffs on the entire album). Speaking of melodic death metal..."Enthroned In Isolation" definitely is an amazing way to close the album. It features amazing breakdowns, contrasted with some of the most melodic riffing on the album, almost making the listener this At the Gates? No, it's still Carnifex...but still. It's quite rad.

The vocal delivery on this album is somewhat more mature compared to previous releases as well, as there is a noticeable decrease in pig squeals, which, I admit have grown on me tremendously, but Scott Lewis seems to have scrapped them from his technique. This also showcases the band moving more into the territory of death metal. The lyrics are still fairly typical for deathcore...heartbreak, relationships, etc. But they aren't quite as "extreme" as with previous releases.

And the bass should definitely be mentioned. Sometimes I wonder, how the fuck does Fred Calderon still have hands? The bass on this albums is audible, and very very heavy, especially the moment before a breakdown. Be careful when playing this through shitty car speakers, because they will crackle. A lot. This guy knows how to get a breakdown started for sure, and keeps flow with the guitarists very well. Overall, this is a solid deathcore album and a major improvement over "Dead In My Arms". I look forward to the album they have coming out next year, as with every album, they get better and better. So, cheers to Carnifex, one of the best deathcore bands ever to have been conceived.

A step in the right direction, but mediocre - 45%

mustaine_is_god_96, September 27th, 2012

Following up the atrocity that was "Dead in My Arms", Carnifex decided to stop worshipping their peers and instead venture on their own musical path. And musically, they've improved. They've added a lot more melody to their music, which would become very prominent on their next 2 albums. Unfortunately, it doesn't do this album much justice.

Like I said, musically it's a good album. They added in a lot of melody, from Gothenburg inspired riffs from sources like At the Gates, to just the usual melodic passages from metalcore before the moshing begins. The breakdowns are less slam death metal inspired and more metalcore-ish, though they are still almost thrown in there for the sake of having 2 or 3 breakdowns in a song. The drums are a little more inspired compared to the last album, where it was pretty much just monotony. He actually adds a lot more variety instead of just spamming blast beats. So musically, they come close to avoiding becoming hung, drawn, and boring.

The vocals have changed a bit. The pig squeals are long gone, but the airy growls remain. The highs, however, have developed some raspiness, which take some time to get used to, but overall are enjoyable to listen to. It still doesn't help much that the vocals are considered typical deathcore. I guess it's because Scott's voice lacks character. He's nowhere near the level of a legendary death metal vocalist like Glen Benton, John Tardy, or Barney Greenway.

While the music does save this album a bit, the lyrics have not changed one bit. The song titles may seem different ("In Coalesce with Filth and Faith", "Adornment of the Sickened", Aortic Dissection"), but the emo teeny bopper bullshit lyrics are still there. I honestly thought they were better than this, but they continue to write fairly immature lyrics. At least it's less prominent than on their atrocious debut.

Overall, it was an improvement musically, but the lyrics really hold this album back. The final product: great melodic riffs, better breakdown placement, removal of pig squeals... but same immmature emo lyrics.

Less than stellar, but still enjoyable - 72%

Vautour, July 6th, 2012

I have to admit that while I didn't like "The Diseased and the Poisoned" when it was released almost four years ago, I have grown to really like it in the meantime. It is easy to dismiss Carnifex's second album as a light version of Whitechapel. Just take "This Is Exile" and get rid of the atmospheric lead-guitar work, the more subtle parts of some songs and replace Phil Bozeman with a standard-issue deathcore vocalist - voilà, "The Diseased and the Poisoned" is ready for digestion.

And this still holds true. Unlike their more recent, more well-written albums, Carnifex don't exactly outdo themselves as songwriters on this one. Fast tremolo part with blastbeats, breakdown, fast part, melodic thrash riff, slam-death part, breakdown, melodic thrash riff, done. While this is the case with most of their songs, they began to add more hooks on "Hell Chose Me". Catchy choruses (at least as far as growls can be catchy), less generic breakdowns, riffs that hint at a subtle black-metal influence and much more - none of which can be found here.

If I were to show somebody how "standard-issue deathcore" sounds, I would play "The Diseased and the Poisoned". But that is also the case because it is standard-issue deathcore done right. All of the musicians are good and know what they are doing, but none of them is showing off. The vocalist can both scream and growl. There are no dubstep influences or crap like that. There is no ballad. The sound is thick but not unrealistic or overdone. Even the artwork is kind of good, but not really an eyecatcher. From start to finish, the album is 33 minutes of good deathcore - nothing more, nothing less.

While I mostly prefer the more progressive, technical or somewhat complex approach in both death metal and deathcore, I find some bands that are just good and not exceptional more enjoyable at times. Maybe it's just me, but I wouldn't want to listen to Necrophagist all day long. If you enjoy deathcore and don't mind if it's less than spectacular, give this a listen. If you'd rather listen to Carnifex's masterpiece, give "Hell Chose Me" a try.

Oh Come On, It's Not That Bad... - 60%

MutantClannfear, January 1st, 2011

Hmm...this is strange. I have heard this album surrounded by nothing but venomous hate ever since I discovered it. Fair enough - I mean, it is deathcore, which is an almost-universally terrible genre of music. But I thought people openly praised deathcore when it was decent; I cite The Red Chord's Fused Together in Revolving Doors as an example. But this really isn't a terrible album. It's a bit repetitive, sure - but the basic formula the songs use is pretty good overall. Carnifex's 2008 release The Diseased and the Poisoned follows the basic deathcore formula, but is able to escape the grasp of monotony by using enough originality in the riffs to keep the basic deathcore formula at least a bit interesting. The drums are nothing special, and the vocalist is more or less an average emo-looking deathcore vocalist. Without the guitarwork, this album would be no more worth your time than Suicide Silence or Emmure.

What is so great about these guitars? Well, for one, they are a lot more melodic than most deathcore is content to be, and at the same time they don't fail to be brutal. Most of the riffs are fast, and sometimes use tremolos, usually to emphasize melody...of course, that's not to say that the band doesn't have their chugging moments, and especially not to say that these moments don't get boring or annoying. Riffs like those at the beginning of "In Coalesce With Filth and Faith" and 0:35-0:55 of "Adornment of the Sickened" are some of the choice cuts from this album, but none of the material falls below mediocre. Breakdowns are usually no more than two per a song, but they are mercifully short, and don't often sidetrack long before the band reverts back to a riff. Carnifex's vocalist is probably where this formula falls short, however: his growls are a bit airy (but passable), but the real problem are the highs. They are much higher than Suicide Silence's highs, but they have added raspiness to them so they don't sound entirely like pure screaming. Even then, the vocals as a whole are quite annoying to listen to, simply because there isn't enough variation in the vocalist's arsenal to keep the formula from going stale five songs into the album. The drums in this album are triggered (especially the snare), which I don't have a problem with, but it will undoubtedly send hundreds of elitists into a frenzy. Triggers aside, I like his playing technique. He doesn't abuse the blast beat to the point of monotony; he uses many different styles throughout the album, and although he doesn't use many fills, the music doesn't feel incomplete or generic.

But the only place this album falls flat on its face is lyrically. Almost all of it consists of swooning love songs and emo anthems that are cheesier than you could ever imagine. Just look at the song titles... "Answers in Mourning"? "Innocence Died Dreaming"? "To My Dead and Dark Dreams"? What the fuck, Carnifex. That's a new low, even for a deathcore band. Another flaw is that the quality of the album seeps through your hands like sand the further you get into it. Carnifex placed the five best songs at the very beginning of the album, so after you listen to them there's really not much more to see.

Overall, this is a good deathcore album and I very much liked it, though I doubt many others in the metal universe will agree with me. Point is, if you basically know what kind of band Carnifex is, you should already know whether or not you like the album. But yes, actual metalheads that will like this album are few and far between. With that out of the way, The Diseased and the Poisoned gets a thumbs-up from me.

Well, you were warned not to drink the water - 22%

autothrall, July 19th, 2010

Seeing that the songwriting for the band's first two official releases was so miserable that it could not possible become worse by default, playing like a less interesting alternative to Job for a Cowboy, one would surmise that Carnifex had nowhere to go but up. To be fair, The Diseased and the Poisoned, the band's first album for Victory records, who saw some potential for profit in the band's viral appeal to 15 year old girls who have outgrown their Edward Scissorhands T-shirts and the 18 year old boys who love them and desire to rope them in with their wallet chains, is a subtle improvement over its predecessors. The reason being that the band write a lot more actual metal music here than they have in the past, and they grind their riffs off against the breakdowns in a far more timely, balanced fashion.

Yes, even apes will adapt to their environment if given the fruit and nurture, and thus too have Carnifex. The production, while not as loud or brutal as the previous album, is well executed. There are at least a few dozen riffs on this album which contain something akin to merit, even though they rarely last more than a few measures before transforming into the band's nauseous obsession for breakdowns. You can hear all the popular influences, from Swedish melodic death metal (the faster partitions of "The Nature of Depravity" or "Innocence Died Dreaming") to good old US metalcore mosh riffs (almost every song here). The album is kept short and spastic as it shifts between poles. 12 songs in 33 minutes gives it much more of a hardcore ethic, but really, if we're going to get technical, the band should have cut out about 21 of these minutes and written better songs around the better fragments of bone they project from their torment.

Almost every breakdown is irrelevant, though I notice a few of them take on a more bouncy effect than in the past, like a shallow mirror to Meshuggah, lacking the Swedish band's tact for hypnosis and lyrical dominance. Carnifex toss out some serious song titles here that might have you thinking for a second that they're interested in some real death metal: "Adornment of the Sickened", "Answers in Mournin", "Aortic Dissection", and "To My Dead and Dark Dreams" all ring of sufficient menace to carouse the mind off to its darker climes. But this is deceptive, because the lyrics are all still based in the pseudo-emotional vacuum of genre cliches. 'I'm dead inside and it's all I'll ever be', or 'I gave up everything', or 'I'm watching the rain fall through this broken glass, washing the blood from my hands'. This is Jonathan Davis level material here, minus the rap parts folks. Perfect reflections for the Twilight Saga fanatic. Go Team Deadward!

The Diseased and the Poisoned is adequate sounding in the mix, due to the experience of Zeuss at Planet Z (having helped bands like Shadows Fall and Killswitch Engage across the map). The drums are decent, and the guitars are far better than the previous releases. A few times the vocals remind me of Martin van Drunen. Through the depths of tracks like "Enthroned in Isolation", you can hear a genuine interest in some real death metal. Since the band do not suck entirely at this sort of approach, I would greatly encourage them to explore it further. Drop the shitty high school locker lyrics and about 90% of the breakdowns, and I would gladly eat my own boots. They're size 13, so you could enjoy watching me gnaw on them for some time. But it'll require something far more than this before I commence the unlacing.


Not too shabby but...... - 25%

barrage, March 8th, 2009

Carnifex’s album “The Diseased And The Poisoned” is quite generic – it has elements of a fusion of deathcore bands. The second track ‘In Coalesce With Filth And Faith’ has bits which sound like they’ve come off a Despised Icon song, ‘The Sunset Will Never Charm Us’ to be more precise. Next is are some The Black Dahlia Murder elements and it’s quite annoying to hear a band with some potential playing stuff that sounds very much like an established deathcore peer.

Unlike grindcore, for some absurd reason, I have a decent amount of respect for deathcore bands like Heaven Shall Burn, All Shall Perish, The Black Dahlia Murder and Despised Icon. It may take some time for these guys music to grow on fans, but it is a respectable effort from these Californian new comers. Not having heard Carnifex’s previous album, ‘Dead In My Arms,’ there is room for improvement from these guys. (Since these guys have got a horrifically low rating, I’m assuming they weren’t that great a year back)

Coming back to the music, these guys have not strived to do anything out of the ordinary in any department. The vocals are standard deathcore, deranged screams during some parts and low growls at others. The guitar work sounds like a car struggling to start up, but the harmonics they throw in are nasty, coupled with some murderous and insatiable drumming. The drummer has potential possibly in a technical band, where odd time structures and off-time beats are the order of the day. At times, the songs feel very incomplete, with the start-stop guitar work leaving a gaping hole right in the middle of a song. The title track ‘The Diseased And The Poisoned,’ starts off quite well, with heavy riffing, and thunderous drumming which could make way for some bleeding ears. ‘The title track is a brutal song overall, something that could get you going in the morning when you’ve just woken up or in your car on your way to work.

The bass is almost inaudible, unlike Despised Icon, where the bass does stick out. Comprehendible bass work would have given the songs a strong foundation, but it’s just about there, surviving amongst the harsh tirade of the overdriven riffs. A recommendation would have been to use the bass to fill those gaps which are prevalent in all the songs. Overall, it’s an okay album but these guys can do better…. in the future perhaps.