Carnifex
Die Without Hope


2.0
poor

Review

by Darion Paone USER (79 Reviews)
June 20th, 2014 | 26 replies


Release Date: 03/04/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Die without more than four chords.

When us music reviewers take on a release in the deathcore genre, we unfortunately run the risk of agitating the larger metal community, so we tend to open the article with some nonsense about how deathcore is an "interesting" or "largely misunderstood" subgenre of metal and that we journalists had to "challenge our expectations" in order to reach a verdict on whatever album they're talking about. Unfortunately for Carnifex's 2014 release, "Die Without Hope", I'm not so forgiving; given that this record delivers on every contrived and boring staple of the genre, and offers very little as frosting on top of this cake that expired years ago, there's very little to talk about that you haven't already read in countless other reviews of deathcore acts and albums.

The vocals drive the mix of this record, but as a whole, they are dull and unvaried. Carnifex's vocalist is essentially riding the fad that Whitechapel capitalised on back in 2007 with "The Somatic Defilement", only unlike Boseman's delivery, Lewis' lacks the strong impact that defines the vocal style of swapping between high shrieks and deep, guttural bellows. What results is essentially a flat delivery, which the emphasis provided by the production doesn't do enough to fix. They compensated with louder noise, but it still lacks oomph - the vocals don't have enough power to compete with the superior guitarwork and the mindless drum fills that make up the rest of the mix when it isn't oversaturated with tasteless distortion. The only time the vocals have any sense of force to them is on the title track's chorus, which winds up being ultimately wasted when the breakdown hits after each passage and they repeatedly stuff the words down your throat until you puke.

Backing up the vocalist like the twin bodyguards of a midget with a Napoleon complex, the two guitarists in Carnifex's repertoire display a mix of technical skill and passionless lack of motivation. These guys can play very well - we see examples of this in the aforementioned title track, as well as "Where the Light Dies". Unfortunately, we see dramatically more cases of boring and uninspired breakdowns and four-chord riffs that showcase just how base this genre can be. The introduction to "Condemned to Decay" is the same recycled musical gibberish that every hardcore band and their mother have tried at some point - it was even displayed to some extent on All Pigs Must Die's "Nothing Violates This Nature" - so even beginning to listen to that track is like asking for the priest who molested you in the rafters of church to be your babysitter. When they aren't displaying temporary moments of virtuosity and technical know-how, the guitarists of Carnifex are looking like the misused talent they are. If anyone in the band could do better, it'd be them.

The drumming follows the lead (or lack thereof) of the vocal timings and the more boring renditions of the guitar riffs, amounting to nothing more than a wall of noise that usurps the dictionary's definition of 'boring'. Hailing Cameron as an under-appreciated drummer would imply that he had the capacity to drum well, and I see little to no evidence to support that hypothesis. At the end of the track, the drum fills on "Die Without Hope" are every bit as uninspired and contrived as the lyrics that accompany Lewis' vocals. The basswork is cut from the same cloth, leading the average listener to assumption that it might not even exist. It is present, however - it just does a piss-poor job of separating itself from the mix. There aren't even any short passages of the album that display Calderon's style or skill - he is audibly invisible when the guitars are playing even one of their four-chord limits. The bassist may as well have played Atheist-inspired jazz fusion for all I can tell, because of how low he's tuned in the production.

Carnifex are not a band without latent talent; hints of greatness on tracks like "Dark Days" and "Where the Light Dies" spell out the band's technical flair. The problem lies within separating them from the rank and file of their mortally-wounded subgenre, which appears to have gone septic in the past few years. If they were to use the tools at their disposal and carve out an identity for themselves that didn't include a flashy new logo or an artistic tribute to the late Giger, but was actually concerned with musical composition, this outfit would skyrocket to the forefront of their scene and satisfy those high-strung reviewers that tend to despise deathcore on principle - like me. I gave this album a chance, but "Die Without Hope" admittedly gave me no hope. Come the next production cycle, they have a unique opportunity to meet a higher standard of quality. I certainly hope they'll take it, if only so I don't have to deal with this crap from such a big name in the community.



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user ratings (164)
Chart.
3.4
great
other reviews of this album
ExplosiveOranges (4)
Deathcore's untapped potential....

Brendan Schroer (3.2)
One foot in ambition, one foot in regression....

Jacquibim CONTRIBUTOR (2.5)
"Die Without Hope is probably most frustrating in that it reeks of wasted potential"...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Pr0nogo
June 20th 2014


377 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Listen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kOtgze9J708

Boring.

erizen826
June 20th 2014


609 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I liked this album. But the review was decent so pos.

ScuroFantasma
June 20th 2014


2527 Comments


Good review. I agree with what you said in your first paragraph about how people tip-toe around the genre, it annoys the hell out of me. It seems that for every review of a metalcore, nu-metal or deathcore album, the reviewers makes some kind of apology to themselves and their image for having listened to an album from the genre. #StopTreatingGenresLikeDiseases

Digging: Kyuss - Blues for the Red Sun

ExplosiveOranges
June 20th 2014


3884 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I liked the album, but good review anyways.

Digging: Millicent Waffles - Under Dark Blue Blanket

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
June 20th 2014


7127 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Did you already have this reviewed?

ExplosiveOranges
June 20th 2014


3884 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I gave a shot at reviewing this back in May.

SlMBOLlC
June 20th 2014


5296 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

A bit of a grower

BMDrummer
June 20th 2014


9895 Comments


I've still never given Carnifex a chance, but I often hear hype about their deathcore status or whatever. Nice review though, these kinds of reviews where the instrumentation is talked about bit by bit are neat. Pos'd

Pr0nogo
June 20th 2014


377 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

@Scuro, examining a genre for its trademarks (be they good or bad) is something more reviewers ought to do instead of everything I said in the first paragraph. I don't really understand why people are afraid to call bad things bad or good things good. Unpopular opinions generally aren't unpopular because they're a negative influence - they're unpopular because people disagree with them. I guess people don't like actually defending their points.

@Rest of you, thanks for all the positives and such.

ScuroFantasma
June 20th 2014


2527 Comments


That's a fair point and I agree. I'm just sick of the generalisations and the need for some reviewers to make excuses for listening to something. Every genre has good and bad acts, some more than others, but you can't write them off completely.

SlMBOLlC
June 20th 2014


5296 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

A lot of your points I can understand, but you're being very critical. Like sure the drummer doesn't do anything original but at worst he's average

Pr0nogo
June 20th 2014


377 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Not in my opinion. Doing nothing to separate yourself from the rank and file makes you as good/bad as the rank and file, and in this case, deathcore's rank and file is below average.

Duckman118
June 21st 2014


326 Comments


Most deathcore I have heard the drummers have been pretty high profile, fast, technical drummers.

Of course, that is your opinion. Good review, but I can't stand it when people start ragging on about the genre the album being reviewed is in (not that you really did here). Like, we get it, you don't like deathcore, but you are reviewing a singular album, not a genre.

Pr0nogo
June 21st 2014


377 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

It's still important to note when an album or a band rides a fad purported by a specific (sub)genre. I would do the same thing to a black metal band that confined their music to high screams and low-fi production quality for no other reason than to be 'kvlt'.

The problem with the drummers in most deathcore outfits is that they have the technical proficiency to craft good fills, but they tend to default to the start-and-stop methodology of fill into breakdown into another fill; they also tend to write without complexity, which can lead to a lack of variety, which can lead to boredom for me. Whether or not the drummer did this of his own accord or the accord of his buddies is unknown, and also unrelated.

Duckman118
June 21st 2014


326 Comments


I agree completely. But, in fairness to these bands, those trends are just a staple to the genre. They are there almost entirely to please fans of deathcore. Which, since I am, I don't have many issues with most of the time. But obviously if you're no fan of the genre you're probably not going to find much interest in these trends. Same can be said with pretty much any genre like you already pointed out with black metal.

I read a quote once from the guitarist of Fit For an Autopsy, he pretty much said that the main reason he included breakdowns into his music was to please fans of the genre and to make live shows more fun.

I mean, what can you do? It is what it is.

Pr0nogo
June 21st 2014


377 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I'm of the opinion that you shouldn't bother trying to please others and instead only make music that you yourself enjoy. Of course, that kind of practise outmodes the usefulness of reviews like my own, to some extent. I suppose that's just how it is, much like you said; I'd never personally change my methodology just to please someone else when it comes to art.

Duckman118
June 21st 2014


326 Comments


Well, i'd assume/hope that these guys are fans of the genre themselves, and would assume they probably have a blast making the music they do and that's why they include genre cliche's. If not, why even bother being in a deathcore band? I can't imagine these guys make a ton of money.



Pr0nogo
June 21st 2014


377 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

The bigger names like Whitechapel turn a significant profit, last I heard, and the potential/promise of that kind of life where you force yourself to conform to a popular fad is inspiration enough for people to artificially create their music.

SlMBOLlC
June 21st 2014


5296 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Maybe deathcore bands treat their music more as fun that pays,not as art

ScuroFantasma
June 21st 2014


2527 Comments


There are certian qualities that deathcore bands share though, that's what allows you to sort bands into genres, their similarities. You can't really condemn a deathcore band for sounding like a deathcore band.



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