Review Summary: The best fish I've had in a while.
Italy has borne some of the most intense death metal acts that still make music today, the more notable bands being Hour of Penance and Fleshgod Apocalypse. In a similar vein, Carnality graces us with immense vocal presence, powerful mixing, and some of the most impressive guitarwork I've heard from the genre. Their 2014 sophomore effort, "Dystopia
", provides a solid and unfettered listening experience that rivals some of the most popular names in death metal - and their album art has a fish on it, so that's cool, too.
One of the telltale signs of a brilliant metal vocalist is the ability to crush heads with your voice alone, and what the vocals of "Dystopia
" lack in variety, they more than make up for with enormity alone. The sheer aural weight of Luca Scarlatti's voice is enough to propel Carnality's wall of sound forward, even without the further impact of the instrumentation. His low growls evoke the same sense of brutality that can be heard on Hour of Penance's "Sedition
" or Suicidal Causticity's "The Spiritual Decline
", and though they rarely evolve beyond the mid-pitched shouts and low bellows reminiscent of those on Lost Soul's "Immerse in Infinity
", their power alone allows them to deliver a very satisfying vocal experience.
Thankfully, the guitarwork and basswork that Carnality bring to bear is more than up to the challenge of keeping up with Scarlatti's vocals. Be they the cutting passages on "God Over Human Ruins" or the melancholic melodies on "The Gift of Anomie", the voracity of the chords on "Dystopia
" never fails to impress - which is undoubtedly why the lack of vocal variety is excusable when the rest of the mixing is taken into account. The basswork provides a more than solid backing for the rest of Carnality's sound, allowing immense riffs like those featured on "Lord of Drones" to become stand-out moments on this album's track listing.
When combined with the without-a-doubt brutal drumming brought to us by Manuel Arlotti, the sonic landscape Carnality have crafted becomes ever more vivacious and powerful. The relentless pounding on both snare and bass fills the fills (eh?) with an incredible amount of variety, while somehow still managing to pummel your head into the ground at furious speeds. I once again must reference "Lord of Drones" as a prime example of just how insane the drumming on "Dystopia
" can get when combined with the guitarwork of Marco Righetti, is Carnality at the top of their game thus far. Some of the best moments of this release can subsequently be found in the three "Silent Enim Leges Inter Arma" tracks, which lead into each other in a very satisfactory manner before culminating with a haunting but respectable melody that belies more musical depth than the rank and file of the Italians' genre.
When it comes right down to it, "Dystopia
" is a powerful release that shows a clear understanding of quality song structure and instrumental variety, neither of which are genre staples when it comes to brutal death metal. Offering both technical and melodic influences throughout its forty-minute running time, Carnality's sophomore album shows that the Italian four-piece isn't afraid to assimilate other genres into their fold in order to craft some of the best death metal I've heard all year; they've delivered a very satisfying and very listenable release with "Dystopia
", and it only promises even better efforts as their career continues. I simply cannot wait for their next record.