Carnifex
Graveside Confessions


4.0
excellent

Review

by Brendan Schroer CONTRIBUTOR (178 Reviews)
September 4th, 2021 | 36 replies


Release Date: 09/03/2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: There’s a consistency in Carnifex’s output that’s admirable, and Graveside Confessions is yet another feather in their cap.

Back in a 2010 interview with Noisecreep, when asked about being part of the deathcore scene, Carnifex vocalist Scott Lewis stated: "We're not one of those bands trying to escape the banner of deathcore. I know a lot of bands try and act like they have a big problem with that, but if you listen to their music, they are very 'deathcore.'” And that mentality has been incredibly important to the Carnifex sound over the years. Many bands have tried to escape deathcore’s large, infamous shadow to seek what a large constituent of the metal scene would consider more “respectable” genres of extreme music. Just think back to Job for a Cowboy’s eventual transformation into a progressive death metal act with Sun Eater, or Whitechapel’s excursion into more experimental territory with 2019’s The Valley. But Carnifex are a bit different. While they’ve added a nice helping of black metal influence and a menacing atmosphere to their music over the years, there’s something to be said for a group that stays in the same genre and tries to perfect it as much as they can.

With Graveside Confessions, this trend most certainly continues. While the lack of Jordan Lockrey’s solos continues to be felt, Cory Arford’s relatively diverse guitar leads fill in the cracks nicely. Something that immediately stands out about this record compared to past Carnifex albums is that the transitions are starting to become much smoother, whether it be the seamless fusion of melodic and groovy segments that make up “Carry Us Away” or the way the beautifully melancholic instrumental “January Nights” is followed up perfectly by the furious aggression of “Cemetery Wander”. The black metal elements are also on full display on Graveside Confessions, and they remain a welcome presence. “Countess of Perpetual Torment” (which already sounds like a Cradle of Filth song title as it is) is probably the biggest example of such, even combining its tremolo guitar riffs with a nice backdrop of symphonic keyboards to increase the spookiness factor.

But again, the band still haven’t strayed away from the beaten deathcore path they’ve trodden since their inception; instead, it’s all about the little tweaks they’ve made to their sound over time. Even the breakdowns themselves have become much more creative; while the end of “Cursed” sports a pretty simple chug, the strange out-of-tune guitar lead in the background immediately provides a more intriguing and haunted feel to the outro as a whole. Then you have “Talk to the Dead”, which has a recurring melodic riff that’s presented in different ways throughout the tune. It starts out in a black metal-influenced tremolo-picked manner, only for Arford to eventually fashion a harmonized guitar outro with the same melody. Little bits of diversity like this are what often separate Carnifex from the deathcore pack, and perhaps the best song to represent this would be the instrumental track “January Nights”. It’s worth noting that the band have already done a song like this before, with “Dead in My Eyes” and “Life Fades to a Funeral” immediately coming to mind. However, “January Nights” is like the culmination of their efforts with those tracks; this is the first time they’ve attempted a full-length non-interlude piece in this style, and it’s a fantastic way to break up the aggression the rest of the album exhibits.

Still, not all is perfect. I’m a bit baffled as to why the re-recorded songs weren’t just released as bonus tracks. Sure, it’s cool to hear these old Carnifex songs in a new light - and with better production, of course - just to see how far they’ve come. However, if you’re trying to listen to Graveside Confessions from front to back, just be aware that this one’s much more of a time sink than the band’s previous records because of these re-recorded cuts. Also, as is the case with just about every Carnifex album, the lyrics are still pretty damn shaky. Random f-bombs are still scattered about to remove the listener from a given song’s atmosphere, and stuff like “One of these souls has a shelf life/that fucker wanted me dead by 25/and every day since I’ve been restless/I know it’s just a matter of time” (from “Seven Souls”) is just as cringy as it’s ever been. Unfortunately, given the lack of progression found in the quality of Carnifex’s lyrics, I somehow doubt they’ll get much better in the future.

Regardless, Graveside Confessions stands as one of the band’s best works to date alongside Slow Death and Until I Feel Nothing. I feel as though they’ve finally settled into a pattern now, in the sense that you usually know what you’re going to get with a Carnifex record but it’s guaranteed to be a cut above your average deathcore act. They know what they’re about, and they’ll continue to strive for the best version of themselves with each passing release. Much like Cannibal Corpse before them, there’s a consistency in Carnifex’s output that’s admirable whether you enjoy their work or not; their brand is a reliable seal of quality, and Graveside Confessions is yet another feather in their cap.



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user ratings (47)
3.6
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
DivergentThinking
Contributing Reviewer
September 4th 2021


11100 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Really liking this one. It's pretty similar to the last few records, but the songwriting is just excellent here

FabiusPictor202
September 4th 2021


1914 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

pos bro but dam does this band's break downs make me lol, they are atrocious

Digging: Plutocracy - Sniping Pigz

BigPleb
September 4th 2021


63672 Comments


Really cool art, great review as well.

Stopped listening to these guys after Until I Feel Nothing, not really into their newer style tbh.

Digging: Alora Crucible - Thymiamatascension

Rowhaus
September 4th 2021


4295 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Always really enjoyed these dudes. They seemed to have plateaued a bit as far as style, but there's nobody in deathcore doing it better.

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
September 4th 2021


15110 Comments


Going to have to give this a spin later in the week

DivergentThinking
Contributing Reviewer
September 4th 2021


11100 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@Fabius/Pleb: Thanks!



"Always really enjoyed these dudes. They seemed to have plateaued a bit as far as style, but there's nobody in deathcore doing it better."



Exactly, and I guess that's the point I'm trying to make in the review. You know what you're getting with a Carnifex release these days, but if it ain't broke, don't fix it

TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
September 4th 2021


16623 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

More interesting than I expected, I love the band's hybrid approach.

Digging: Carcass - Torn Arteries

Brabiz
September 5th 2021


1502 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

One of the very few great Deathcore acts. This album is really good

Digging: Ennio Morricone - The Bird With The Crystal Plumage

DivergentThinking
Contributing Reviewer
September 5th 2021


11100 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, they're definitely one of the leaders of the pack

Hatework
September 5th 2021


198 Comments


Metal for teenagers.

YuriZakhaev
September 5th 2021


728 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"Metal for teenagers."



Have sex

Digging: Turnstile - Glow On

Tundra
September 5th 2021


6361 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeah this bangs

Digging: Kacey Musgraves - star-crossed

XfingTheSullen
September 5th 2021


4572 Comments


Nice cover art, looks like they're trying to be Angelmaker now

DeadGuy
September 6th 2021


1080 Comments


They've definitely come a long way from when the started with all the other deathcore bands in the era I consider "myspacecore"

DeadGuy
September 6th 2021


1080 Comments


I'm listening to it right now. The transition between some of the tracks are kinda weird, like they just threw a bunch of songs randomly together.

DivergentThinking
Contributing Reviewer
September 7th 2021


11100 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"They've definitely come a long way from when the started with all the other deathcore bands in the era I consider "myspacecore""



Totally agree. Crazy to think that was so long ago now... times flies

JeremiahBullfrog
September 7th 2021


1142 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Carnifex, Whitechapel and JFAC never let me down. Unlike Suicide Silence...

AaroN911
September 7th 2021


3183 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

been waiting for this bad boy, seeing them again later this month so it's great timing

DivergentThinking
Contributing Reviewer
September 7th 2021


11100 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice, let me know how it goes! I've heard they put on a really good show

Pikazilla
September 7th 2021


18811 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Suicide Silence were never good. JFAC have one great album - their last one. Rest is an absolute trainwreck.



Agreed about Whitechapel. Best deathcore band, hands down.



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