After a brief hiatus Californian deathcore five piece Carnifex are back with their fifth full length 'Die Without Hope'.
This release features a new lead guitarist, Jordan Lockrey, who briefly played in the now defunct melodic black Metal band Nocturnal Symphony and his presence is undoubtedly a factor in the band's somewhat successful, slight move away from the Metalcore influences of their previous releases.
There is a noticeable melodic yet blackened edge to the sound particularly on the first few tracks as well as some rather nice technical elements. The solos are undoubtedly the highlight of the album but occasionally they do slip back into a barrage of breakdowns from time to time. The vocals are okay; I prefer the deeper growls as they have more intonation whereas the vitriolic hiss to the higher end vocals are slightly less interesting and less varied.
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My biggest problem was that as the tracks opened, my interest was grabbed to begin with, but my mind started to drift away around the midpoint ant this happened on most tracks. The album opens well with 'Salvation Is Dead' which has a hugely atmospheric sound-scape opener before manic riffs tear into you and the vocal scream of "Salvation is dead!!" seers the flesh from your face.
'Dark Days' is by far the best track of the album, starting with the superb symphonic style keyboard opener that permeates the rest of the track. It's hugely varied also with a great drop away to a midway, melodic, technically laced solo before one final onslaught.
The final track, 'Where The Light Dies', also appealed to me, with its subtle dark groove, mid tempo, a blackened edge and some good technical segments concluding with a symphonic keyboard ending.
'Dragged Into The Grave' is also worth a mention; its catchy and intense as well as bleak and dark, with some great technical riffs but it just lost my interest towards the end.
The album was recorded at Audiohammer Studios in Sanford, FL and produced by Mark Lewis (Arsis, The Black Dahlia Murder, Whitechapel, Six Feet Under).
'Die Without Hope' is quite a good album. It certainly sees the band moving in the right direction and I think there is still more potential there still to be realised. I liked it but it didn't grab my interest as much as I hoped it would.