San Diego…drink it in, it always goes down smooth. Unless, of course, you are talking about San Diego-ites…San Diego-ins? San Diego-uns. San Dieg-ons. San Diegans…San Diegans Carnifex. They are back again with their fourth studio album, Until I Feel Nothing, and my, is that an appropriate album title.
Those familiar with Carnifex know what to expect: a dark, blistering deathcore romp. Starting with a useless breakdown intro track, the album takes off for a solid 30 minutes of blastbeats and breakdowns that literally beat you until you feel nothing. Scott Lewis’ vocals go back and forth from raspy highs that permeate the blasty sections, and crushing lows that are generally used to highlight the breakdowns. It’s a very formulaic approach, but then again, this is by-the-books deathcore, à la Oceano and Fit For An Autopsy. Gloomy, symphonic sections come into play in the tracks “Dead But Dreaming”, “Curse My Name”, and “A Grave To Blame”, and they are a much needed break from the beating you receive for the rest of the album. The song that stood out most to me was “Creation Defaced”, however. The down tempo portion found in this song with the haunting keys was honestly the only moment that caused me to stop what I’m doing and pay attention, not unlike how the voice of God was found in the still small voice, and not the fire or earthquake, for our biblically literate readers out there.
The incredibly fast pace of this album only makes its brevity more apparent. Until I Feel Nothing is Carnifex’s shortest album to date, just barely cracking half an hour, and it shows. The aforementioned “Creation Defaced” is the only song to outlast 4 minutes. In football terms, each song could be jokingly titled “3 Yards and a Cloud of Dust” for the simple fact that each and every song is around 3 minutes of pounding double bass, followed by a brief break, followed by another song of the same quality, and so on, and so forth. As you can probably imagine, that gets extremely repetitive, even over such a short time. A lack of standout moments from track to track makes for an empty, monotonous experience. Songs like “Dehumanize” and “Wretched Entropy” seem to serve no purpose other than to prevent this album from being an EP.
Carnifex is average to a fault. They have a comfort zone and do little to ever escape it, or even outperform their previous material. The musicianship is great, but not anything you would even be mildly surprised by, reflecting the lack of an adventurous spirit found throughout this album. Those looking for a straightforward, brutal experience will find solace in Until I Feel Nothing, but listeners expecting something more will find this album tasteless, and migrate on to the next album of their liking. I find myself in the latter category.
You stay classy TNR, and thanks for stopping by.