Release DetailsLABEL Candlelight
RELEASED ON 5/22/2007
Testify For My Victims
posted on 5/2007 By:
After a much needed break, Carnal Forge is back with another helping of their patented brand of extreme neo-thrash. Except this time it’s not so extreme. Like many of the current crop of melodeath bands, Carnal Forge has felt the need to simmer down a bit and add a more explicit melodic edge to their music. In most of those cases this is a bitter, fan dividing issue but in Carnal Forge’s case I think most fans will embrace it.
That’s because it’s those same fans that can admit that Carnal Forge had just about exhausted the well after releasing five very similar albums in a seven year period. That they should take a breather and come up with some fresh material was a given. And given that they already had the million miles an hour thing down, slowing it down a bit was the logical choice. Not that this shift is completely out of the blue though. You could see hints of it on their last effort Aren’t You Dead Yet? on some of the slower, more melodic cuts. Now they’ve made almost an entire album out of those slower songs which is surprisingly well executed given their speed demon background.
Of no surprise is their continued mastery of writing solid thrash-based riffs albeit at a slower burn rate this time around. But what really caught my attention was their talent for injecting melody into what had primarily been a rhythm guitar dominated songwriting style. You could hear limited examples of this on Aren’t You Dead Yet? but here they’ve fully flowered into a dominant force, complete with solid helpings of dual lead guitar work that hearken back more to the thrash masters of old than the more contemporary style Carnal Forge is famous for. "Burning Eden" and "Questions Pertaining The Ownership Of My Mind" are both great examples of well-written, solo heavy melodic songs that showcase a previously unknown depth to their songwriting ability.
Of course, it’s not all roses. While the above songs are effective at a slower than typical Carnal Forge pace, there’s a couple of those oh-so-creepy ballad type songs that are always cheesy, overly repetitive and just plain boring, much like the shit sandwich The Haunted served up on The Dead Eye. These types of missteps are to be expected on a transitional album like this but they’re still painful to listen to, especially after The Haunted jumped the shark.
Another change for them is in the vocal department. Even though he has been fronting Carnal Forge for the last couple years, this is their first studio album with Jens C Mortensen manning vocals. His vocals are almost identical to the previous vocalist, so much so in fact that if no one told you he was a new you might miss it. His style is slightly higher pitched, which suits the songs well, and he even adds some nuanced screaming on a couple tracks that can almost pass for actual singing but for the most part it’s the exact same delivery as before with the notable absence of the alternate vocalist’s low end growl.
If you really had your heart set on another Carnal Forge record that varied little from its predecessors then I’m sure you’ll be disappointed with Testify For My Victims. It’s got a couple fast thrashers but for the most part it’s a relatively subdued affair in comparison with its predecessors. But if you’re fine with listening to any of their other five records to get your fix, than this is a welcome addition. It is close enough to the Carnal Forge legacy to keep fans from crying foul while injecting in some badly needed fresh ideas to their formula, even if they should drop a few next go around.
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Aren't You Dead Yet?
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