posted on 8/2011 By:
I have not heard Germany’s Hackneyed since 2007's solid, but rather forgetful, debut Death Prevails, which arrived with a lot of hype and a Nuclear Blast record deal. I missed 2009's Burn After Reaping also on Nuclear Blast. Which leads us to the band's third album, which sees a shuffled line-up and is strangely released on Lifeforce Records (though the Germanic link makes sense).
For those a little sick of uber-technical, ultra-fast, blast-beat-and-sweep-filled death metal like Origin, Decrepit Birth, Obscura and such (not that there’s anything wrong with that) or the currrent saturation of Incantation worship, Hackneyed will be a welcome relief. Because as far as good old fashioned death metal goes, Carnival Cadavre is actually rather good and left much more of a positive impression on me than the debut.
Fronted by Phillip Mazal’s dominating vocals and a huge production, Carnival Cadavre is a super chunky and bludgeoning affair that relies on thick, burly mid-paced riffs and massive grooves injected with a few blast beats here and there. I’m reminded a little of the Danish death metal scene like Dawn of Demise and such or the chunkier moments of Benighted (with a few pig squeals even). Also, the band has increased their songwriting, as well as their heft. With an underlying twisted circus/carnivale theme, Carnival Cadavre stomps and lurches with a truly commanding presence (mostly due to the production and Mazal’s performance). The blasts are well placed, breaking up the pacing of tracks like “Coulrophobia”, “Maculate Conception”, and particularly furious bursts in “Magic Malignancy” and “Feed the Lions”. But for the most part the tracks are heaving, head-banging, monster lopers like “Begging For Mercy”, “Infinite Family”, the massive “Damn (You’re Dead Again)” and the Gorefest-ish closer “Holy Slapstick”. Heck, there’s even a surprising little bit of melody to close out “Cure the Obscure”.
As much as I’ve enjoyed genre-challenging, ambitious releases by the likes of Ana Kefr, Einvera, Unexpect, Fleshgod Apocalypse and such, the fact is: I’m a simple, pure death metal guy at heart, and recent releases by The Cleansing, Blastanus, Spectral Mortuary, Exhumed and Hackneyed are what keep me a death metal guy, despite an often hackneyed sound. (See what I did there?)
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