Artist: Carnis Immortalis
Album: The Ecstasy of Death – EP
When last we met with Carnis Immortalis, we were witnessing a relatively young band getting their sea legs amid the choppy and turbulent sea that was–and is–the heavy music community. The debut self-titled album, while rough-around-the-edges, was fairly accessible and diverse, especially considering the array of metallic influences they drew upon to create their sound. Now, roughly three years later, Carnis Immortalis return with The Ecstasy of Death–and while their latest EP might have a curious title for a band whose name roughly translates to Immortal Flesh, that’s about the only thing funny about it. The Ecstacy of Death is a huge leap from Carnis Immortalis’ debut offering, both in composition and production. Still drawing from a host of influences ranging from melodic death metal to pulverizing thrash and brutal death metal, the band are more refined in their structure and fluent in their transitions–all with a polished layer of production that balances a gritty DIY style with ease of listening and accessibility. The result is a remarkable release that leaves no listener in want–and showcases the band’s ability to grow and adapt beautifully.
Perhaps the greatest thing about Michigan death metal quintet Carnis Immortalis is that depending on which song you choose to dive into on The Ecstasy of Death, you get a very unique experience. At the band’s core, ruthless percussion and ravenous, relentless riffs dominate—this is really the only constant. However, when one compares the sprawling, sinister “Gynaebolical” to the heavily melo-death driven “That of Which Calls to Me…The Ecstasy of Death,” the listener gets what feels like two different bands on the same extended play. Every track, however, makes a display of the band’s break-neck drumming, which rips and roars on “Decaying Sun,” just as flesh-rending blast beats dominate “Disconnected.” The band’s percussion also sees a notable increase in production quality over their debut—with clear, resonant bells and splashy cymbals resonating in contrast against a thick, meaty kick drum and explosive snare. While the band’s percussion deserves praise, the fretwork doesn’t slack off—this is true of the buttery, snappy bass or the honestly jaw-dropping guitars. Each track sees the two instruments play beautifully off of one another: where “Gynaebolical” and “Wings of Nibriu” see grisly, dense bass act as an amplifying force to guitars that both chug and shred, “That of Which Calls to Me…” is a more balanced, atmospheric track that allows the bass to blossom and take a firm hold of the listener’s ears. And just as was true for the drumming, the band’s instrumentation takes on a crisper, sharper finish, making it all the more appealing—especially to those uninitiated in the ways of DIY death metal.
Admittedly, it might be my own bias as a vocalist (in a totally different style of heavy music), but the growth in both dynamism and intensity that Carnis Immortalis’ vocal element has seen is personally the most drastic and riveting change that the band have undergone since their 2018 release. Every track—save the instrumental interlude—sees the band’s vocal element shine with a range that soars from raspy, blackened howls to grisly, straight-outta-slam gutturals. This renewed variety and intensity adds more depth to the band’s 2021 release, giving listeners more elements to truly dive into and absorb. The pure vocal variety abundant on “Gynaebolical” is incredible—as is the visceral intensity and immolating fervor of “Disconnected.” Where the vocals still feel rough and raw in areas, that isn’t so much a detractor from the band’s release—and to some, might even serve as an enhancement. The Ecstasy of Death features a vocal component that can best be defined as primal—fitting the band’s overall decorum while serving as a tasteful contrast to the areas of enhanced polish and sheen.
If I didn’t allude to it previously, I outright said it on my review for the band’s debut: when it comes to death metal, I’m a little out of my element, especially as a critic. Where it’s far for me to determine what’s a classic and what isn’t, I think I can still solidly identify a strong or a weak release—and The Ecstasy of Death is a very strong release. Considering the growth, maturation and refinement seen by this Detroit-based DIY division of death metallers, it’s beyond safe to say that Carnis Immortalis’ overall trajectory is skyward. Where there might still be some areas where refinement, increased fluidity and maybe a touch more production could help further bring out the best the band has to offer, the real next step they should consider is another full length—because an EP simply isn’t enough Carnis to go ‘round.
For Fans Of: The Black Dahlia Murder, Bloodbath, Dying Fetus, Immolation
By: Connor Welsh