Artist: Carnis Immortalis
Album: Carnis Immortalis
Carnis Immortalis—or, Immortal Flesh—aren’t a band that leave a lot to the imagination, let alone a lot on the table. With that said, they’re also a band on the fringe of what I would consider my comfort zone when it comes to lending a critical opinion on music—so bear with me. True—they’re definitely well within the heavy music umbrella and aren’t afraid to make it known. This Detroit outfit draw from a sprawling array of heavy influences, ranging from brutalizing death metal to black metal and touches of thrash alike. The result? Something as raw, gritty and voracious as their name might imply. With a DIY take on styles of music that have fallen prey to overproduction and cold, emotionless song structure, Carnis Immortalis might not be perfect, but they’re definitely a unique twist to Detroit’s—and the nation’s—metal scene.
Ultimately, Carnis Immortalis are a death metal outfit, tried and true. They effortlessly blend intense, riff-driven passages with pummeling, uproarious drum parts and ruthless aggression. However, Carnis Immortalis are more than that—as woven in with their blunt, brash assault on the listener’s sanity there are moments of scathing technicality and melody both. For example, songs like the lead single, “Rogue Hound of the Silent Tax,” where percussionist Shane Baker barely slows down throughout the song’s duration. Baker’s bold drumming is the core of the band’s debut record and their immolating brand of death metal, drawing out the more extreme, brutal influences that underscore the band’s styling. Meanwhile, bassist Kyle Wagner shines—that’s right, shines, as in you can actually hear him—during the very same track, and throughout other choice selections Carnis Immortalis put forth. “Twenty Others” is one such anthem, wherein Wagner both adds heft and thickness to the mix but also a popping, bouncy element that hooks the riffs deeper into the listener’s head. Speaking of riffs, that might be the major selling point that will keep heavy music enthusiasts hooked on Carnis Immortalis. Home to three guitarists—Craig Kirk, Erik Partin and Jesse Buehler—Carnis is worth their weight in riffs. Naming the tracks that don’t bring home marvelous fretwork is honestly a shorter list and harder task than naming the ones that do, so for that reason, there aren’t really “focus tracks” for the self-titled record’s riffsmithing. Just about every song has a lead, a groove, a solo or a slam-tinted all-out-onslaught that the listener can fall in love with; it’s just a matter of listening to the record and figuring out which one you like most.
The array of metallic influence that amalgamates to define Carnis Immortalis’ sound is broadened by frontman Jalen Wallace’s many styles. Aided by Buehler and Wagner, Wallace adds a visceral, throaty and distinctly blackened touch to many of the cuts the band put forth. This is obvious right from the get go, but shines on songs like “Rogue Hound of the Silent Tax,” where Wallace’s voice adds to the hectic fervor and intensity of the track. Other songs—“A Time To Survive” for example—exist to highlight Wallace’s variety moreso than others, using a myriad styles to keep the listener hooked throughout the track’s lofty duration. Carnis Immortalis’ debut is a collection of Wallace’s skills, and even on some moments where he falls flat (“Twenty More” seems to waver where vocals are concerned), the band add guest spots and instrumental breaks to keep the listener from getting too worn out on any one style or sound.
Variety is the name of the game for just about every aspect of Carnis Immortalis. However, there does exist the one somewhat obvious, glaring misstep that the band’s debut boasts—its production. On one hand, the grit adds to the bare-knuckle, bloody-fisted approach to DIY death metal the group provides. The other hand, however, holds the kind of ugly truth that the shoddy production detracts from some of the band’s transitions, atmosphere and otherwise razor-sharp riffing. “Rogue Hound” is one example—the song takes some wild turns, and a couple of them could be made a little cleaner and crisper with, well, cleaner and crisper production. However, in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t detract too strongly from the band’s sound, style and dynamic, and, as a debut effort, lackluster production is something most bands are culpable of; In other words, it isn’t a big deal. What is a big deal is what the future might hold for this sinister sextet, as they surely bring something carnal and crushing to Michigan’s monstrous heavy music community.
For Fans Of: Gorgoroth, Dying Fetus, Bloodbath, Nile
By: Connor Welsh