canro_1500x1500It’s good practice to count your lucky stars every once in a while, no matter how long it may or may not take you. This is especially true whenever somebody else’s misfortune reveals a new constellation. So Americans, while you may bitch and moan about the presidential candidates so unceremoniously dragged to the podium, at least be happy that they’re trying to take the office by peaceful means. Turks haven’t been so fortunate this summer, but even in the wake of a failed coup, they’re still pushing out some pretty decent death metal. Ankara-based Carnophage are set to release their sophomore effort, Monument, and it’s one of the least Unique Leader-esque albums Unique Leader has released in a while.

Though billed as a technical death metal album, Monument has little to do with The Faceless-core being oozed out of southern California every few months. Instead, Carnophage plays a not unsophisticated mix of early-’00s influenced death metal, taking cues from Suffocation and Hate Eternal. It’s not a fantastic formula, but the band follows through, and there’s surprisingly little to complain about on Monument. It’s all a whirl of shifting blastbeats, tightly controlled riffing and frothy growls. Full of energy and blazing anger, “Sparks of The Experiment” channels modern Hate Eternal with nonstop blasting and a buzzing melodic lead, while “Unbroken Fortitude” explores a more technical territory, jumping between time signatures and into mid-paced groove deftly.

While it’s hard to single out anything in Monument that’s in need of an overhaul, it’s equally difficult to figure out what’s special in the LP. I don’t dislike the music here at all; it’s sufficiently brutal, packs in a catchy lead here and there, and at 36 minutes, it doesn’t overstay its welcome. Yet I find myself having difficulty paying much attention to these songs. Sure, I might have liked a more diverse album, but Carnophage keep things moving at a respectable clip, and when you do pay attention to the music, all the gears are turning in synchronicity.

carnophage band 2016

These songs take some real skill to perform, and the album’s production lets performance shine through. This mix is balanced and transparent, though very tightly controlled. The bass is always present, the bass drum sounds natural and upfront, and the guitars have some real bite. Even the mastering is decent; loud but somehow failing to make the album too much of a bore. This is very much the chicken sandwich of death metal albums; well thought-out and respectable – a good decision. Yet somehow, even in days when I myself was a carnophage, never very enticing.

I wouldn’t hesitate to call Monument a good album. On every level but one, it’s solid. It is technically proficient, brutal, slick, and powerful. It is not, however, interesting, innovative, daring, emotional, or engrossing. I never banged my head or felt compelled to play air guitar listening to Monument. I never heard a track end and needed to hear it again. The hair on the back of my neck laid flat, my gut sat comfortably unclenched. This is the sound of death metal happening to someone else.


Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps
Label: Unique Leader Records
Websites: carnophage.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/carnophage
Releases Worldwide: September 23rd, 2016

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  • Stefunal

    Wow. “This is the sound of death metal happening to someone else”. Your website is really a goldmine for non-native English speakers trying to sound smart.

    • André Snyde Lopes

      You’re*

      • Ansuz

        ?……You are website?

        • André Snyde Lopes

          Your confused? Their, I’ve achieved my goal, than. Just don’t loose it. Sometimes I have that affect on people.

          • Dethjesta

            then*

          • André Snyde Lopes

            Oh, come one…

          • Stefunal

            U had me fr a mmnt, m8te!

          • Dethjesta

            You win

          • Ansuz

            Too late, you have to have sanity to lose it. :)

          • Troll/10

      • AlphaBetaFoxface

        lmao, well played

        • André Snyde Lopes

          Thanks, ABFF. At least I can count on you to understand my obtuse humor.

      • Stefunal

        You’re comment confuses me more than it should.

        Am I a native speaker now?

        • Dethjesta

          Ouch, my grammar OCD is playing up.

          • Stefunal

            Mine too. I was actually wincing inside when typing this :D

        • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

          Would the “you’re a native speaker because you speak like a native” joke be considered racist?

          • I’ve never heard of that being reported as racist before. Am I missing context here?

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            Well, basically where I’m from NOTHING is inapropiate so I have to be extra careful when I go cross cultural.

          • Stefunal

            Dunno. Maybe anti-nativist?

  • Treble Yell

    Man, great write up. “frothy growls,” “chicken sandwich of death metal albums” and of course “This is the sound of death metal happening to someone else.” So many good lines to choose from. Excellent review, Kronos.

    • Kronos

      Thanks.

  • in a year in which there are a staggering amount of metal releases I’m interested in and “behind” on, there seems to be a lot of middle of the road death metal albums getting released by not just UL but many of the other usual suspects that are, like you say executed very well but are just kinda “there.” It’s gotta be frustrating for the bands w/albums that HAVE that certain extra special “something.”

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      It usually takes at least 5 years for people to realize that a record has a certain extra special “something”. Even Tom G. Warrior thought Hellhammer sucked to the point he changed the band’s name to Celtic Frost. Over 30 years later there are bands everywhere naming themselves Somethinghammer and copying their sound.

      • quite true in lots of cases! Another example, when Effigy of the Forgotten first came out, no internet or anything so the only thing I had to go off of was a review in Metal Maniacs which totally trashed the album. Now it’s a near universally praised landmark release.
        For me, that certain “something” can be something real simple that’s worthless to someone else…no right or wrong answers. But the one thing that’s been bothering me this year is the sheer volume of releases and quite a few from genres I’d normally care about are just not doing it for me, esp in the case of technical and brutal DM.

        • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

          Technical and brutal Death Metal? How about Obscura and Wormed? Or First Fragment and Virulency? Nowadays there is SO MUCH good stuff that the real problem is finding stuff that is above average.

          • I’ll have to check out Virulency….I gots the other three (all some of my favorites this year). I definitely have found plenty of releases I DO like, just there are some releases that normally I’d jump all over and for whatever reason I’m just not compelled to this year…I’ve been muttering to myself “these bands need to stop, why can’t they wait till 2017?” Latest dm release I’m into is Crator-The Ones Who Create the Ones Who Destroy, which feat. Longstreth and Marston along with the current Origin singer Jason Keyser and a local fellow from my neck of the woods on guitar.

  • GardensTale

    Excellent fucking review Kronos. I feel like I can touch on your feeling exactly and that’s a feat.

    • Don’t touch his feelings. Report to HR.

      • GardensTale

        In my defense, I am not sober.

        • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

          Wouldn’t that be an aggravating circumstance?

          • GardensTale

            I’ll leave that up to the jury.

        • Dr. A.N. Grier

          Lucky for you, we have a bar in the HR department. But it turns out there are rattlers in the tequila.

      • Carlos Marrickvillian

        And bring a bucket and feather boa

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    That “It’s all a whirl of shifting blastbeats, tightly controlled riffing and frothy growls” line was meant as a compliment, right? That’s what I understood it as, anyway.

  • I have to admit that I quite liked the embedded track, possibly because it reminded me quite strongly of (Iceland’s) Beneath (just in case there’s another damn band called that)

  • OzanCan

    even the failed coup attempt reference here :/

  • sir_c

    So, to summarize, Cornyphage would be a better name.
    Tacos anyone?