Zombified // Carnage Slaughter and Death
Rating: 3.5/5.0 — Entrails and other meaty goodness, all wrapped up in a nice bloody bow!
Label: Cyclone Empire Records
Websites: Facebook | MySpace
Release Date: EU: 2012.11.16  NA: 11.16.2012

Carnage Slaughter and Death is something Rambo and Zombified have in common. They also both agree that “when you’re pushed, killing’s as easy as breathing…” and for some reason that eerie phrase keeps playing on my mind like a vulture circling a rotting corpse, desperately searching for its next meal. But I digress, Swedish band Zombified lurch onto the scene in an uncoordinated, flesh-crazed frenzy with only one thing on their mind – to make our ears bleed with their crust, deathgrind blend of brutality likened to that of Vomitory, Grave, SepticFlesh, Dawn Of Decay, Centinex and Death Breath. Zombified started as a two man, many beers, three track demo project back in 2006, and now in 2012 with a full line-up, a demo and a full length (Zombified Slaughtermachine) under their belts, they’re on the verge of releasing their second album – Carnage Slaughter and Death. Zombified haven’t necessarily broken into new or unchartered territory with this album, but their macabre subject matter, along with their association with Garageland Studios (who’ve worked with the likes of 11th Hour, The Grotesquery, Bone Gnawer and Blodsrit), intrigues me and naturally creates a heaped serving of expectation.

The wall-to-wall zombie theme used in the album art fascinates me and yes, I unashamedly foresee this adorning my desktop for weeks to come! It’s reminiscent of the album covers used by Grave and surprise, surprise they share the same artist (Costin Chioreanu). Zombified’s Grave-robbing doesn’t end there, Carnage Slaughter and Death opens up with their title track that’s well up there with the brutality put out by their more experienced counterparts Grave. Where Zombified, and more specifically Karlsson’s diverse background (having worked with the likes of Edge of Sanity, Scar Symmetry, Facebreaker, Aktiv Dödshjälp and Tormented), really shines through is from the second track onwards – “Pull the Trigger” and “Withering Souls.” I read somewhere that in order to get a decent death growl you need to gargle with Hydrochloric Acid – if that’s the case I suspect Karlsson starts the day with just such a routine. His vocals are beast-like, deep, guttural, merciless and just downright ugly and his growl is about the closest that I’ve come across to Spiros Antoniou (SepticFlesh) – this pleases me.

“Endless Days of Wrath”, “Reborn in Sin”, “Corrosive Spiral” and “Reign of Terror” showcase instrumentally Zombified’s raw blend of abrasive crust, making use of heavily distorted guitars, and deathgrind packed with blast beats that assault the senses mercilessly just like, well, a mindless zombie picking its victim’s bones clean of fleshy bits! [somebody’s been watching too much of The Walking DeadSteel Druhm] The guitar riffs are relatively simple, repetitive and sludgy and not teamed with a horde of over-the-top unnecessarily complex soloing so as to distract you from their brutal assault. This is just honest to goodness, down and dirty death the way it should be played.  However, that being said, there are moments on the album (especially towards the end) where the similarities and repetitive nature of the instrumentation gets monotonous and you zone out. A killer guitar or bass riff at this point would have earned that extra 0.5 point in my rating!

Garageland Studios handled the mixing and mastering of the album and in terms of the production the balance is great, there’s enough rawness that while the instrumentation, effects and vocals (clean and unclean) are clear, the album doesn’t sound the least bit overproduced – no surprise there though, seeing the list of bands Ronnie Björnström has worked with.

My favourite tracks off the album ended up being “Pull the Trigger” and “Suffering Ascends,” “Suffering Ascends” largely because of the spoken passages cut direct from the 2008 film Rambo and “Pull the Trigger” just because it’s chaotic, and it has a decidedly killer chorus that goes something along the lines of “End your life, pull the trigger, pull the trigger, watch you die, watch you die.” Packed with 12 tracks of pure brutality, running a total of 47 minutes, Zombified have hit the target with me – Grave-robbers or not, Carnage Slaughter and Death is a win. BRAINS!!

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