Carnosus – Visions of Infinihility Review

Technical death metal, more than any other subgenre, defies language’s best efforts to pin it down. Carnosus’s second full-length Visions of Infinihility, like other captivating tech death albums, invites two critical approaches. You can pursue the tenure-seeking method and break down the album’s elaborate syncopations and dazzling instrumental runs in academic language, or you can fanboy out and try to make your point by saying: “and then the lead guitar is all dweedly-dweedly-skronkity-squeeee-squiggity-squick-SKREEEEE(eeee).” Neither approach satisfies entirely, so let’s pursue an elusive middle ground. But before we do: whichever path you choose, Visions of Infinihility is a fucking goddamn blast. Listen to this album, and witness Carnosus use every part of the tech death buffalo to document the rise of a “totalityrannic empire” bent on repopulating the world with a race of “cadaverine-like beings.” You won’t be thinking about the concept much, though, not while these nine thrash-inflected songs scramble your central nervous system. Submit for reprogramming; side effects may include enjoying what is sure to be one of the best albums of the year.

Carnosus mashes words and subgenres together with equal brio. Here you’ll find some of the exuberance and skill of Archspire, along with the progressive thrash leanings of the mighty Revocation. The lead guitar lines by either Rickard Persson or Marcus Jokela Nyström evoke Ryan Knight’s work with The Black Dahlia Murder on Ritual and Everblack.1 These solos twist and transmute, bending into surprising shapes as they shred over and past prog and classic rock influences. Here’s how the band itself breaks down their sound: “Bulging chugs and spider riffs. 7-string-phat-bass brutalism. Blast beats and confused unga bunga. Throat-tearing growls and shrieks.” It’s that rare case of promo copy self-awareness, vividly summing up the elements swirling around on Visions of Infinihility.

The secret ingredient, of course, is songs–and Carnosus has nine killer ones here. Opener “Ossein Larcenist” sets the template, building a sturdy edifice out of whiplash riffs that always stay a step ahead of your ability to anticipate what’s coming. Here, as elsewhere, vocalist Jonatan Karasiak deploys a manic range of styles and techniques. He takes the same big dog/little dog approach as the late Trevor Strnad; Karasiak works most often in a kind of low growl that becomes more of a black metal screech when he picks up the pace. At their most frenetic, Karasiak’s vocals recall the aforementioned Archspire, but Karasiak takes a more varied approach than Oliver Rae Aleron. Demented howls kick off “Fermenting Blastospheres of Future Putridity,” while “Castle of Grief” features a weird rolled-tongue interjection that works almost like Aphex Twin’s signature drumbeats-on-speed. You won’t find a bad track on Visions of Infinihility, but other highlights include single “Calamity Crawl” and closer “Among Worms it Was Whispered.”

There just isn’t much to pick apart on Carnosus’s sophomore effort. The thrash influences were slightly more prevalent on debut Dogma of the Deceased, and I occasionally wished for more of them. On the whole though, the band’s sound has matured and cohered into a fuller version of itself. They’ve developed a throttle that pumps the various songwriting elements into these songs in the exact right amounts. “Procession of Depression” is the best example of this. Over the course of four minutes, the track plays with pace and dynamics and even introduces a smattering of clean vocals in the chorus. Carnosus took this step forward without the guidance or resources of a label. Visions of Infinihility is self-released, although you wouldn’t know it from the album’s sound and professional presentation. A few production issues do present themselves on repeat listens. Your ears have to go hunting for the bass on occasion, and the whole thing clocks in at a less-than-optimal DR 4.

It doesn’t matter if you’re wearing four thousand dollar headphones or a bullet belt–Visions of Infinihility should appeal to wonks, diehards, and metalheads all across the spectrum. The next-level riffs alone kept me repeating songs over and over again, to the point where it took me a while to get all the way through the album. When you do finally get to a full playthrough, the sub-forty-minute run time goes down easy. With Visions of Infinihility, Carnosus announces themselves as important players in the tech death game, and they do it with a platter that is never less than a rollicking good time. Enjoy, and keep Visions of Infinihility close at hand so you know where it is come list season.

Rating: 4.0/5.0
DR: 4 | Format Reviewed: FLAC 2
Label: Self Released
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: February 10th, 2023

Show 2 footnotes

  1. The album credits both players with “Guitars,” so it’s not clear if one or both of them are responsible for the leads.
  2. Fancy!
« »