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Carnation – Cemetery of the Insane [EP]

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I have a confession to make. I have never cared for single guitar metal bands. Not that there isn’t or have never been talented bands that create compelling music with a single guitarist, it’s just that it feels so incomplete. Metal bands in my opinion, must feature a dual guitar attack. This is especially true with death metal, even more so when the band in question worships the merciless grind of the oldschool Swedish chainsaw sound. Five piece death metallers Carnation out of Belgium, definitely understand the finer points of this deadly artform, and deliver blow after bone crushing blow, backed by the raging dual guitar assault fed by the legendary Boss HM2 cranked to the level of a category 9 super hurricane. Jonathan Verstrepen and Bert Vervoort man the homicidal chainsaws, vocalist Simon Duson spews ferocious torrents of pure venom vaguely reminiscent of George Fisher, Yarne Heylen pummels the low end into this evil brew (though I’d like his bass to be higher in the mix here), and drummer Morbid destroys his kit with glee, for your listening pleasure. Their 5 track release Cemetery Of The Insane, out now on Final Gate Records, is filled to bursting with riffing straight out of the graveyard, non-melodic and evil as all hell. Carnation change things up often, switching from mid tempo headbanging slam fests to my personal favorite, the classic D-beat groove. The riffs are catchy and the HM2 representation here is excellent, as the guitars buzz with razor precision yet pack plenty of bottom level punch while maintaining clarity. Crunching 8th note palm muted ball bag kickers, huge power chords, grinding tremolo picked riffs, it’s all here, wrapped in tritone, half-step chord progression goodness. The drums are deftly performed with a veteran’s understanding of the genre (I love the bass drum sound, and there’s even some blast beats to amp up the rage factor), and the overall mix is dense, tight, focused and clear. This is a fairly straight forward album, and while that’s not at all a bad thing, I’ll be watching these guys and looking forward to hearing them develop their sound further. You should too. Overall an excellent release, and a must have for fans of this style. (D.L. Beaven)