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Editors note: Schreiber caught up with Carnifex before they headed out Summer Slaughter. That tour has since wrapped up, but some of the article is about the band’s enthusiasm for being a part of it.
The very term creates different reactions when people hear it. Some truly detest the phrase, just by knowing whatever calls itself “death metal” is probably awful, inappropriate, and offensive. Then there are those who jump at the opportunity to talk about death metal bands non-stop – passionate for their love of metal and the extreme sub-genres.
During the summer, rock and metal bands take to the road for marquee tours and summer festivals, and even death metal bands can find golden opportunities. One such tour is The Summer Slaughter, and the name alone says it all. It is a tour put together every summer that features a large stack of the worlds most brutal acts, taking to venues all across America for a head banging experience concert goers won’t soon forget.
2016’s line-up featured some of death metal’s most legendary bands such as Cannibal Corpse, Nile, and Krisiun. However, some of today’s modern titans joined, including California’s Carnifex who en route to the Summer Slaughter Tour stopped through Pensacola to perform an off-date at The Handlebar. Vocalist Scott Ian Lewis took time to sit and chat with me about the upcoming tour plus the bands new album “Slow Death” which was released August 5th.
“When we played the Summer Slaughter Tour in 2010, I think we were playing for other peoples fans – where this year I feel like there will be people coming to see us” Scott confidently states in referring to the band’s growth over the last 6 years.
Being one of the younger bands on this year’s Summer Slaughter, Scott acknowledges there is a chance to win over new fans, however that is not the main goal as he set out on this year’s run. “We’ve played with a lot of different old school death metal bands before like Cannibal Corpse, Dying Fetus, and Obituary and I mean it can be a tough crowd – but overall we aren’t trying to just play for death metal fans we are playing for our fans. In fact, I think some old school death metal bands will have to win over our fans.”
In the long list of heavy metal sub-genres now a days Carnifex would technically fall under the sub-genre of “deathcore”; a blend of technical death metal and modern day hardcore. Since their inception Carnifex has been making waves throughout the genre with relentless touring. Even as they seem to rise in popularity every year they stick to the basics when hitting the road. “We get asked a lot why we don’t tour in a bus and I’ll tell ya why, because at the end of the tour they hand you a bill for 40g’s”.
If there is anything Carnifex has learned by touring with more seasoned bands, it’s having to be smart with your money. Scott explains, “Yeah, we could go out with drum techs and guitar techs and not touch a piece of gear the whole tour – just have someone set up for us, have someone drive us around. Sure we could do those things, but then we are just taking all the money we are making and giving it to someone else. We are not about that. To me, I feel like it’s more real that way and to hang out before every show.” Scott says as we are sitting in front of the venue with the line for the show building right in front of us and all band members. Carnifex shake hands, take pictures, and signs autographs; all before the show has even started.
The Summer Slaughter Tour is not the only thing Carnifex fans had to look forward to in 2016. The band’s 6th full length studio album “Slow Death” hit stores August 5th. The album features “Drown Me In Blood” which they released a music video for. The video gave fans their first taste of a symphonic black metal inspired Carnifex, with Scott performing the song in a pool of blood. “I kinda knew even before we went into the studio (to record the album) that this song would be the one. We finally found a team of directors called The Window Brothers out of Orange County who were all about it. I wanted it to be all practical effects. The blood you see in the video; that’s 2500 gallons of blood. It was a big undertaking. We were on set for probably 15 hours after months of planing and what not; but it was worth it.” Worth it indeed, I would say.
Carnifex created an album with a slightly new direction – adding in elements of symphonic black metal. They co-produced the album with Mick Kenney of Anaal Nathrakh, who has also worked with Motionless In White and Bleeding Through. “We wanted to work with someone on this album that had an objective perspective, that’s not in the band and someone to help with the programming and digital effects that you hear on the album. Through Brandan (Schieppati, Bleeding Through) I just got his contact.”
Having listened to Carnifex’s newest album ‘Slow Death’ it is apparent that while the band has summoned a bit of new life into their music, the ‘Carnifex sound’ is still very much intact. The album opener “Dark Heart Ceremony” includes an eerie minute long intro setting the dark tone of the album before Carnifex kicks into the sheer brutalness that follows. It is darker, much darker. Other stand out tracks include “Black Candles Burning” (which for old school Carnifex fans, features a few mouth punching break downs early on), the black metal goodness that is “Necrotoxic,” and “Six Feet Closer” which was released as the second single for the album.
After the Summer Slaughter Tour Carnifix will head right back out on the road along side Suicide Silence, Whitechapel, and Oceano for a deathcore juggernaut tour for the ages. So with full touring schedule in their sights and and crushing new album to back them up; Carnifix is ready to conquer the modern metal world once again!