Album Review: Carnifex’s World War X Detonates Close to Full Force
If you’re like me, you panicked when you heard “No Light Shall Save Us,” the first single from Carnifex’s seventh and latest album, World War X. The track is boring and generic, and the guest vocals from Arch Enemy’s Alissa White-Gluz don’t add very much.
Luckily, “Light” is an outlier on World War X, the only actively weak spot on an album that, although not perfect, is still pretty enjoyable.
Although Carnifex’s most recent album, 2016’s Slow Death, was a slow/mid-pace change-up from the band’s normal auditory onslaught, they’ve cranked the dial up a bit on World War X. Right off the bat, the listener will notice a more prominent use of symphonic and blackened elements in the music, especially in the title track’s melodic riff just before the breakdown finale.
Speaking of that breakdown: it should come as no surprise to the average Carnifex fan that this album is chock full of ‘em. Breakdowns have always been a strong point for Carnifex, and they’re responsible for writing some of the best ones in all of deathcore. Alas, the breakdowns on World War X feel like they failed eighth grade while the rest of the music went onto high school. Many of them come off as juvenile, such as the galloping one in “Eyes of the Executioner,” or generally out of place, like on “All Roads Lead to Hell.”
And those aforementioned symphonic and blackened elements? They trail off during the album’s midsection. The middle of the microwave burrito is always the coldest, and the center portion of World War X feels a bit undercooked, because Carnifex are at their best when blackened. Fortunately, they pick back up again during X’s final leg, especially on the penultimate track, “Hail Hellfire.” With its crushing speed and killer guitar solo, designed to sound like a bomb siren, “Hail Hellfire” offers a more typical Carnifex feel, and is uncontested as the best track on the record.
Although I can’t imagine this will be the defining album of Carnifex’s career, it’s an accessible one, and longtime Carnifex fans should find something to enjoy.