Tech Death Thursday: Carnosus
I’ve put off talking about this one for way too long. Today, we’re checking out the debut from Carnosus.
Couple pieces of news:
- In perhaps the least shocking turn of events ever, everyone but Steffen Kummerer left Obscura. Again. The three members that left (Rafael Trujillo, Linus Klausenitzer, and Sebastian Lanser) have formed a new project, Obsidious, and the little preview they have up on their FB sounds pretty intense. Looking forward to new material from them.
- Woe Betide might be new to the scene, but they’ve got my attention. “Throes of the Spines” is big, heavy, and spooky, and it’s got me wanting more. Look for their debut on May 24th.
It’s not wrong to want a little instant gratification from time to time, especially when it comes to music. Listening to music is a pleasure activity, a luxury for some, but some of us like to find stuff that pushes the boundaries of listenability or even what constitutes music itself. That is to say, we’ve taken something that’s supposed to be fun and turned it into a harsh grind for reasons that I’m still trying to figure out. We’re stepping away from that this week and checking out an album that’s easier on the ears and the mind, something that, for me at least, immediately ticks all the boxes for what makes an album a fun listen.
Dogma of the Deceased, the debut album from Örebro, Sweden’s Carnosus, has been out for nearly a month and a half, and it’s been in my regular listening rotation since its release. It’s one of those albums that hits the sweet spot of listenable tech death, combining neoclassical-tinged melodies and dazzling leads with a splash of chunky low-end riffing and uncharacteristically (for the genre) filthy vocals. Dogma isn’t the brainiest or most innovative album ever, but it’s not trying to be, nor does it need to be, taking tried-and-true methods of song crafting and utilizing them to their fullest. It’s like a gourmet comfort food album; you go to it because you know what you’re getting out of it, you know you’re going to like it, and it’s some of the best of its kind.
Opening track “Envenomation of the Population” showcases everything the band is about in one fell swoop, kicking things off with a fairly straightforward “big” intro with that familiar imposing harmonic minor turn; an appropriate feeling for an album about the rise of a tyrannical empire in post-apocalyptic Earth. It quickly ramps up the intensity in a flurry of blastbeats and sweep picking, pulling back the speed with the introduction of the vocals while increasing in tension via some nasty chords and a riff that dances precariously around the root. Quick bursts of speed punctuate their phrases, blastbeats capping off the faster riffs and rapid palm-muted gallops in the slower, punchier sections that follow. The drummer maneuvers the band expertly through these sections, altering his pace as they revisit riffs to keep each repetition feeling fresh.
That pacing is true not just on the level of individual songs, but the album as a whole. The intro track’s followup, “Chamber of Emancipation,” might initially suggest homogeneity with its similar tempo, but this one takes a more neoclassical approach to its melodies and solos. From there on out, the album continues to mix things up, largely getting heavier and darker. “An Illicit Practice” and “Totalityranny” plumb the depths of their sound, trading the rapid-fire shreddy riffs for monstrous grooves and bleak atmospherics. “Empire of Gloom” and “Continuum of Misery” bring it back around at the end, going full bore on the speed, but keeping that gloomy air of the middle chunk of the album intact.
Dogma of the Deceased is one of my favorite releases of the year thus far. It’s a wild ride that never goes completely off the rails, and it does exactly what I want for that sweet, sweet rush that only tech death brings. Their sound is familiar, but the little touches and flourishes, the nuance they bring, makes it a standout record amongst its peers. It feels like a love letter to the genre in the best way, and it’s incredibly addictive. This is required listening for any fan of tech death.