Our call for a revival of old school death metal in 2017 has been heeded so far this year. It may be because bands were already playing or on their way to start playing OSDM, or it may be because our Twitter hashtag (so far used only by us) awoke forces long dormant in rehearsal spaces throughout the world. However that may be, Carnal Garden is the latest example of great death metallers eschewing the tech-, the prog- and the core, and just going full on 90’s in their approach to the mortal mineral.
Raw and pig filthy, though overall rather tight, Carnal Garden focus on aggression. The most immediate comparison would be Leukemia’s Suck My Heaven, though Where They are Silent has a richer production. And, to be frank, better vocals. There are other influences, to be sure. Multiple passages are heavily reminiscent of early Bolt Thrower, and there is ample reason to mention both Benediction and our eternal go-to reference Left Hand Path by Entombed.
As someone who loathes virtually all punk music, the punk roots of death metal are about as interesting to me as the Nazi German roots of modern rocketry is to NASA. Even so, in theory punk rock and hardcore do share some common ground with real music like black metal, dungeon synth and harsh noise. The DIY aesthetics, the sonic imperfections, the youthful aggression. And when listening to Where They Are Silent, certain jagged edges makes it impossible not to sense some shared sentiment and even sound with D-beat, or simply Discharge themselves. Mercifully, the lyrics focus on important topics like zombies, murder and nihilistic war voyeurism, so the influences (if there are such) stay in the music.
Regardless of influences and similarities, the totality lain before us here is very solid, old-school death metal, with plenty of original ideas as well. In “Morbid Dreams” the music is composed in such a way so as to match the title and lyric, with a surreal and somewhat unfocused style creating a track that is as dreamy as a death metal track could possibly be expected to be. Every song has some kind of personality or characteristic, with brutal riffs, screeching licks and evil little melody lines producing, in the final analysis, a very pleasing death metal listening experience.
There are samples sprinkled throughout the album as well, riding the fine line between cool and corny without bothering too much about which side they end up on. Carnal Garden’s debut album is a solid one, which hopefully will get the attention it deserves. It’s been out for a couple of days now on Eclectic Prod.