Nourished by nightmares and the throbbing pulse of pragmatic terror, CARNIFEX have returned with their ninth full-length studio album, Necromanteum, out this fall via Nuclear Blast Records.
The cover artwork glows with an emerald and lavender fog; a ghostly energy erupting from the depths of a cemetery. Designed by renowned comic book artist E.M. Gist, this gateway represents the questions we ask about what lies on the other side of reality.
While it may come as a surprise to some fans, the themes of Necromanteum are a little less personal compared to previous CARNIFEX releases. Vocalist and founder Scott Ian Lewis explains: “We wanted to delve into more supernatural and ethereal subjects like astral projection, the duality of man, and the crossroads of intellectualism and the supernatural... There was indeed a time when Doctors were also performing seances!”
Decades ago, wealthy intellectuals began installing psychomanteum in their homes; a secret room completely filled with mirrors, or a single mirror, and in complete darkness, in order to speak to the dead in other dimensions, and gain their knowledge. It was often used as a healing tool to help dissolve grief, or considered a form of prophecy. Necromanteum presents the concept: what if you could use that kind of room to speak with death, itself? What secrets of the world could you uncover from a direct conversation with the grim reaper? Not a monster, but a fellow intellect.
The title track ‘Necromanteum’ broaches these existential topics - for example, what if it is only a one-way trip? No matter how sure we think we are, no one can really know the truth. “This album doesn’t necessarily come to any one conclusion,” explains Lewis, “it’s more an exploration of what could be.” As is to be expected with classic death metal and deathcore, the sound of Necromanteum and the overall musical themes are decidedly riff-driven.
The track ‘Death’s Forgotten Children’ is a brief exception to the fantastic, and less personal approach to this record, with lyrics about Lewis surviving a near-death drowning as a 5-year-old child. Featuring guest vocals from Tom Barber of CHELSEA GRIN, Lewis and Barber actually co-wrote the lyrics together, also pulling inspiration from Barber’s own near-death experience.
There’s no shortage of new blood on this record both in the sense of remaining steadily progressive, but also now with the fresh inclusion of guitarist and song-writer Neal Tiemann as a full-time member. “Neal’s got some great solos on the album,” describes Lewis. “There’s actually only one song that doesn't feature one. This album is unmistakingly us, but it sounds a little different, too. In a lot of ways, it’s what a lot of bands strive to do: continue becoming a better version of yourself.”
After existing as a band for over 18 years, CARNIFEX continue to experiment with fresh song arrangements, and adding a unique sense of atmosphere to their inherently deathcore foundation. When it came time to record, these orchestrations were brought to life by film score composer Spencer Creaghan. “We would send the pre-production to him and then he would write off of the riff, adding an otherworldly atmosphere and elevating the guitars. Spencer is a wonderful writer.”
The recording process took place over the course of several weeks with producer Jason Suecof in Florida, and saw the return of live drums since COVID restrictions made doing so on Graveside Confessions impossible. Mastered by Mark Lewis in Nashville, TN, the album was also co-produced by Vocalist Scott Ian Lewis and drummer Shawn Cameron.
CARNIFEX fans who love to see the band live will not be disappointed as there are plenty of exciting tour plans set for the rest of 2023 into 2024, with new track ‘Torn In Two’ already creating buzz from the band’s last trek on the road.
“This album is for the fans,” states Lewis. “We’re always striving to give you the best version of us, but it’s only ours until we turn it in. Then it becomes everyone else’s record. It’s a form of entertainment, and we truly hope to help listeners break away from real life, and have some escape into our little world through the Necromanteum .”
1 - Torn In Two
2 - Death's Forgotten Children
3 - Necromanteum
4 - Crowned In Everblack
5 - The Pathless Forest
6 - How The Knife Gets Twisted
7 - Architect Of Misanthropy
8 - Infinite Night Terror
9 - Bleed More
10 - Heaven And Hell All At Once