Carnation – Chapel of Abhorrence (Season of Mist)Sunday, 5th August 2018
With the number of ‘old school death metal’ promos that come through the ranks, one would think at some point it would get stale. While that’s not an incorrect assumption, there’s always some hope that each time the pipeline is accessed, there’s going to be a gem amongst the turds. When Carnation’s Chapel of Abhorrence found its way through, there was some trepidation with the very ‘old school’ art (even if the color scheme was quite striking). But low and behold, the album is a real monster in the best of all possible ways.
To get right into the skinny, Carnation is unabashedly old school, with some definitive Swedish crunch to it at times. They embrace plenty of the same aspects others have been jumping on top of in droves lately. Yet, each time “The Whisperer” gets the album started, there’s a clear grin on this scribe’s face. While Carnation are all about the old school, they pull it off with such passion and genuine excitement (particularly in the riffs) that it just cannot be denied. They master in the more uptempo and intense variety of the genre, with driving riffs coming at you in regular intervals, though it’s what said riffs are bringing to the table that makes it most interesting. Considering the intensity and gallop of the material, it’s unusually catchy. No one is going to accuse the band of ‘selling out’ or anything, but on songs like the title track and “Plaguebreeder,” they practically jump from one memorable riff to the next. All with the violence behind them to cause some destruction in the live setting. There are some slowdown moments to add to the diversity within the tracks (“Fathomless Depths”), but expect a fairly thunderous assault from beginning to end.
Ultimately, those seeking some death metal that feels like the genuine article should rightfully bask in the essence of Chapel of Abhorrence. Unabashedly brutal, yet almost guaranteed to embed itself into your skull for days, Carnation may not have the patent on this particular formula but they sure do play it with enough passion and confidence that you won’t even have a second thought about it.