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Friday, December 9, 2022

Review: Carnival Of Flesh – Anthems of Extinction

Label: Self released

Date: November 1st, 2021

Hold on for a second there! Where do we stand on open-mindedness in black metal these days? Did we have enough of Satan worshiping? Death, destruction, war, plague… Is that still a thing? And how come there’s a song on “Anthems of Extinction” titled “Tropical Plunder”? Come on people, please restrain your weather reports to ice and snow!

I’m kidding, of course. Carnival Of Flesh brings more than enough diseases, death, destruction and hatred. After all, their second full length album is called “Anthems of Extinction”. However, not in a traditional manner. This record addresses a global extinction in an overly realistic picture of climate changes and humanity’s influence on it. Carnival Of Flesh uses social issues and natural resources abuse in order to portray a bleak prospects of humanity’s future. With that in mind, you cannot quite expect sunshine and rainbows to exude from these nine tracks.

If not completely original point of view in black metal, surely it is not as exhausted as the ones I mentioned in the opening paragraph. On top of that, this Serbian quartet managed to “modify” their musical output in a manner fitting the words within.

What I mean is that “Anthems of Extinction” is looking to avoid the bone-chilling winds and snow-filled mountains, opting for a hot and humid atmosphere of a rainforest in its last dying breath. The perfect example for this is found in the mentioned “Tropical Plunder”. But I’ll get there later on.

First and foremost, Carnival Of Flesh is dedicated to symphonic black metal. However, you need to know “Anthems of Extinction” is not an album that looks for what modern day metal scene calls “symphonic”. You know, pushing the symphony to the forefront losing the “metal” somewhere in the cacophonous noise behind it. Rather, the guys are thinking of the early days of using keyboards in extreme metal. Like the first couple of Dimmu Borgir records, where the symphonic element was a part of building a suitable atmosphere. Emperor would also be a suitable comparison for Carnival Of Flesh.

Still, this is not all. Getting back to “Tropical Plunder”, as the best example of what is expected of “Anthems of Extinction”, it is no wonder the Serbs chose it for a video announcement of the record. The atmosphere I keep pointing out and the warmth and density of this album might be associated with Primordial, for instance. And why not, I’ll say it, Harakiri For The Sky. The song goes for the glorification of nature’s wealth and absurdity of its destruction, both in musical and lyrical regard.

Then again, you have “The One”, which is an overly fast track. Aggressive and wrathful, as the society in its desire for more of everything. Again, a combination of music and lyrics that fit together, while at the same time fitting into the theme of the entire record.

A fine addition to “Anthems of Extinction” can be found in “Rapacity”, a nine minute epos, concerning the nature’s ultimate revenge on us. The sounds of wildlife that are omnipresent within the track take over in the middle segment, right after a fairly ferocious couple of minutes of black metal. The same “intermezzo” leads into a threatening atmospheric segment dominated by a bass guitar, only to continue as destructive as it started. Finishing the track you get a melodic solo on guitars and a keyboard takeover in a whirlwind crescendo.

I could go on, covering tracks one by one, but I believe you get the gist. Basically, “Anthems of Extinction” is not quite for the black metal purists. If you still believe black metal peaked with “Transilvanian Hunger”, Carnival Of Flesh is not your cup of tea. On the other hand, if you’re willing to invest some time in a slightly unorthodox but still traditional enough symphonic black metal, look for this one’s arrival. I think there is no physical release so far, but there should be one. And soon. There must be. In the meantime, you can stream the hell out of this album. It’s well worth it.