Carnal Forge - Aren't You Dead Yet?
Century Media
Melodeath with Thrash Elements
10 songs (35:42)
Release year: 2004
Carnal Forge, Century Media
Reviewed by Jay

It's sad to see the situation Carnal Forge is in right now. They put out a great album that got buried and follow it up with a good effort only to have no luck in the promotions department by their label. This album came out in Europe a few weeks ago and is set to drop in the US in about a week. Aren't You Dead Yet? Picks up where The More You Suffer left off. Many of the commercial elements from the last album are dropped in favor of more brutality. The speed has picked up considerably and the band shows that they want to free themselves of comparisons to the rest of the thrash styled Melodeath bands out there. However, the album has one flaw. As strong as it is, it seems as though they rip themselves off. The album seems to be a facsimile of the last album in many respects.

Opening with "Decades of Despair" the audio assault is unrelenting. This track has some awesome guitar work and certainly opens things with a bang. The solo is a certain highlight. Another notable entry is the very At The Gates styled "Waiting for Sundown." This track could easily be from some lost recording session with the minor caveat that the vocals were completely different. The main riff is the pure essence of melodic death metal and it sends shivers down my spine. The chugging riffs remind me of how awesome metal can be when done properly. Spectacular and mesmerizing, this is probably my favorite track of the album. Yet then tracks like "Inhuman" hit me and I realize that while they can craft an enchanting song here and there, Carnal Forge really needs a breath of originality. The track opens with a slow plodding intro building up as though a burst of speed is about to hit you in the face. The track remains one of the slower songs on the album and it just feels as through the band is making promises it cannot keep. The overall feeling of the album is very similar and familiar but it doesn’t change. Song after song, they begin to blend together and after repeated listens, it’s hard to remember which is which because they are all so damned identical.

While the guitar speeds and the drums thrash hard, there is little to differentiate this from the last album. Some of the catchiness of the choruses has been removed but that’s about the only change. Nevertheless, speed seems to be all that Carnal Forge has to offer. Tracks like the inspired closer "Strength of Misery" and "Final Hour in Hell" certainly showcase the speed but lack something in depth of songwriting. When one listens to many of the songs on the album, it seems as though there is nothing to the songs. As if Carnal Forge doesn’t want us to explore their music deeply. They are here to rock out and hammer our eardrums into submission but nothing else. Our gray matter is not to be stimulated, our minds not expanded, our senses (aside from hearing) not teased. I don’t think a band should settle like this with songwriting. They should seek to make their music more thought inducing. However, the flip side can prove true as well. Slayer did the same thing and we all appreciate their contribution. I can say that if I experience a rough day sometime in the near future, this is the album that will be blasting out of my speakers. Quite possibly, this is all Carnal Forge wants me to do anyway.

Killing Songs :
Decades of Despair, Waiting for Sundown, Strength of Misery
Jay quoted 73 / 100
Other albums by Carnal Forge that we have reviewed:
Carnal Forge - Testify for My Victims reviewed by Alex and quoted 77 / 100
Carnal Forge - The More You Suffer reviewed by Jay and quoted 88 / 100
Carnal Forge - Firedemon reviewed by Danny and quoted 93 / 100
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