Carnal Forge - Testify for My Victims
12 songs (48'16")
Release year: 2007
Carnal Forge, Candlelight
Reviewed by Alex

Surprisingly, I am going to bring very little bias into this review. While Carnal Forge has disgorged five solid full-lengths prior to Testify for My Victims and can hardly be called a newcomer, I have no up-and-personal knowledge of the band. As Swedish death/thrash genre continued its slide down the slippery slope, I was still busy re-spinning the glory days of Slaughter of the Soul, The Chainheart Machine and The Haunted first couple of albums. I never had that much time, or for that matter desire, to dig a little deeper and rediscover another dimension in Carnal Forge, In Thy Dreams, Corporation 187, etc. All I remember about Carnal Forge is a couple of songs from Century Media samplers, the word “intense” and “Slayer and The Haunted tried that before” being the closest descriptors of the immediate impression.

Thus, Testify for My Victims is a clean slate for me. There will be no “return to form” or “I wish they stayed true to their roots” clichés. There will be, however, inevitably, the overall measuring up to the much maligned genre in which many bands, after fast and meteoric rise, found themselves having to appeal to the broadest core of fans, and losing the spark in the process of dumbing up the sound. No names to be mentioned here.

The newest Carnal Forge is hardly an essential album, but certainly hits the spot while it lasts, making a good enough cause for selected songs to enter the dedicated fan’s player’s shuffle. There is still plenty of intensity and more-or-less signature At The Gates/The Haunted infectious riffing, set to fast and faster beat on this album. The title track, the initial moments of Numb (The Dead) and Q.P.T.O.O.M.M. (this one is the bitch to type), and characteristic guitar loops on Biological Waste Matter – these may be unpretentious in design, but they more than make up for it in energy. Copying the originators would not have been a feat in and of itself, Carnal Forge is trying to blend together machine gun teeth shattering thrash riffs and melodic edge. The band can hardly be called melodic death metal, in the vein of Gothenburg sound, but many solos and interludes on the album do display melodic twists and harmonic shifts (title track, Burning Eden).

Most importantly, to these ears the band managed to maintain the element of idiosyncratic franticness. The melodic parts on Testify for My Victims are anything, but weepy metalcore. The sing along choruses of Burning Eden, No Longer Bleeding and Lost Legion, with their cleaner gang vocals, may provide for some anchor moments, but quickly yield to bouncing, off-the-wall madness, pervasive on Numb and Q.P.T.O.O.M.M. No synth or keyboards of any kind, but with twelve tracks Carnal Forge also tried to vary things. After three straight fast opening salvos, slower Godsend Gods End sounds very dark and ominous, while End Game is muscular, almost Unleashed-like, with fitting deeper and significantly lower growls.

The critics may find a lot to chew on over here as well. New vocalist Jens Mortensen is just as clean slate for me as the whole of the band, sticking mainly to the shouting style. The syncopated lounging on Godsend Gods End is something I really tend to avoid with modern Swedish sound, and Subhuman is totally devoid of finer moments, but perhaps can work better in live settings. The grungier beginning of No Longer Bleeding and soul scream closer Ante Mori also seem to be more questionable choices, and really do not compare favorably to breakneck speed of Biological Waste Matter and self-flagellating Freedom by Mutilation, with its own quiet, but better, melodic moment.

As frenetic coexists in accord with melodic on Testify for My Victims, musicianship is tight and given more due in solos and bridges, production is clean but not neutered, the lack of originality is forgiven, and the pass is there for this above par of a Swedish death/thrash album. If you are still a fan, you might want to seek it out.

Killing Songs :
Testify for My Victims, Burning Eden, Numb, Q.P.T.O.O.M.M., Biological Waste Matter
Alex quoted 77 / 100
Other albums by Carnal Forge that we have reviewed:
Carnal Forge - Aren't You Dead Yet? reviewed by Jay and quoted 73 / 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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There are 3 replies to this review. Last one on Sun Aug 15, 2010 5:28 am
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