Century Media Records, 2002
REVIEW BY: Paul Hanson
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 03/15/2002
There's a blurb on the back of my promo copy of the Carnal Forge release Please . . . Die! that begins with these sentences below. Usually, I don't quote presskit verbiage because the purpose of a presskit is simply to get me, the reviewer, excited about a given release. I've gotten plenty of releases that were described as "breakthrough" and "most awe-inspiring, jaw-dropping" in the presskit, only to really suck, to consider myself jaded. That said, consider these sentences:
"There's no need to wait any longer for the thrash revival to occur - it's upon us, and in full force. Why wait around for the old heroes of yesterday to rise from their rocking chairs and reunite, and why have their vintage overshadowed by the nagging feeling that they were much better Back in the Day? Older generals mayhave formulated the original battle plans, but it's youth that always leads the charge."
So I looked at the song titles. "Butchered, Slaughtered, Strangled, Hanged," "Hand of Doom" and "Totalitarian Torture" are three of the first four song titles. Okay, these guys from Sweden look serious, per their press picture. Plenty of tattoos and long hair.
Put the CD in.
Thrash is back baby and it likes it hard, fast, and furious. It doesn't want a quickie, it wants an orgasm that lasts from sunset to sunrise and back. Carnal Forge deliver the goods with this release. "B S S H" starts the CD out - a heart monitor going flatline - and then the onslaught begins. Vocalist Jonas Kjellgren is torqued way tight as he unleashes his intense lyrics. Guitarists Jari Kuusisto and Petri Kuusisto construct guitar riffs and bassist Lars Linden and drummer Stefan Westerberg nail the lower register down with precision. Westerberg is fast and precise.
But given the presskit boasting, how does it compare to an "old hero" release? It'd be too easy to judge early Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax, and Megadeth releases as being "good for their day, but . . . you know, Kill 'Em All is nearly 20 years old. The presskit is right." And the presskit is right. This release is impressive. Rather than compare the release to the Four That Wrote the Book of Thash, let's look at what is different. First of all, this CD doesn't have a single standout track. There's not a "Whiplash" or "Lucretia" (my favorite 'deth song on Rust In Peace) or "War Ensemble" or "Indians" - - thrash classics that stand out.
Rather the entire CD is song after song of blistering force. Second, at the same time that the songs all stand out, there is a lack of compassion that you might expect from Anthrax's "Indians." There's no "we're sorry for the situation" or any remorse. Hell, there's a song called "Please . . . Die" and another called "Welcome To Your Funeral." Third, and finally, the songs are shorter in length. When I think of thrash, I think of a song like "Master of Puppets" that has a theme, a variation of the theme, a return to the theme, a lead, and a closing section. These songs that Carnal Forge have put together are more sonic blasts. Sure, there's verse/chorus/verse structures (as with almost all songs) but a CF song blasts so long and hard that you lose the identity of different sections.
Carnal Forge, according to their presskit, have two other CDs available. I am on my way now to look for them.