In late 2012, the five-piece, top-tier deathcore outfit Carnifex announced an indefinite hiatus and stated that the band's future was uncertain. When summer 2013 rolled around, the band surprised fans by saying that it was going to be coming back after taking the past few months off and even had a new album in the works. This piece of work, titled Die Without Hope, is scheduled to be released on March 4 under Nuclear Blast Records and fans are awaiting to see what the band still has to offer on its fifth studio album in a seemingly dying genre.
The album opens with "Salvation Is Dead," with the opening vocals screaming these exact same words. In the first few minutes, there is nothing impressive that stands out to me. It seems to just include mindless chugging and lackluster screaming; however, in the last half of the song, Carnifex picks up the slack and begins to sound more like the old band that I once knew. The band even throws in a guitar solo – something that hasn't been done by the band before Die Without Hope. The fourth track, the title track, smacks you in the face because all of the tracks before it were fairly uninteresting. "Die Without Hope" and the next few subsequent tracks throw you back to the Hell Chose Me-era Carnifex and really catch my fading attention. The final track, "Where the Light Dies," is quite easily the best track on the album. I'm a bit astounded by the drastic and significant increase in quality. Full of memorable riffs, heavy drumming and a groovy solo, I can only wish that the rest of the album had been at this level.
In a few tracks, Carnifex uses solos, sweeps and breakdowns in abundance. In regards to overall tone, not much as changed on Die Without Hope compared to previous albums. Carnifex has fortunately stopped using the traditional "one breakdown after another" formula and instead has made use of guitar solos, but this still isn't enough to keep things fresh. The very brief guitar solo on "Rotten Souls" is something that grabs my attention yet again, but like every other time, it's fleeting. The drumming is pretty standard on most of Die Without Hope, but there are more than a few drum fills that show how technical the drummer can get. The vocals haven't changed much over the last few years and, if you liked them before, then you won't be disappointed here.
I didn't mention too many tracks because, frankly, there isn't anything worth mentioning. Most tracks are solid, but there isn't much on Die Without Hope that will keep me coming back to it when I'm in the mood for something heavy. The death metal-influenced solos begin to sound the same after a while; additionally, when they do make an appearance, it's only for a few seconds before the chugging sets in once more. Only the final track really stood out while the rest of the album was fairly bland. When compared to the band's older material, this album just doesn't come close to the quality of those albums. Overall, Die Without Hope is a mediocre album and I was expecting more from these deathcore veterans.