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Carnifex is an American deathcore band from San Diego, California. Formed in 2005, they are currently signed to Nuclear Blast after having been signed to Victory Records and have released five full-length albums and one EP. The name of the band is derived from the Latin: carnifex, meaning "butcher" or sometimes "executioner".
Formation and early recordings (2005–2006)
Carnifex was founded during late 2005 in Fallbrook, California. A self-titled demo was recorded and released featuring five tracks and distributed through Enclave Records in 2005, made with the intent of searching for a larger record deal. In September 2006, Rick James and Kevin Vargas left. Shortly after, Steve McMahon joined on bass, as did Travis Whiting on guitar.
Carnifex recorded an EP before the end of 2006, titled Love Lies in Ashes, which was released through Acropolisrpm Records on March 13, 2007. It was sold exclusively at shows as well as online stores such as iTunes before the group began work on their full-length debut album.
Dead in My Arms (2007–2008)
After their release of Love Lies in Ashes, Carnifex was signed to underground label This City Is Burning Records in March 2007 and recorded their debut full length Dead in My Arms, with yet another member change. The band though was still a four-piece outfit but with current guitarist Cory Arford replacing Travis Whiting in March 2007. The line-up during the recording of Dead in My Arms was Scott Lewis (vocals), Shawn Cameron (drums), Cory Arford (guitar) and Steve McMahon (bass guitar).
Dead in My Arms was released on July 12, 2007. Carnifex began touring full time with the release of this record. Touring guitarist Jake Anderson was recruited as a second guitarist from July 2007 until November. During this time, the band found themselves touring with groups such as Emmure, Whitechapel, MyChildren MyBride among others. The reasonable success of Dead in My Arms, and the prevalence of the deathcore genre as a whole, attracted the attention of Victory Records. In November 2007, after the departure of Steve McMahon (bass) and Jake Anderson (guitar), Carnifex signed a deal with Victory with now current members Fred Calderon (bass) and Ryan Gudmunds (guitar).
The Diseased and the Poisoned (2008–2009)
Carnifex's second album, The Diseased and the Poisoned was released on June 24, 2008, and reached No. 19 on the Billboard Top Heatseekers Chart. Since the release of The Diseased and the Poisoned Carnifex toured over 22 countries with such bands as The Black Dahlia Murder, Despised Icon, Obituary, Unleashed, Finntroll, Warbringer, Parkway Drive, Unearth, Architects, Whitechapel, Protest the Hero, Bleeding Through, Darkest Hour, and Impending Doom.
Hell Chose Me and Until I Feel Nothing (2009–2011)
On November 28, 2009, Carnifex finished recording their third full length album Hell Chose Me, which led to its release on February 16, 2010. The record sold more than 3,100 copies on its first week within the United States alone. The group played the 2010 Summer Slaughter Tour in support of the album and toured with Unearth, All That Remains and As I Lay Dying in September 2010. On January 26, 2011, vocalist, Lewis announced, that the band were in the process of writing a new record; "We've been working hard on the new record. We know we have to top Hell Chose Me and were NOT letting you down! Heavier, darker and more pissed in every way [sic]." On February 3, 2011, Carnifex embarked on a full U.S. tour dubbed the Names Mean Nothing Tour where the band was supported by bands like Oceano, The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza and Within the Ruins.
On August 24, 2011, Lewis made another announcement, confirming that the title for the new album would be Until I Feel Nothing. He stated that its sound was inspired while listening to the band's three studio albums and felt like combining all of its style to one record.
On October 9, 2012, Lewis announced that the band would be playing their last three shows in California before an indefinite hiatus. He specifically stated that all members were still current and no one has departed from the group. Lewis also stated that he was unsure of the band's future.
"Fans and Friends. First and for most, a sincere thank you is in order to our fans and friends across the world. Without your support and passion, we are nothing. As of now, Carnifex is in a state of suspended animation. The reasons for this are many and complicated. Let me be clear in saying that Shawn, Cory, Ryan, Fred and I (Scott) are all still members of Carnifex. Let me also be clear in saying that although the future is very uncertain, I can say with optimism, that this is not farewell, but rather, until we meet again. Carnifex is now retreating into the obscurity we once came from. Be certain that us as individuals and as band-mates have a true love for this band. Our desire to create our brand of art and music has never been about trends or money. These things will not decide our future. We invite you to join us live, for the last time in the foreseeable future. We will be making these select dates as memorable as possible and look forward to seeing you there."
Through December 21 to December 23 in 2012, the band played three extra shows in California. During the hiatus, Shawn Cameron started the symphonic metal band Unicorn Death, which he also brought his wife Diana to be a part of.
Return from hiatus and Die Without Hope (2013–present)
On June 10, 2013, it was announced that Carnifex returned from their almost year-long hiatus and will be a part of the 2013 Impericon Never Say Die! Tour line-up, replacing metalcore band Miss May I. On July 9, 2013, record label Nuclear Blast announced that Carnifex had signed a record deal and would be releasing their fifth studio album Die Without Hope on March 4, 2014.
In 2014, the band returned to touring with their first North American tour in two years as support with Whitechapel and Devildriver on a massive Summer co-headliner. Revocation, Fit For An Autopsy and Rivers of Nihil joined as the support also. The band then supported Parkway Drive and Heaven Shall Burn on a November 2014 tour across all of Europe. With Northlane also joining them on the tour. Then they opened up for Chelsea Grin on their Ashes to Ashes tour in March 2015. Sworn In and The Family Ruin also joined on the tour.
Following an Instagram post by Mick Kenney of Anaal Nathrakh in June 2015, it was confirmed that Carnifex were currently in pre-production for their next album due later in 2015, with Kenney handling the production duties. The album is being recorded at Audiohammer Studios in Florida.
The band also opened up for Cannibal Corpse in the Netherlands in the August of 2015. The band then embarked on a 10 year anniversary tour known as the Decade of Despair tour to celebrate the band's formation in the October of 2015. Within the Ruins, Lorna Shore and The Last Ten Seconds of Life joined as support. Black Tongue was supposed to appear on the lineup but they dropped off due to denied visas. A European tour then proceeded with Fallujah joining as support. The band is also confirmed to be playing on the 10th annual Summer Slaughter Tour in North America.
Music style, influences and lyrics
Carnifex play an extreme metal musical style known as deathcore, which is a hybrid of the genres death metal and metalcore. The band cites Dying Fetus, Dark Funeral, Slayer, Cannibal Corpse, The Black Dahlia Murder, Immolation, Dååth, Dissection, In Flames and Carcass as their main influences.
Their third album Hell Chose Me features a sound relating more to death metal along with some black metal influences and as well as some characteristics that the band didn't visit before such as including choruses and guitar solos into their songs. However, the band's fourth studio album Until I Feel Nothing features much more eccentric influences, even into the realm of black metal with its themes and atmospheric elements. On the album, the band emphasized more on their black metal influences such as: Mayhem, Burzum, Emperor, Watain, Bathory, Cradle of Filth, amongst many others.
In an interview with vocalist Scott Lewis about the "deathcore" label, he stated
Carnifex's lyrics are all based around negative themes. Lead vocalist Scott Lewis has stated the theme of Carnifex will always be negative even when the emotion he is in is positive. The band's first album Dead in My Arms mainly concerns heartbreak and self-harm while all the albums by the band collectively reference lyrics that concern depression, betrayal, hopelessness among themes that also cover anger and hatred.
I always have written from a personal perspective. My personal life for the last few years really fell apart. Some of that was due to the nature on being in a full-time touring band and the amount of strain it puts on your life back home. Part of that was due to keeping some really damaging people in my life a lot longer than I should have.