Released: 2004, Century Media
It seems a shame that this Swedish powerhouse doesn't seem to get any respect from the worldwide metal forces. The band possesses all of the tools of the thrashing trade to easily burn their mark into the faces of any metalhead of prays at the altars of Slayer, At the Gates, or The Haunted. At the same time however, Carnal Forge are a lot more than a carbon copy of REIGN IN BLOOD or SLAUGHTER OF THE SOUL, they are the new breed of Swedish metal: an act that combines high octane circle pit sickness with flashy melodic brilliance all into one huge package.
While the band possessed humble beginnings with the more Meshuggah inspired mediocrity of their WHO'S GONNA BURN debut, throughout their 3 killer follow-ups(FIREDEMON, PLEASE...DIE, and THE MORE YOU SUFFER), they established a sound that differed from much of the Gothenburg styled metal of the times. Even though the members in Carnal Forge also play(ed) in other well known Swedish acts such as Centinex and In Thy Dreams, it seems that 'Da Forge is the acts which has received the most internation attention, having been to the States both at the Metal Meltdown festival in New Jersey, as well as embarking 2003's Metal Gods tour, alongside Halford, Testament, Immortal, and Amon Amarth.
So how does AREN'T YOU DEAD YET differ from the band's other releases? Well, to be honest...not much, but that's the brilliance of it. The fact that Carnal Forge know what works and doesn't deviate much from their established formula is something which I respect greatly. Rather than undergoing drastic stylistic changes, the band prefers to tinker and improve upon the existing framework, each time tempering it, and creating an even stronger and more intense effort.
The most impressive aspect of AREN'T YOU DEAD YET for me is the increased melodic nature of the guitar solos. While on previous records, we had your average Slaytanic squeal with an occasion deviation into Carcass/At the Gates inspired dual madness, on this album we have tons of classy, well thought out guitar work that adds a whole new dimension to the band's songs.Sure, the great mosh parts are still intact (see the Anthrax inspired intro to "Exploding Veins"), but the overall punch the songs possess this time around is so much greater.
So the good news for Carnal Forge fans is that AREN'T YOU DEAD YET another outstanding record from a band that just continues to release outstanding records. For those who still haven't borne witness to the fury of the Forge? Well, the time is now my friends. Discover the band you've been missing out on.