Carnival in Coal - _Vivalavida_
(War on Majors, 1998)
by: David Rocher (
Spin the intriguing album _Vivalavida_ once, and four bands spring to mind -- Cannibal Corpse, Bal-Sagoth, Faith No More, and Boney M. Spin it again, and the ghosts of a whole load of bands will be summoned, such as Emperor, Gorguts, Waltari, Napalm Death, and many more... It seems to me this unearthly blend of influences is precisely what will draw Carnival in Coal as many roses as thorns, since their music is as amusing as it is infuriating -- and I -do- admit having to fight with my temper when I'm granted the right to sit through a two-minute bouncy, loathsomely happy disco session that suddenly mutates into a low-case grinding US death-metal riff a la Suffocation, with all the finesse this implies. Justice must be done to this band, though, for their impressive knowledge and savoir-faire when it comes to fusing the most eclectic influences, and whisking them up into a senseless display of creativity. Not all tracks are precisely amazing, and some even tend to be on the more uninteresting side of things, but Carnival in Coal undoubtedly demonstrate great talent when it comes to crafting the theoretically uncraftable. If you can put up with the very disconcerting absence of a serious, profound guideline throughout the whole of an album -- although Carnival in Coal's music is definitely -not- incoherent -- and are looking for something that will successively make you feel like doing the splits in white, tight-at-the-crotch, bell-bottomed trousers, then pulling a pair of leather chaps on and wrecking your neck intensively before considering fixing a pressure-sensitive light-show disco paving in your lounge, and all this in the time of one single track... then _Vivalavida_ is your beast.
(article published 3/14/1999)
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