Deadly Carnage - _Sentiero II: Ceneri_
(Independent, 2011)
by: Dan Lake (7 out of 10)
Italian is a beautiful language for metal both somber and sinister. Continent-huggers Janvs crafted blackened prog ballads in their native tongue on their 2009 release _Vega_; that same year, northeasterners Absentia Lunae scared la merda vivente out of me with _ Historia Nobis Assentietur_. Sadly, much extreme music pumped out by their connazionali (Hour of Penance, Nefarium) trades linguistic comfort for transparency to a wider audience by conveying those feral philosophies in English. Combined with the instinct to bow slavishly to the demands of brutality, this choice smooths away any cultural idiosyncrasies that might inject the songs with depth and character.

Deadly Carnage play both sides of that coin from their home on the Adriatic, and in doing so betray an acute imbalance of talents. By and large, _Ceneri_ whips out a sanitized black-death blend whose most effective moments arrive when the players dial back the sonic intensity and make space for their more subtle, (dare I say...) romantic tendencies. Glimpses of their panoramic legato appear in the clean guitars on first track "Guilt of Discipline" and the fractured folk crescendo of "Parallels", though both tracks exist primarily as metallic ragers and contain unnecessary attempts to connect with English-speaking audiences. Both parts of thin thrasher "Epitaph" underwhelm as they surge by in a fit of furious machismo, and the chronic ‘tween-track ambient grumble doesn't earn any style points. "Growth and New Gods" spends its first half shuffling among various half-baked ideas before settling into a faux-tender middle section that finally takes time to stretch out and find itself.

It's not until the title track ("ceneri" meaning "ashes"), tucked away at the end of the album, that the record truly gains emotional traction. "Top Gun"-era guitar tones scintillate over a gorgeously picked melodic bed, and vocalist Marcello really lets his Italian soul pour forth. Keys, both acoustic and synthetic, and dreamy percussion join the piece unhurriedly. String scrapes and moments of near falsetto allow rare and priceless intimacy between the band and their audience. In this final piece, the aggressive façade falls away and we're left with five unarmed and truly engaging human beings.

On _Ceneri_, Deadly Carnage sketch out an ambitious plan to unite their quiet and chaotic personalities. There is unquestionable power radiating from the former; the task of injecting that force into the latter lies still ahead of them.


(article published 15/1/2012)

4/23/2014 C Drishner 8 Deadly Carnage - Manthe
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