Carnifex is derived from the Old English word for "executioner," or that's what the promotional material tells me. Doing a quick wiki search I discover that it is also in the species (genus? I can never tell which is which) name for an extinct marsupial lion, a crab, and a bird. What any of these things have to do with each other is beyond me, I just thought it was mildly interesting that an ancient word for executioner is related to a marsupial, a crab, and a bird, as well as a death-core band. Of all these relations, the band is likely to be worse for your health, at least if their music is going to have anything to do with it! Just you wait until their Victory Records debut, The Diseased and the Poisoned, hits shelves and proceeds to bash your head in, should it have the opportunity.
If there is one word to describe the music of Carnifex, that word would be "brutal." Now, the music is not terribly complex or technical, but it is heavy, tight, and clearly has every intention of delivering a punishing experience. The biggest problem is that brutality does not a good album, or band, make. This music is good if all you need is a time waster, but if you are looking for anything of substance, you are going to want to look elsewhere. Don't get me wrong, I did not find it to be an offensive experience, quite the opposite. The Diseased and the Poisoned is the equivalent of a popcorn movie, you know the type, all surface fluff that is fun while it lasts, but it does not dig itself into the gray matter and proceed to haunt your memories.
Listening to the album, they seem like a combination of Bludgeon and Victory Records label mates With Blood Comes Cleansing. The former is a hardcore act with an extremely clipped sound that keeps perfect time and does a good job of beating dents into your skull, while With Blood Comes Cleansing brings crushing death tones led by throat ripping vocals. Carnifex displays both of these elements throughout. A problem of their combining of these elements is that they don't have anything else to back it up.
I guess I should be thankful the album clocks in at less than thirty-five minutes. Any longer than that and I fear I would like it considerably less than I do, not to mention reaching for the stop button. These guys knew just the right moment to call it quits, they step in, do their thing, and fade away into the darkness quickly allowing your brain to regain focus and move onto other things.
While their music is lacking in depth, they do not hide the fact that they are a live band. In all of the promotional material I have seen, they never forget to mention that what makes them stand apart from similar bands is that they put everything into each and every live show (not that I would expect anything less from any band). This leads me to believe that the CD is an advertisement for the live show. I get a distinct impression of the kind of energy they could bring to the stage through the aggressiveness of the recording. This is definitely the kind of music to get a pit going. So, I will believe they put on a great live show, I just wish the music contained a bit more depth.
Bottomline. This is far from a terrible album; it is just terribly mediocre. It is good if all you want is something aggressive to play in the background; anything more than that and you may get bored.