Carnation, Cursed Mortality (Season of Mist, 2023)

While I’m still new as a listener to Carnation, 2023 is their 10th anniversary as a band.

The variety spanning the globe when considering the death metal scene can cause situations like this, but I’m grateful to have finally found the Belgian death metallers as their latest record, Cursed Mortality, is being released. 

The record's title track seems to fit all too well when considering much of the current news. Are we as humans cursed or is it that we’ve made our occasional indulgences into a selfish mess we can’t recover from? I know this is some of what has come to mind as I listen to the eight songs presented here.

For those that prefer to have a band to compare sound or at least a reference point to entice your interest, I’m reminded of some shared sonic elements that made me a fan of bands like Bloodbath and the last few Cannibal Corpse records.

To the credit of vocalist Simon Duson, his growling vocals sound unique to his voice even if you can hear the influence of others over the years. In a genre where the vocals can be overlooked or occasionally considered indistinguishable, creating a sound to compliment your band is no easy feat. 

“Forever haunted for the things that I have done 
Yet every second, still one thing on my mind 
My addiction epitomized 
Overwhelmed by desire
 Sold my soul to escape from reality 
Dignity now defiled
 The price to pay for a moment in ecstasy 
My demise
 At the end of this life filled with suffering”

The above section of lyrics from "Cycle of Suffering" has gripped my attention. I don’t want to presume what Simon was referencing, but it seems it could apply to a variety of topics. As someone who has struggled with alcohol addiction and also has family members who have had their own substance abuse problems, it is easy to feel connected with thoughts of addiction and feel unable to restore your dignity.

Photo: Gaelle Spaas

I also think of the modern-day chosen struggle people of all ages seem to have with the amenities of social media, virtual reality, and the continued exploration of artificial intelligence. While facing reality and taking responsibility for your life can be difficult; why would you live an illusion that has been manufactured to you and choose to be a slave when it seems everyone presumes themselves to be free?

If there is anything that will define the current state of humanity, I think it will be an avoidance of reality and an eager submission to delusion at the price of any logic or reasoning. Before I move on to another song, I want to highlight another section of lyrics in the title track of Cursed Mortality:

“Time waits for no one 
We are powerless 
When we try to resist 
This cursed mortality”

One of the songs premiered ahead of the album’s release with a video is the second track, "Maruta." I first learned of this word from a grindcore band of the same name, but I’ve learned it is a code name for a warfare program involving lethal human experimentation during the era of the second China-Japan war/World War II also known as Unit 731. Using a mix of band performance footage and what appear to be archival photographs, the subject matter and visual presentation make for a hellish match:

If you need some death metal that will remind you of some of your old favorites while also making sure to carve out their own path, do not delay in picking up Cursed Mortality. The record is set for release through Season of Mist on the 3rd of November and Carnation is playing a record release show that I believe is nearly sold out at the time of writing at the Cultuurcentrum Zwaneberg in Heist-Op-Den-Berg, Belgium on the same day.

With two more shows scheduled in Belgium along with individual dates in both the Netherlands and Germany, there are a few more opportunities to see Carnation live in 2023 and festival dates are already booked for 2024. I hope I can make it out to see them live at some point whether it be in the US or elsewhere. 

Get It

Tagged: carnation