Thursday, 3 October 2019

Carnage Inc. - Tenebris (2019)



Country: India
Style: Thrash Metal
Rating: 7/10
Release Date: 8 Sep 2019
Sites: Bandcamp | Facebook | Instagram | Metal Archives | YouTube

I reviewed a thrash album from India in August and here's another one, from Mumbai's Carnage, Inc. I prefer this outfit to Sceptre because they're more consistent, the vocals of the former letting them down. Varun Panchal is an effective old school thrash vocalist and he leads Carnage, Inc. well without ever attempting to take over. His bandmates are up to his standard and these seven tracks play very consistently together.

Carnage Inc. claim to play in the classic Bay Area style, but I'm hearing a lot more of the German bands here, especially early on with lots of Kreator and Destruction in Eradicate the Empire, DeathScape and Saffron is the New Black. When that Bay Area influence does show up, it doesn't bring to mind any one particular band over another, unlike the Sceptre album, which was a clear nod to Death Angel. There's certainly some of that here too, but also moments that clearly come from Metallica, Megadeth, Exodus and Testament.

Even with old school influences, Carnage Inc. are a much newer band, Sceptre starting out at the tail end of the last millennium but this outfit forming as recently as 2011. This is their debut album at a full length, though they released an EP, Fury Incarnate, in 2016. I can only assume that they've been honing their writing and performance on the stages of Mumbai over the last few years because these are mature songs and strong performances. This band is tight.

One downside to the consistency is that, while there are no bad tracks here, nothing really stands out for notice over its peers, at least until a third or fourth time through. The highlights are initially more in parts of songs, like the galloping guitars of DeathScape, the chugging at the end of Murder Maze or the Orphaned Land-esque prog of Tread the Fire.

After a few runs through the album, the songs start to distinguish and they work pretty well as new friends who start to show their depths as we get to know them. Those three Teutonic tracks still play relatively similarly, but the later songs become more interesting. High on Panic, for instance, didn't seem like much first time through but it gradually became a favourite of mine, with a number of tempo shifts.

All the songs here play fast but the second half introduces lots of variety, with High on Panic starting that trend. Monstrosity is a thrash song but it betrays influences outside the genre. Murder Maze reminds me of something I can't place, which is annoying; it's thrash again but it slows down without losing any of its power. Maybe the vocal phrasing reminds me of Sabbat even if Panchal doesn't spit out his words like Martin Walkyier. Tread the Fire is the most different, playing with a few different dynamics and allowing Nikhil Muralidas to be much more obvious with his bass runs than elsewhere.

This is good stuff, even if it takes a little while to properly emerge from the background, and I look forward to another album. This runs short and I definitely left it wanting more. I'd also like to hear more of what's going on in India right now but, when another thrash album shows up, I'll surely be comparing it to Carnage Inc. over Sceptre.

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