The Rave
Milwaukee, WI

On a breezy yet sunny day in Milwaukee, WI the historic Rave/Eagles Ballroom held perhaps the darkest performance they have held in quite some time. The fans lined up early covered head to toe in black. A multitude of Carnifex shirts spattered amongst them. The chatter amongst most was about the new album Necromanteum. At this point, the album is a month old and fans have had time to breathe it in. The consensus given was overwhelmingly positive. People were excited about it. That energy only amplified once the doors opened and people were led into the basement room better known as The Rave 2. The dimmed corners of The Rave came alive. After all, the ghosts of the venue were watching as well. The bartenders were busy with multiple lines around the room. The Carnifex merch area sold out of nearly most sizes of multiple types of tour shirts. They had all sorts of patches and trinkets available in limited qualities as well. They are one of the few artists that bring quality products with them on the road which makes it entirely worth the money. The two merchandise lines were all of the way to the back of the room all evening and the fans came prepared to support the deathcore legends. 

Covering six of their nine album releases the fans were given the older cuts while the band remained true to pushing a fantastic new album. Carnifex arrived on stage as one unit. The venue’s lights turned black and the stage’s strobes flashed. This lighting system is a constant for them. It has been a bread-and-butter move for years. The veteran deathcore band knows what works for their brand. Their silhouettes moved swiftly within the brilliant blast of lighting. From the second the first chord was strung the ambiance was set. Carnifex frontman Scott Ian Lewis lived on the edge of the stage. Leaning on his metal step at the center of the stage his physical size became imposing. He loomed over the fans pressed against the security rail while his vocals blasted throughout the room. They were deep, growl-filled, and ever so clean at times. He beautifully ripped through the new material with ease. There was no doubt Lewis only became better as the set moved along. Behind him on the drum kit, Shawn Cameron held a smile on his face while crushing his snare. For how impressively brutal the music is Cameron appeared to be having the time of his life. Peering out over the top of his toms he engaged with the fans in the front row by waving, pointing, and sneering at them. Despite all of this his focus remained intact and blasted away on his skins. The smashes made one’s heart pump harder and the bass kicks were smooth and efficient. He was the definition of perfection on the skins.

The evening as a whole was intensely fun from the start. The vibes entering, during, and leaving the room were all about fun. From the start, the circle pit spun at a lightning pace. It filled a majority of the floor space in front of the stage. Looking just above the crowd, you can witness Carnifex ripping through their set. Their light set up flashing as the heat from the pit rose to the ceiling. The room was filled with stage smoke and moisture. Fans head banged and chanted Carn-I-Fex over and over. Towards the end of the show, the circle pit raged while two patrons ran around it with massive trash cans above their heads. Everyone laughed and had a good time with it. Lewis was even laughing audibly over the venue’s sound system. Fear not despite the comical moment this show was everything a metal show should be. Fred Calderon’s low end rattled the floorboards. His foot stomping and hair-spinning head bangs were constant. As he moved around the stage each side of the room intensified their movements. Manning each end of the stage, long-time guitarist Corey Alford and new recruit and former Burn Halo guitarist Neal Tiemann lay down those magnificently down-tuned riffs. With each downstroke the tempo pushed and the adrenaline built. Tiemann moved around his half of the stage. Often moving back to the drum kit and then back to standing up on a metal box on the front edge of the stage. Alford kept positioned in one area. This positioning kept his fingers dancing across his fretboard. Additionally, he delivered brutal backing vocals. Together in unison they sonically pushed one thick sound across a raging audience. The riffs were mean and breakdowns ravaged The Rave. The band’s pace kept them pushing harder and harder with very little time in between songs to chat. 

In Latin Carnifex translates to butcher and refers to one as an executioner. This was a perfect encapsulation of what happened. The San Diego-based band came to Milwaukee and did what they always did, killed it. They were the executioners and every individual there was their prey. There is nothing one could say the task at hand was the only thing within their sights. They stood on that stage and gave every ounce of energy they had and pushed their fresh new songs onto the eager fanbase. Necromanteum has proven a perfect fit into their expanding list of titles. If anything it only improved their set list. They were sticking with what got them there, the heavy and crushing riffs paired with hauntingly brutal and destructive vocals. It was a masterclass in doing what works for the genre. This tour is impressive. When leg 2 of the tour is announced make plans to go. You will not be disappointed.

1. Dark Days
2. Pray for Peace
3. Necromanteum
4. Hell Chose Me
5. Torn in Two
6. Heaven and Hell All At Once 
7. Lie To My Face
8. Infinite Night Terror
9. Dark Heart Ceremony
10. Drown Me in Blood
11. Hatred and Slaughter
12. Slit Wrist Saviour

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