Carnal Forge - Testify For My Victims (Candlelight Records) - Back
Being asked to review "Testify For My Victims" is kind of like being invited to spend time with an old friend who I have not spoken with in many years. You see, I used to be a fan of Carnal Forge in their early days and have spun both "Who’s Gonna Burn" and "Firedemon" many times. As often happens, at some point I lost track of this band. So what has my old friend Carnal Forge been up to for the last 7 years? Judging by "Testify For My Victims" Carnal Forge seem to have focused on refining and polishing their sound rather than changing in a major way.

Carnal Forge have historically been described as a hybrid of death and thrash metal. Although I will admit having little more than a passing familiarity with the middle of this band’s catalog, judging from their early albums and the random tracks that I have heard over the years, this was a pretty good description. On "Testify For My Victims" the balance seems to be tipping towards the thrash side of the scale. This is due in part to the addition of new vocalist Jens Mortensen. He uses a more varied style than the previous vocalist, at times reminding me of what Chuck Billy was doing with Testament in the late 90's. The songs focus on chunky mid tempo riffs with faster tempos being used as an accent. On previous works, flat-out blistering speed was more of a focus. Melodic guitar work is used more liberally than on previous albums, and adds depth to the compositions. The songs and album as a whole are smartly structured, calling to mind the old saying, "a place for everything and everything in it’s place." "Testify For My Victims" benefits from a production that is both meaty and clean, giving a great deal of punch to the album without obscuring any of the instruments.

Despite it’s many strong points, "Testify For my Victims" does suffer from one weakness, it doesn't seem to stick with me once it leaves my CD player. Although it is hard to pinpoint the reason for this, I think that the album is simply not complex or catchy enough to make me think about it when it is not actually playing. Listening to "Testify For My Victims" is both an intense and enjoyable experience, but once I take it out it simply doesn't pop into my head again until I see the disk and am reminded to play it. Still, when something is this well executed it is hard to overlook and will inevitably will find a way to creep back into my rotation.

"Testify For My Victims" seems to be a turning point for Carnal Forge and I think that it has the potential to significantly increase the band’s fan base. They have managed to tweak their sound just enough to broaden their appeal without compromising their identity, creating in "Testify For My Victims" an album that is a clinic on how to play modern metal without losing the intensity, fury and passion that underground metal is built on.


Reviewed By: Garett F.