Hackneyed – Carnival Cadavre

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Carnival Cadavre


Germany is undoubtedly the world’s biggest metal market, holding the world’s largest metal festival (Wacken Open Air) and no shortage of metal fans at all. As far as rock and metal in general goes, look at each sub-genre respectively and they’ve nailed it. Hair metal? The Scorpions. True heavy metal? Doro Pesch. Thrash? Kreator, Destruction, Sodom et al. Punk? Die Toten Hosen. Industrial? Rammstein. I could go on and on, but the point is moot.

However, when it comes to death metal, Germany has yet to really corner the market that once dominated by Florida, USA, and Gothenburg, Sweden respectively That’s not to say they aren’t giving it a go though. Hackneyed emerged on the scene with ‘Death Prevails’ when they were fresh-faced teenagers, and they’re now on their third album, ‘Carnival Cadavre’. Such progress brings comparisons with Polish luminaries Decapitated, although their rise to prominence came about much quicker than Hackneyed.
Carnival Cadavre’, as its title suggests, seems to be a record about a macabre circus, and it sits within pretty comfortable groove-laden death metal territory, a little like Kataklysm or their compatriots in Centaurus-A. Some of the song titles are borderline amusing/cringeworthy, particularly ‘Damn (Your Dead Again)’, which sounds like a Seth Putnam castoff at first glance. Hackneyed do shine on this track though, a most mid-paced stomper but with a certain catchiness within the chorus to give it that anthem appeal. On other occasions, they’re going straight for the throat with devastating effect, most notably on ‘Bugging for Mercy’ and ‘Circus Coccus Spirilly’.
That said, much of ‘Carnival Cadavre’ walks a tightrope between traditional speed and blast, and going for the brutal slam kill – and too often does it fall for the latter. Up to a point it’s bearable, because it’s enjoyable enough and has enough quality to just get by. But eventually the sheen wears a little bit thin and though they do speed up a little more towards the end of the album, they still chuck in another beatdown or two when really it’s not needed.
It lets down what is otherwise a solid, if not spectacular, death metal record. Hackneyed are still a young band with plenty of time to improve and evolve, but relying to much maligned past trends isn’t really the way to go. All the fun of the fair? Hmmm…not quite.
Peter Clegg



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