“The last year and a half was a pretty insecure and vulnerable time for bands, and particularly for our band.” That’s vocalist Scott Lewis talking about the writing period for Carnifex’s eighth album, GRAVESIDE CONFESSIONS. Like many bands accustomed to touring heavily, the San Diego deathcore squad suffered quite a bit, both financially and emotionally, during the pandemic. “I’m an insecure artist in that if we’re not always going out and proving ourselves, I start to wonder what my purpose is,” Lewis tells Apple Music. “With everything happening in the world, there were all these obstacles and uncertainties. I was thinking, ‘What if this is the last record we put out? Will this even come out?’ That’s why this album is personal. That’s why it’s vulnerable. But all that stuff got a really good record out of us.” Below, he comments on each of the album’s tracks (minus the re-recordings of three songs from their 2007 debut). “GRAVESIDE CONFESSIONS” “I think this one represents the record in its totality pretty well. And it’s also a contrast to what we’ve done on our last couple of records, where we’ve opened the album with an epic slow track that builds up. This time, we just wanted to come out swinging. You’re either going to love it or hate it based off of this one.” “PRAY FOR PEACE” “We’re always thinking about how our music is going to work in a live setting, because that’s where we spend so much of our time. With this, we definitely wanted a fun song, kind of a club banger with a bit of a bounce. It’s got a memorable chorus, and it’s not trying to win the Brutal Olympics or anything. I also like the satire in the title. I was watching the movie Joker a lot, so it has that theme of going beyond the point of tragedy until you realise everything’s comedy. This song embraces the comedy that you can just ‘pray for peace’ and that’ll make everything better.” “SEVEN SOULS” “I think this was the second song that we wrote, so we were still putting the record together. We definitely knew where we wanted to go and what we wanted to focus on, but we were still getting into writing mode. You can tell it’s early in the process, because I wrote so many lyrics for it. It deals with things like split personalities, schizophrenia and being bipolar. I think all of us have a duality to us, whether it’s just second-guessing yourself or literally having seven people inside you. Who’s in the driver’s seat, you know?” “CURSED” “That’s the first song we wrote for the record. I think it’s a good transition song from World War X to this album. Our drummer, Shawn [Cameron], started writing it in January of ’20, right before we left for the last European tour we did, and then finished it on that tour. So, we were already starting to think about this record and how many songs we had to get done on each break between tours. Then, obviously, everything came to a screeching halt, and we ended up releasing this as a single in May of ’20. We re-recorded it for the album, and this version has a big improvement in production.” “CARRY US AWAY” “This was almost the title track under a different name, which was ‘What We Take to the Grave’, but we scrapped that idea. It’s one of those songs where you don’t want to write the same thing over and over, but you do want to give the fans what they expect. So, we embraced a little more melody on this one and a bigger song structure. We brought some nu-metal as well. It’s not quite as brutal as some of the other tracks, so it shows a different side of the band.” “TALK TO THE DEAD” “This one is about a lot of the things we went through in 2020. For me, I felt like my identity was really in question. I had spent so many years dedicated to being a touring musician. I went on tour for the first time in November 2006 and haven’t stopped until March of 2020. So, it was a big mindfuck to be spun 180 degrees with no say in the matter. You’re like, ‘Am I dead-broke and not working because of my bad choices? Is the universe telling me to move on? Don’t you know bands are for kids?’ I went through all those emotions as a 36-year-old adult trying to hang on to a house.” “JANUARY NIGHTS” “That’s the instrumental. It was written by Cory [Arford], our guitarist, in January of this year, when there was still tons of uncertainty. I think the COVID numbers were high again and you’re like, ‘Fuck, is this thing ever going to end?’ Cory went through some hard times—lost his house, got divorced—and it all stemmed from not being able to work because of the pandemic. It makes you realise that being a musician is such an insecure life path. Cory was a casualty of those feelings that people have towards trying to make it as artists. People just get sick of you and move on without you.” “CEMETERY WANDER” “This is classic Carnifex. I went back to some of my earlier memories that really kicked off my journey of pursuing art. It’s basically about a day that I had when I was working at the mortuary and we had a lot of gnarly funerals. They were all pretty sad, and they all had an epic story. Musically, it’s probably the most blackened song on the record. The lyrics are pretty sad and dark and don’t have any resolution, and I think the music parallels that.” “COUNTESS OF PERPETUAL TORMENT” “This song is about having a love relationship with death. There are people out there that you are attracted to, and you fall in love with, and you have these relationships with, but that person is fucking horrible for you. It’s pretty universal: The girls stay with the guy that’s an asshole; guys stay with the girl who was unfaithful. I’m not sure why we’re drawn to it as humans, but we are. So, I took that idea and placed it on this relationship I’m locked into with examining death and what, if anything, comes next.” “DEAD BODIES EVERYWHERE” “This is one of our favourite songs from Korn, which is a band that influenced us a lot. We needed to make this record our safe place from the world, so we wanted to have fun. Obviously, the lyrics are very grim, which is to be expected for Carnifex. And even though it’s a cover, I think it fits the record in a weird way. Because it’s not our song, it gives you a different sound and a different vibe and breaks the record up a bit while we pay homage to a band we love.” “COLD DEAD SUMMER” “This is another spill-my-guts song where I’m like, ‘God, this fucking moment sucks.’ I think I got a reminder on my phone, like, ‘You were on Warped Tour three years ago.’ It’s like, ‘Fuck you, phone. You’re not my friend.’ So, yeah, it was very in-the-moment. But I think the song is actually pretty fun, too.” “ALIVE FOR THE LAST TIME” “This was one of the last songs we wrote, and I think it opens the door for what might be next. One of our major influences that we’ve embraced peripherally is Fear Factory, and I think you hear that influence on this song probably more than any other song we’ve written. It’s got more syncopation, kinda like Meshuggah but not as technical or with weird tunings. We want to leave that door open for the next record. I think it could be a cool place to go.”

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