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Kanine – Karnage

by Santiago Puyol at 13 September 2022, 4:31 AM

Formed in 2020 and coming from Strasbourg, France, Death Metallers KANINE released their debut record, “Karnage”, on July 8th 2022, a 9-track, 29-minute collection of slamming, brutal bangers. This somewhat short record works as a fine presentation letter for the band, delivering on the promise its title.

After a brief “Intro” of ambient synths, noise and static-y sounds, the album gets its actual start with “Furie”. This track highlights the massively dense and deep harshes that singer Jason Gerhard can deliver, pig grunting style. It surely captures a furic, primal state, with blasting drums, punching basslines and razor-sharp guitars. It features quite a nasty breakdown with a slight Hard Rock-ish feel from the riffing. The synth embelishments add an interesting layer, as they do on other moments of the record. Pay attention to the cool, stop-and-start outro of this song.

Although the pig grunting features in most of the record, Gerhard allows himself a wide variety of harsh vocal styling, from high pitched shrieks, to deep yet still discernible growling, to conversational, clean-ish spoke-singing. “Gangrene” and the title track put the emphasis on this quality of their music, paired with technical complexity and a bit of a Deathcore/Punk-ish feel. The grunt style vocals function as an additional rhythmic element, almost riffing along the guitars at times. KANINE truly shine when they stress the punk/-core elements of their sound, when there’s vocal style variety and when the tech-y/math-y elements get playful.

There is a sparse use of samples and spoken word through the album, ranging from nature sound (“Abysses”), to robotic/glitchy voices (“Karnage”) and clean spoken word (“Counter Slam Bass Drop Offensive” —this has to be a perfect summation of the album’s sound in title form! —), and their significance seems to vary. The storm and water samples at the beginning of “Abysses” feel almost like a brief respite for the ears while the glitchy female voices on the title track ramp up the urgency and dramatism that the song conveys. The samples never feel forced upon the music, though, being deliberate, sensible choices, that actually add to the album as a whole and the songs in particular.

Although every player has amazing chops to show-off here, one of KANINE’s strengths is their willingness to work as an ensemble, rather than a vehicle for a guitarist to shred along or for a vocalist to put the spotlight on his great technique. “Karnage” feels like a band effort, where each member is equally important for it to succeed.

When it comes to my gripes with the album, I’d say the production is one key element that sometimes works against the music. The drum sound is a bit too flat, with the bass drum being the worst offender, sounding like two wood sticks hitting each other at times. This lack of depth hurts the music as it loses heaviness, better exemplified by the lacklustre climax of the title track or how the drums take you out of the experience that should be the dramatic, dynamic “Anubis”. Drum production choices aside, “Anubis” is probably the songwriting highlight of the record, with an awesome breakdown, quieter moments and blackened bits full of shrieks and synth-y sounds.

The album comes to a great finale with “Frost”, a bit of a Post-Metal instrumental that functions as a coda to madness. With a little help from reverb-drenched guitars and icy synths, it’s the track that mostly evokes the glacial landscapes on the background of the album cover, honoring its title too.

Overall, “Karnage” is an amazing debut, filled with promise from a young band. KANINE mostly play to their strengths here. It is an over-the-top record and it works mostly due to that. You get this tongue-in-cheek feeling as you listen. A fun experience, crushing, powerful and a bit melodramatic at times. Give the drums a deeper, more natural sounding production, and things can only get better!

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 7
Production: 6

3 Star Rating

1. Intro
2. Furie
3. Gangrene
4. Abysses
5. Karnage
6. Anubis
7. Snakepit
8. Counter Slam Bass Drop Offensive
9. Frost
Jason Gerhard – Vocals
Lucas Eckert – Bass
Gabriel Labeauvie – Drum
Alexandre Lorentz – Guitar
Record Label: Lacerated Enemy Records


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Edited 25 September 2022

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