Sweden’s Carnosus recommend themselves as being “For fans of REVOCATION, THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER, SYLOSIS, ARSIS, AT THE GATES and RIVERS OF NIHIL“– a description that (apart from seemingly being custom-tailored to my own specific tastes) is not at all unapt.

Although there are certainly elements of Sylosis and Rivers of Nihil in play on Carnos’s debut album Dogma of the Deceased (see “Insidious Saviour” and “Totalityranny” for respective examples). The Black Dahlia Murder, however, are very much the primary touchstone of the band’s sound, and there’s a world where Dogma of the Deceased could easily have come from the Michigan veterans, rather than the Örebro upstarts. Even so, the songwriting on Dogma of the Deceased is far more varied and memorable than The Black Dahlia Murder’s has been in years, and the added progressive elements help give Carnosus the edge over any other challengers to the modern melodic death metal throne.

The band’s careful combination of melodic, technical, thrashy and progressive death meatl writing is really quite astounding – especially coming from a group of virtual unknowns. The record’s consistency is also striking as, although all cut from the same cloth, each and every one of its eleven offerings brings its own individual (if often subtle) twist to the formula, from which it’s impossible to pick highligh (although I’m currently hedging toward “Totalityranny”).

2020 has already been an outstanding year for death metal, and Carnosus have quickly, and deservedly, joined its upper ranks. The new Black Dahlia Murder album certainly has a lot to live up to.