When it comes to venues in Denver, the Marquis Theatre truly has it all – pizza, beer, and metal, what more you could ask for? This smaller venue gives off a more personal experience. With the option to push your way, through the moshpit, to front and center, or to sit back and enjoy the music from the bar, you’re sure to hear, see, and feel the music. This fall, ‘The Decades of Despair Tour’ honored ten years of deathcore pioneers Carnifex, as well as featuring The Last Ten Seconds of Life, Lorna Shore, and Within the Ruins.
Carnifex, latin for “The Executioner”, owned up to their name as always. Executing songs off all five albums with precision, it was like listening to the recordings for the first time all over again. During their past decade of performing as a band, Carnifex have continued to perfect their style. With tastes of black metal tremolo picking and blast beats, then switch offs to cut time, dropping a bone rattling 808 into the heaviest breakdowns, straight from the depths of Hell itself, I couldn’t help but head bang. The sound was on point, Carnifex literally had the floor shaking! I could feel the planks of wood bending and wobbling beneath my feet while the crowd vigorously pushed me around.
Ten years into the making, Carnifex continues to blow my mind. They kicked off their set with “Salvation Is Dead”, followed straight into “Dark Days”, off their most recent album, ‘Die Without Hope’. Throwing it back for the die-hard fans, they played songs from older albums such as ‘The Diseased and the Poisoned’, like ‘In Coalesce With Filth’, and ‘Fate’. I felt like I was eighteen again, as I joined in screaming along to ‘Slit Wrist Savior’, and ‘Lie To My Face’, both legendary tracks off their debut album, ‘Dead In My Arms’. The crowd was energetically involved, as Scott Lewis (Vocals) threw himself at the crowd, every chance he got. Towards the end of their set, Scott spoke out to the crowd, “A lot of people come up to me, and tell me how we changed their life, with our songs. And I’d like to say that it’s you fans who changed our lives.” The respect was mutual between the die hard fans and the band, who then continued to go wild for the end of the set, as they finished off the set with the title track, off their third album. ‘Hell Chose Me’.
I had the fanboy honor of catching a word with Fred Calderon (Bass) and Shawn Cameron (Drums), of Carnifex, before the show. We spoke about their ten year accomplishment as a band. “We’ve been doing this a long time. We’re not planning on going until a certain time. We’re just going, and we’ve made it this far. Hopefully we have quite a bit more to go,” spoke Shawn. “To be doing anything for ten years, I can’t imagine being at one job for ten years!” Fred added.“It’s incredible, this is actually my longest job,” joked Shawn.“But it’s something you get to do, and love,” I added, as we all nodded in agreeance. We then spoke a bit about how they got into music when they were young. Shawn’s father and brother, both guitarists, naturally influenced his interest in music. “I already enjoyed the music. I just wanted to learn the songs, I wasn’t really worried about the theory.” Shawn confessed. Eventually, he picked up the drums, jamming with his brother and friends.Shawn was introduced at a young age to metal, by bands like Metallica, Rage Against the Machine, Korn, and Slipknot. “The first extreme metal I heard, was Slipknot. I was like, OH MY GOD, what’s happening here?!” laughed Shawn, “That helped me progress into more extreme music.” Fred, however, was influenced through his schooling. Fred reminisced, “I remember in Middle School, there was an elective class, for band. My parents couldn’t afford rent on a saxophone, and I sure as hell couldn’t afford lessons. I asked my teacher what I could do, he said there were extra trombones, so I learned trombone.” Over the years, he picked up whatever brass instrument he could, including the tuba and baritone.
For the next seven years, he played in the the school’s concert, marching, and jazz bands. ”Eventually, the like minded musicians in school would be like, let’s start a band. I was going to pick up drums; couldn’t afford that. So, I picked up bass, since it was the most natural thing to do,” spoke Fred. Some influences for Fred, were bands like Racer X, In Flames, Megadeth, as well Metallica. “Metallica was probably the first heavy band for me, because the radio station played mandatory Metallica. So for two hours, every day, was just a block of Metallica. Every Christmas, they would play Metallica for 24 hours!” Fred told.
With just a few shows left of tour, the band cannot anticipate returning home, to California, for two weeks off, before heading to Europe for their next tour. The band intends to diligently write, on their off time, in preparation for the studio in February. Shawn plans to get some camping and nap times, while Fred hopes to head to the beach, to enjoy what little California sun is left. Carnifex played a set to remember. For you fan boys like myself, we have a great album coming our way, this summer. For those who haven’t heard, I highly recommend giving Carnifex a listen. The Marquis Theatre is one of my favorite Denver venues. They will be featuring many more great shows through the winter. The day after The Decades in Despair Tour, I wake to a sore neck from head banging, and a smile of content.