Carnifex vocalist Scott Lewis says America's leading death-metal band has become stale.
"Cannibal Corpse is part of the old regime. The whole satanic image with corpse paint and long hair and gauntlets like Slayer is not what you need anymore. Old death metal all sounds the same. We want to have a fun, sing-along version of grind-core...death metal that can groove."
Carnifex is one of Fallbrook's biggest-drawing bands.
"Once Fallbrook kids get ahold of a band, they become serious, loyal fans," says Lewis. "We have a tight-knit support group of 60 to 100 kids that will show up to every one of our shows. They will drive all the way to Soma or up to Fullerton.... We go against the direction of everything, especially in California. Everything's getting more liberal. People are losing their gender definition. Tree-hugging liberal Birkenstock-wearing hippie parents are letting their [male] kids go out to shows dressed up like girls."
Although Lewis says Carnifex is not a political band, they wrote and perform "Blood for Tyrants," a song in support of the war effort.
"Because people have a dislike of one person [George Bush], it seems that it was a pretty poor attitude to discredit our military and their families," says Lewis.
Carnifex has self-booked their own tours. What about playing in San Diego?
"We don't have a problem with Soma," says Lewis, "but it seems like bands with no talent get to play [Soma's] main stage. It's all about who you know. It makes it difficult for bands that are actually going out and getting their own shows."
At the end of 2008, the embarked on a European tour opening for Despised Icon - their December 1 set at Moscow's Tochka Club was the band’s first time in Russia.
“You can’t just request a visa; they have to invite you into the country. We had to overnight them our passports and fill out a government form that asked us things like, ‘Have you ever worked around plutonium?’ and ‘Do you have any special weapons training?’”
Their 2010 album Hell Chose Me sold around 3,100 copies in the United States in its first week of release. The CD landed at number four on the Top New Artist Albums (Heatseekers) chart, which lists the best-selling albums by new and developing artists, defined as those who have never appeared in the Top 100 of The Billboard 200.
Their next full-length Until I Feel Nothing was released in October 2011 via Victory Records. Produced by Tim Lambesis (As I Lay Dying), the cover artwork was created by famed comic book illustrator Menton3 (Silent Hill, Monocyte).
Then, “As of now, Carnifex is in a state of suspended animation,” said singer Scott Lewis in Autumn 2012. “The reasons for this are many and complicated...Carnifex is now retreating into the obscurity we once came from.” However, in summer 2013, the band announced a European Never Say Die tour, and they began recording a new album as well.
Their fifth full-length Die Without Hope was released March 4, 2014, via Nuclear Blast Records. Recorded at Audiohammer Studios in Sanford, Fla. and produced by Mark Lewis (DevilDriver, Six Feet Under), the cover art was created by longtime band collaborator Godmachine. The album features the debut of new lead guitarist Jordan Lockrey, who replaced Ryan Gudmunds.
Die Without Hope reached #98 on the U.S. Billboard Top 200 chart. The band announced a European winter tour which included four UK dates, beginning December 3, 2015, in Cologne, Germany. A followup album was released via Nuclear Blast in 2016, Slow Death.
Their seventh studio album, World War X, was released in August 2019 via Nuclear Blast. The first single, “No Light Shall Save Us,” features Alissa White-Gluz (Arch Enemy), with a music video directed by Scott Hansen (Deicide, Prong). Produced by the band with Jason Suecof (Death Angel, Chelsea Grin), the album was recorded and mixed by at AudioHammer Studio in Sanford, Florida, with vocals tracked by Mick Kenney (Bleeding Through) at the Barracks Studio in Huntington Beach. The album artwork was created by Blake Armstrong. They supported the album as a headliner on the Summer Slaughter tour with the Faceless, Rivers of Nihil, Nekrogoblikon, and Brand of Sacrifice.
A co-headlining tour with 3TEETH kicked off March 13, 2020 in Santa Ana wrapped April 17 in Los Angeles, making stops in New York City, Nashville, Chicago, and San Diego's Brick by Brick on April 16.
In their next lineup change, lead guitarist Jordan Lockrey (who joined in 2013) was out, and Devildriver's Neal Tiemann took his place on the 3TEETH tour.
The pandemic shutdown of early 2020 hit the band hard. "Carnifex lost over $250,000 with our tour cancellation," tweeted frontman Scott Ian Lewis of their cancelled co-headlining tour with 3TEETH. "I personally lost about 60K. I don’t get to tour for 6 more months. Burn these people alive." He also tweeted "It took Carnifex 15 years of touring to earn our highest confirmed guarantees ever, only to lose it all," as well as posting details of their "Debt incurred from cancelation. Bus deposit $3700, Merch printing $45,000, Rehearsal costs $3000, Production costs $6500, Total active tour debt $58,200."
In early 2021, the group debuted a video for their cover of Korn's 1998 track "Dead Bodies Everywhere." According to the band, "Korn was one of our original influences and inspired us greatly as young musicians. Each time we do a cover, it's our way of saying thank you to the musicians that came before us, and just maybe we added our touch of brutality." The song was tracked earlier that year at local Back Lounge Studios, produced by the band and Mick Kenney (Anaal Nathrakh, Bleeding Through). The "visualizer," as the video is referenced in its title, mainly features creepy quick-flashing black-and-white still images, text, and partly animated skeletons, creating a sort of flip-book backdrop to the pounding track.