As death metal has evolved and grown, there have been quite a few acts that draw extensively from the genre, yet bear little resemblance to death metal in any traditional sense. Italy's Carved is one such band, as their debut full-length observation Dies Irae boasts plenty of traits commonly associated with death metal, but sports a sound much more modern, melodic, and groove-based than many have come to expect from the style. Dies Irae is also a pretty strong effort overall, and although Carved has left some room for improvement, fans of melodic death metal will probably want to check this one out.
Carved's music draws mostly from melodic death metal (particularly more modern acts like Deadlock, Omnium Gatherum, and System Divide), but also incorporates some odd-metered grooves in the vein of Meshuggah and even a slightly gothic touch due to the orchestral keyboard tones and occasional clean vocals. The result is an album that doesn't sound ground-breaking, but still gives Carved enough of an identity to stand out from the crowd. Dies Irae sounds very professional in terms of musicianship, and although the production sounds a bit overdone in my opinion, it still is clean and powerful. Unfortunately, Dies Irae doesn't impress me quite as much with its songwriting, as most of the album strikes me as fairly average, without ever really reaching into excellent territory. Some tracks like "Echo of My Cinderella (The Final Symphony)" and "Black Lily of Chaos" are very impressive melodic death metal, but things like the overlong introductory piece and the unimpressive nu-metal segment in "Ashes of a Scar" drain some of my enthusiasm for the record.
Carved do offer up some very strong melodies on Dies Irae, though, so I hear plenty of potential in their sound that can hopefully be fulfilled as they mature more as composers. As for this humble debut, it should prove to be a worthy addition to your collection if you enjoy melodic death metal, but it's not something that I would label as essential.
1. Dies Irae (Praeludium)
2. Echo of My Cinderella (The Final Symphony)
3. Enter the Silence
4. Scripta Manent (Bullshit)
5. The Perfect Storm
6. At the Gates of Ice
7. Ashes of a Scar
8. Black Lily of Chaos
9. A New World (Postludium)