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Carnage is a new album by Nick Cave & Warren Ellis, recorded over a period of weeks during lockdown. Although the pair have composed & recorded many soundtracks together, and Warren is a long-term member of The Bad Seeds, this is the first time they have released an entire album of new songs as a duo.
Nick Cave describes the album as, "a brutal but very beautiful record nested in a communal catastrophe."
"Making Carnage was an accelerated process of intense creativity," says Warren Ellis, "the eight songs were there in one form or another within the first two and a half days."
They may have created Carnage as a duo partly out of pandemic necessity, but shedding the band also made good creative sense. Given the Bad Seeds' recent trajectory, and the paring down of personnel, you might expect further exploration of Ghosteen's meditative minimalism, and at times that is essentially what Carnage delivers. But in its most gripping and audacious moments, the album is much wilder than its predecessor. It draws from the formal language of modern cinema, concerned less with verses and choruses than images, settings, visceral portrayals of extreme emotional states... It's defined by its stark contrasts, at turns brutal, surreal, and romantic.
...[I]n most respects [Carnage is] of a piece with Skeleton Tree and Ghosteen, with Cave's dour, doomstruck lyrical meditations taking center stage while the musical accompaniment hovers in the background. This puts it in a very similar stylistic place to those two albums, though it also manages to sound more diverse, and also more emotionally upfront. This music came out of a time of fear and uncertainty, and much of Carnage reflects those emotions, yet there's a sense of fractured, gospel-informed hope in 'White Elephant' and a glorious epiphany of love and life's possibilities in 'Balcony Man' that's as close to unguarded optimism as one could ever imagine coming from Cave.... [W]hile ultimately this music has nothing to do with rock & roll, it is intense and deeply felt, and will draw in nearly anyone who meets it on its own terms. There is greater sense of spontaneous energy in Carnage than in much of Cave's music of this period, and that doesn't blunt the craft of this album. It's the work of two collaborative artists who are in the midst of a later-period renaissance that has spawned powerful, evocative music that speaks to its time without being confined to the crises that sparked its creation.
- Vinyl LP
- LP jacket with debossed cover art
- 24-Page Booklet
- Limited-Time Digital Download Card
- Made in Poland
- Hand Of God
- Old Time
- White Elephant
- Lavender Fields
- Shattered Ground
- Balcony Man