1. Stay Insane
2. I Watched Them Die
5. Psalm Of Transformation (Spirits Of The Dead)
6. Dragons Lair
In the tradition of other Hawaiian black metal bands such as...um, er...well, no one, Magnum Carnage's first release, Nightmare Factory, is one of those debuts that throws a lot of styles against the wall and sees what sticks. Despite some of its tendencies to sound amateurish and a tad clumsy, Nightmare Factory is a surprisingly decent debut.
The CD is effectively a demo put to plastic, as the production is good for a demo, but definitely squashed compared to a true studio effort. Nevertheless, the disc overcomes the shortcomings of the production to show off a wide array of musical ideas. The core sound of the band is fluid speed metal riffing meeting melodic keyboards with vocals ranging from raspy troll spitting to attempts at doomy, clean singing. There are moments in the black metal styled rasps where my reaction was, "Awww, how cute", but Kai Laigo, the band leader, guitarist and vocalist, is able to aptly convey the singing throughout. A lot of the music sounds as though it was influenced by Norwegian symphonic black metal and the hybrid of doom and death metal, but since Hawaii is quite far from those northern climes, Magnum Carnage is removed enough to not sound derivative. The band's most effective weopon is a sense of subtle melodicism that invariably makes the songs memorable.
Although Magnum Carnage is obviously still a work in progress, this young band shows quite a bit of potential. Nightmare Factory, for all its flaws, is a reasonably good debut that should help get the band's foot through the door of more widespread attention.
Review by John Chedsey
Review date: 08/2001