2020. A year fraught with disease, hatred, denial, violence, and anger.
Leave it to Nick Cave and Warren Ellis to find some sense of safety, peace, and hope in it all.
CARNAGE is an album very much of the time and of a similar vibe to their previous works in the Bad Seeds like the internet inspired Push the Sky Away, the mourning and broken Skeleton Tree, and the hopeful and lush Ghosteen. A focus on ambiance and loops created by Ellis with Caves sometimes gentle, sometimes wailing voice breaking through with lyrics describing the feeling of doom in our day to day lives in the world of COVID-19 in Hand of God and Old Time, the rise of toxic white supremacist movements and the reckoning coming to those who use their power to support this rise in White Elephant, to the difficulty finding beauty when the world seems further away from our grasp in Albuquerque and Lavender Fields.
Songs like Carnage, Shattered Ground, and Balcony Man show off the symbiotic relationship between Cave and Ellis, with both the music and the lyrics feeding into each other, feeling like they are wrapping the listener in ambiance. The repeated refrains about a “kingdom in the sky” throughout the album do the double duty of giving the hope of a future peace beyond how we live now and a doomed acceptance of the potential fate of the human race.
Overall this is another great work from Cave and Ellis, aptly summing up many of the feelings that are all too apparent in the world currently.