Nick Cave & Warren Ellis - CARNAGE
Critic Score
Based on 30 reviews
2021 Ratings: #2 / 332
User Score
Based on 921 ratings
2021 Ratings: #18
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‘Carnage’ is arguably Cave and Ellis’ best record since The Bad Seeds’ latter day reinvention on 2013’s ‘Push The Sky Away’, or maybe even ‘Abattoir Blues’. It’s certainly two master craftsmen at the peak of their melodramatic powers.

The Telegraph

The thoughtful maestro of rock's new record is a vivid, brutal accounting of the human instinct for self-preservation in a crisis.

Evening Standard

It’s characterised by Cave’s portentous not-quite-singing being mixed with shimmering, abstract electronics, but there’s a bit more energy here and a few touches that puncture the gravitas.

The Independent
It’s blunt and hopeful. Full of flesh and spirit. But also written by a man who just told an online fan not to store his acid in a vegemite jar in the fridge because no self respecting Aussie chills the ‘mite. Which makes him sound like a man we can all trust.
The Observer

The grief remains, but Cave’s hunger for retribution is back too, heightened at every turn by Ellis’s strings, on this wild, writerly masterpiece.

Louder Than War
Brutal, beautiful and occasionally very funny.

More than clashing sonics or soaring hymns or pervasive anxiety (and the quest to overcome it), the quality that best defines Carnage might be Cave's reckoning with the unknown, or his recognition of the unknowable.

Consequence of Sound

On Carnage, Cave and Ellis don’t tread any new paths ... But what Cave and Ellis have crafted with Carnage is a refreshing respite from chaos, a record that sits at the burning edge of dawn and anticipates destruction’s undoing.


Constructed amid the dystopia of 2020, ‘CARNAGE’ instead stands as something unique, the sound of two vastly experienced musicians removing themselves from expectations, and constructing something both beautiful and visceral, tender and blood-thirsty, wholly terrifying and completely absorbing.


‘Carnage’ is a jewel in the Cave-Ellis cannon. A thrilling piece of work that sources a sweet-spot between the unbound introspection of the Bad Seeds’ recent work and the furious fire lit beneath Grinderman and The Birthday Party.


Nick Cave may very well be the avatar for the idea that what we think of as “mellow” can be “heavy” and vice versa. With Carnage, he and Ellis prove that point yet again. Believe it or not, they also stretch themselves again, suggesting there may be no end to the inspiration they have up their sleeves.

Loud and Quiet
As lockdown stretches out eternal, the timing is perfect; once more through our lives, Nick Cave is one step ahead with the perfect music for now.
Classic Rock
In his sixth decade as our most fascinating, ever-shifting genius, Cave remains inspirational working widescreen miracles from cataclysmic events.

You can chalk Carnage up as anything from a zeitgeist experiment to a flawed masterpiece, but there’s something precious and compassionate at its heart that I honestly believe will make the world a better place in its own peculiar way, beyond the scope of critical evaluation.

Spectrum Culture
Even when we can't escape tragedy, Cave sees us through.
Beats Per Minute

Carnage is the bedroom record that we never expected from Cave. He and Warren Ellis have assembled a minimal record that still sounds like a full Bad Seeds album. It’s a testament to both of their abilities that at this juncture in their careers these two can still write powerful music.

The Guardian

Cave’s rich writing and Ellis’s dense sounds form a reliably potent picture of locked-down end-times and the fantasy of redemption.

The Sydney Morning Herald

Carnage may be the surprise outcome of Cave being forced off stage, but it’s further proof of the creative force that’s possible when he ends up in a studio with Ellis.

Rolling Stone

Carnage ... is a relatively quiet meditation on spiritual salvation in the era of loneliness.


CARNAGE is a step away from the narrative-heavy albums we’ve heard before like Murder Ballads; generally closer to the imagery and metaphor-rich lyrics of Ghosteen, but it also has its own particular charm.


Carnage covers broader range than most of the Bad Seeds' recent records, cramming plenty of Cave's various stylings into a neat, eight-song package.

Northern Transmissions
Cave described the album as “a brutal but very beautiful record nested in a communal catastrophe” – and a beautiful catastrophe it is.
Nick Cave’s cinematic work with his bandmate Warren Ellis is a slight departure from last decade’s trilogy of albums. It’s defined by its stark contrasts, at turns brutal, surreal, and romantic.
The Needle Drop

The emotionally potent and timely Carnage finds Nick Cave and Warren Ellis letting loose with the aesthetic they forged on the previous Bad Seeds trilogy.


With Carnage, Cave and Ellis have successfully balanced introspection and self reflection with the tumult and confusion of the wider world. It’s a hugely powerful statement.

FLOOD Magazine

Though Carnage is an always theatrical, diabolically absurd/abstract, and damningly depressive work, there is, too, a blinding brightness at the lyrical and melodic end of the Cave/Ellis tunnel, a Cohen-esque crack in everything where the light gets in.


This might not be a Bad Seeds album (although drummer Thomas Wydler is on there), but nor is it one of Cave and Ellis’s minimal excursions into the film soundtrack wilderness.

Record Collector
It is an album, certainly, that carries the magic and surprise that belongs only to strange times, that belongs to this moment completely: a record of the way we saw the world, once, the way it sounded, the way it felt, as we all stood still and watched.
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.
An angry, defiant and re-energized effort by one of Rock’s most intriguing artists.
Average boy cum enjoyer
Carnage is not just another page, it opens the door to a whole new story. It is a human and personal deliverance for the authors who allow us for 40 delicious minutes to close our eyes and escape.

Unless you were born yesterday, there is no need to introduce Nick Cave, a genius, an accomplished legend in the history of music. The Australian, known under multiple aliases, first as a band in the late 70s in the midst of the birth of Post-Punk and New Wave with The Boys Next Door quickly ... read more
When Nick Cave drops, you drop everything to listen.

Through his 90s and 2000s output, Nick Cave famously became one of the most thespian names in music. While rough around the edges, his earliest fortes into post-punk were made so exceptional by Cave’s one-of-a-kind and dramatically bombastic vocal performances alongside the idiosyncratic and ceaselessly creative instrumentation. Delightful and sumptuous piano ballads were prominent in The Boatman’s Call, Let Love In was by far ... read more
It was very dark in the cave so Nick tried to make his way out but caused carnage on the way but then he heard the boatman's call causing him to let love in. Despite this, Nick knew he was going sit in the mercy seat. He then vowed to stand by his good son during the birthday party and never let henry's dreams get in his way...
The nature of carnage is pure chaos and absolution. Nick Cave's voice is the powerful narrator throughout this record that resonate statements and poetry. The stunning production as the perfect background is yet another delight, the art rock opens space to the experimental & the balance at the ambient rock features. While I was listening the name Bob Dylan came to my mind, I'm sure he is a clear inspiration in this as well.
We can also talk about the beauty of each track, the song ... read more
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Added on: January 7, 2021