VIDEO REVIEW: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P3HH-4dl0QM
The clever chemistry of Ghosteen, which utilized heavily atmospheric and sparse instrumentation as a canvas for Nick Cave's powerful vocal delivery, was a brilliant musical direction. In Carnage, Nick Cave works with a similar formula, except subtract the omnipresent beauty of Ghosteen and add a dark, dissonant, and even violent energy that lurks within each song. I don't have an issue with that in theory. These dark, pseudo-electronic experimentations remind me quite a bit of Radiohead, specifically Amnesiac and TKOL (especially TKOL due to the heavy amount of repetition).
Repeated electronic loops serve as the foundation of each of these songs, while Nick Cave does his thing and Warren Ellis fills the void with a variety of instrumental textures. With the exception of White Elephant, however, these additional textures feel pretty random and unimportant. The dissonant strings, pitchy choirs, and banging pianos feel more like an afterthought presented in hopes of enhancing some pretty dry songwriting. Unlike Ghosteen, there aren't any beautiful chord progressions or melodies to drive the music; instead you get Nick Cave rambling while a string section just exists. Just like TKOL, these songs are dry, repetitive, and mostly soulless.
While Ghosteen felt like an ascension to heaven, Carnage feels like being trapped in a machine. It's a clever experiment that creates something unique, but I don't really like it.