Review Summary: Managing to successfully revise and reinvent the Cannibal Corpse formula, Gallery of Suicide proves the band's flame is still hot.
On the 21st of April 1998, Cannibal Corpse
's sixth studio outing Gallery of Suicide
hit commercial America. At that time, Cannibal Corpse was probably the farthest thing from my mind. Hell, I didn't even know who they were, and who could blame me considering I was a mere eight years old.
Nine years have passed since that day, and at the age of seventeen, I guess you could say Cannibal Corpse is kind of important to me. When my ears were first violated by Meat Hook Sodomy
, I can remember actually being a little intimidated by this new form of intense music. It isn't a daunting task to blow off Cannibal Corpse as any other typical brutal blood-n-guts parody band. A little time was all I needed to determine that Cannibal Corpse had some major potential, and as I devoured classics like 1992's Tomb of The Mutilated
, it gradually became clear that Cannibal Corpse was growing on me.
There are two kinds of 'Corpse fans: the ones who listen to the new albums as well as the old, and the ones who only listen to pre-Vile
material. (And then again there are the ones that have only heard the song Hammer Smashed Face
, but we'll disregard them for our purposes here.) As a member of the second group of fans, I can say that upon my initial dissection of Gallery of Suicide
I was left much more than dissatisfied. Gone were the days of abnormally low grunts and signature incognizable vocals of the legendary singer Chris Barnes. Replaced in 1995 by George "Corpsegrinder" Fischer (of Monstrosity
), the unmistakeable sound Cannibal Corpse had adeptly forged with albums like Eaten Back To Life
had undergone a major metamorphosis. While Cannibal Corpse albums have always been less than commercially appealing due to the inaccessiblity of the music coupled with song titles like Necropedophile
and Entrails Ripped From A Virgin's Cunt
, it seems with Gallery of Suicide that Cannibal Corpse has actually toned it down a bit. It doesnt take a skillful eye to determine with a brief glance at the cover artwork that the band wasn't going for a commercial conquest, yet the song titles seem cheesy at this point.
It is very important to adress the sonic transformation that I mentioned earlier. The most obvious reason for Cannibal Corpse's new sound is the addition of a new vocalist George Fischer, who was also in command of vocal duties on the previous album Vile. However when you compare Gallery of Suicide to Vile, you'll notice they are two very different records. There is an obvious reason for this difference. Enter Pat O'Brien of Nevermore
. Pat's furious fretwork on Nevermore's first two albums is beyond outstanding, and his contributions here should not be overlooked. One major difference in the sound of Gallery of Suicide when compared to one of the Barnes-era Corpse albums is its accesibility when it comes to the music. Amelodical solos and frantic riffs have been excised for a more approachable sound. One of many examples of this trait appears on the track Stabbed In the Throat
. Another considerable difference of Gallery of Suicide to Barnes-era records is the use of seven-string guitars, which adds a sludgy feel that was previously nonexistent.
Pat O'Brien's style of guitar playing is much different than that of his predecessor, Rob Barret. Instead of attempting to cram as many notes into a solo as humanly possible, he opts for a more melodic style of soloing which adds to the approachability of the album. If you really sit down and take the time to listen to Tomb of the Mutilated, you will find that it is not an easy record to digest upon first spin. These traits have all but disappeared on Gallery of Suicide, and for those of you who insist that Cannibal Corpse are just a bunch of terrible musicians who can't play their instruments, this is definitely a record to dispel these accusations. While many would find it unthinkable, Gallery of Suicide even manages to secure a spot for an instrumental track, From Skin To Liquid
From a musical standpoint, Gallery of Suicide is an unquestionable triumph. A great quality of any 'Corpse album is the work of bassist Alex Webster, who plays with the famous dexterity he's always displayed. While most bass-work is usually mixed very low-profile in death metal, Alex's lower register is not drowned out amidst the pounding drums and guitar. Webster's bassline in Crushing The Despised
is a great example. The music on the album is more complicated and displays a diversity in the vibe of the record. Almost every song here is memorable at least by it's main riff, and titans like I Will Kill You
will have you in a neck-brace after the first listen. I would have to say that for the most part the songs on this record are not as straightforward as on previous efforts, such as the many tempo-changes which are present here coupled with the dissonance in the harmonies which adds to the feel of the album considerably.
When it comes to weak points on this album, I would be forced to point a finger at the vocals. While I think Fischer is a capable vocalist, Barnes' style appealed to me so much more. George's singing, if we can call it that is a clear departure from Barnes' work. At the same time, I can't say Fischer's vocals are much of a flaw considering that they suit the band's new style of writing. While most of what I have covered so far has been positive, I can't exclude the fact that Gallery of Suicide
is far from perfect, or even classic. Many of you Barnes purists will know when I'm talking about when I say I simply miss the rough and raw style of the old Cannibal Corpse. This is no Tomb of The Mutilated
, and that saddens me.
Gallery of Suicide
is a refreshing blend of technicality and death metal savagery. Although easy to underestimate, it is certain to reveal its uncompromising strength with a little time and patience. A solid addition to the band's discography, it may alienate many but it will surely attract and secure an entirely new breed of 'Corpse fanatics.
-Diversity throughout the record
-Accesible, an easy listen for the most part
-New vocal style
-Completely different feel than previous albums
-No bass solos from Alex Webster, ala Addicted to Vaginal Skin
-Lyrics are not up to par with those of Barnes
From Skin To Liquid
Stabbed In The Throat
Chambers of Blood
Centuries of Torment
Final Rating: 3.8