Review Summary: Cannibal Corpse's tenth studio album raises the bar for modern death metal...
Cannibal Corpse is one of the world’s best selling death metal bands. Despite censorship from countries all over the world, (in Germany, Cannibal Corpse are prohibited from playing songs off their first three albums, while in Australia, New Zealand, and Korea, the group's merchandise was temporarily banned) the band has managed to sell one million albums over a period of eighteen years. This was obviously going to happen sooner or later, with song titles such as Shredded Humans
and Post Mortal Ejaculation
. However, the disgusting images on their merchandise also contributed to their sales. Of course, crucial to the band’s success, Cannibal Corpse has evolved into a formidable technical death metal band. The group doesn't play as fast or complicated as, say, Hate Eternal or Origin, but in a metal world of ever-increasing chops, Cannibal Corpse has more than held its own.
Although Cannibal Corpse have generally been hit or miss since the release of their debut, Kill
is definitely a place where the band hits quite well. The album is among the more coherent and consistent in their song structure and songs, generally, relying heavily on a balanced diet of thrash sections and breakdowns, without overdoing them like some bands do today.
Alex ‘Corpsegrinder’ Fisher breathed new life into the band. Corpsegrinder brought even harsher vocals to the band, as well as his legendary head banging and his stage energy. The band’s sound grew increasingly sophisticated, as did their album’s production. Vile
was, not only the band's first death metal album on the charts, but the
first death metal album on the Billboard charts, which showed Corpsegrinder at his peak, along with the Worm Infested EP
and The Wretched Spawn
, Worm Infested EP
and The Wretched Spawn
all contain excellent production, thanks to Neil Kernon, and the latter an entertaining making-of DVD. Given the quality of the albums produced by Kernon, producer Erik Rutan (who also worked with Morbid Angel and Hate Eternal) had large shoes to fill.
is, hands down, Rutan's best production yet. The sound is clear and heavy without the over-processed sheen that afflicts many modern metal productions. More importantly, Rutan brings out the best performances from all members of the band. Kill
has a precision and power about it that comes from a band that’s fully in control. The album opener The Time To Kill Is Now
is two of the most vicious minutes of sound ever recorded. Straight away, Corpsegrinder screams ’Kill!’
as breakneck riffs and drums fly by. The band's trademark pinch harmonics lead to the irresistibly catchy refrain, ’Time to kill is now.’
One can't help but sing along. Make Them Suffer
operates similarly, with tremolo picking and thrash drums beats. Despite the constantly shifting time signatures (there's very little 4/4 here), the songs always returns to hooks or phrases that tie everything together. Bassist Alex Webster writes most of the band's material, and his songs deftly balance technicality and brutality. For such short songs (only one exceeds four minutes in length), there’s a lot going on. Five Nails Through The Neck
is absolutely crushing, easily one of the highlights of this album. The album has no weak songs, and has enough variety (album closer "Infinite Misery" is a surprisingly slow, doomy dirge) to keep the listener engaged throughout. At this stage in the game, Cannibal Corpse won't win any awards for innovation. Over the years, the band has stuck to the brutal death metal template it helped invent, while tweaking its sound just enough to remain relevant. Cannibal Corpse has given us a nice surprise here; the crafting of the tracks, the catchiness and the pure energy makes Kill
one of Cannibal Corpse’s best albums. Cannibal Corpse is one of the few bands that plays death metal for a living; this album is ample proof why.
Unlike many of their past offerings, Cannibal Corpse’s Kill
treads the line between being old school yet maintaining a modern character in the production quality. The riffs are muddy, but no overly enough to turn it into pure noise. It refuses to become redundant and boring. Tracks like Barbaric Bludgeonings
, Murder Worship
and The Time To Kill Is Now
are over in a thrash, whereas tracks like Death Walking Terror
and Infinite Misery
take it a bit slower, almost sounding death/doom, only without the atmospheric quality. But, these slower songs prove one thing, the aggression is still there.
Of course, this is death metal. Songs eventually
get repetitive, mainly because they consist of thrashing, blasting, breaking down, and then repeat the whole thing again. But, beside that, this is a solid album. I wouldn’t say that it measures up to the genius of Eaten Back To Life
, but it is definitely among the best offerings that Cannibal Corpse have given to us. It’s a perfect example of how modern death metal should sound…