Review Summary: Cannibal Corpse start off a bit rough, but lay down the foundation to what will become one of the best-selling death metal bands ever
We all know exactly what they’re about. Gore, brutality, speed, violence, basically what most people see death metal as. That’s how they’ve always been, that’s how they always will be. However, they haven’t always necessarily been the same. Their debut, Eaten Back to Life
shows a band that knows precisely what they want to do, but they’re not quite sure how to do it yet. Even the album title shows that, Eaten Back to Life
…what the f*ck does that mean? If one is dead, what does the eating of that person have to do with their mortality status? I know that Cannibal Corpse have never been very articulate but come on now. Being cheesy is what they do best I suppose; this album shows they’ve never had a problem with that. It wouldn’t be fair to call out a band like this for the lyrics because it’s really not to be taken seriously at all, but you can bet they’re of the same quality.
The overall feel to this album does differ slightly from what you’d usually get from CC, the production is a bit different and it suits the music very well. There’s also a tad more of a thrash influence than on later releases, you can really hear that in the solos. They’re really messy and fast, they seem like not very much time was put into them. Hell, the same could be said for the whole album, really. It’s very sloppy and fast and brutal, and if that’s you’re thing, this is just right for you.
Obviously, this is the Chris Barnes era, so the vocals aren’t exactly going to be top-notch. He’s a decent vocalist, but on this album he’s quite monotone. There’s more of a thrash-shout going on than a growl, and that’s all it is the whole album. He’s a one trick pony if I’ve ever heard one. That being said, he does fit the sound well enough for it to not be a very big problem. The other band members are a talented bunch, albeit not that creative. Some riffs are really boring, and some are great. Oftentimes, you hear one right after the other (IE: Edible Autopsy
). The drummer and the bassist suffer from the same problem, they’re excellent musicians but they’re pretty repetitive on this album. By the way, yes you can hear the bass! Alex Webster deserves some attention; he’s really a great bassist. Their writing skills just needed some improvement.
While this album is an overlooked part of Cannibal Corpse’s catalog, it’s easy to see why. This just isn’t as matured as their later releases (I know, it feels weird saying that). Eaten Back to Life
isn’t a very memorable album but it deserves a listen, mostly due to the fact that it’s cool to hear how one of the most popular death metal bands of all time got their start. That, and isn’t half bad either. Yea, it’s kind of boring in places and it’s not very well put together, but it’s a nice slab of raw, old school death metal that most extreme music fans can get behind and enjoy for at least a few listens.