Review Summary: A failed attempt to be Vile4 of 7 thought this review was well written
Cannibal Corpse are a legendary name in death metal. They are one of the genres most enduring and consistent bands, but also one of the most controversial, and one of the reasons for the amount of exposure the genre got in the 90s. Fronted initially by Chris Barnes, who wrote some of the most sickening filth known to man, the band soon replaced him, after their fourth album, The Bleeding, with George "Corpsegrinder Fisher". From this point onwards, the band got progressively more technical.
However, the bands post-Barnes material is the subject of debate by many rabid fanboys as to which was better. Some prefer the straight up filth that was Barnes-era Corpse, and his trademark ultra-low growl. Others, myself included, prefer the style of Corpsegrinder era Corpse, with the ultra technical guitar work displayed on tracks such as Purification By Fire and Frantic Disembowelment, and the ridiculous vocal talent of Corpsegrinder.
In 2012, the band released their highly anticipated album Torture. Their previous album, Evisceration Plague, created a dichotomy between Corpse fans. Many believed it was too different from what the band had created beforehand, and entirely mediocre. However, i am with the other camp in that i believe it to be an absolute masterpiece, but for different reasons to the rest of their material. Torture was deemed to be their return to a more "pure" death metal sound. And boy, does it kick ass.
This album is full of fantastic riffs, be they fast riffs (Demented Aggression, Sarcophagic Frenzy), or crushing mid paced ones such as the ones found in Scourge Of Iron and As Deep As The Knife Will Go. The band has never been one to slack off with the guitar work, and the riff work found on this album is truly worthy of the bands name. The solo work is rather tight, but not quite up to par found on Evisceration Plague, where the solos were some of the highlights of that particular album. Rob Barrett and Pat O'Brien really do create some fantastic moments on here, especially that intro solo to Encased In Concrete.
The drumming from Paul Mazurkiewicz is up to his usual standard. That is not to say, incredible, as he has never been the most talented of drummers, hit he lays down as solid enough beat for the rest of the musicians to do what they want to do with the song, The slower beats are tight enough, and the blasts he uses are fairly decent. This man is a very underrated drummer in my opinion.
Bassist Alex Webster is up to his usual standards on this album, with the odd nice little bass fill found in a couple of tracks, and on the rest of the album he just does what Webster does best. He has several song writing credits on this album, and it shows through. Alex Webster is possibly the finest bassist out there, as he has proven many a time and once more proves on here.
The vocals from Corpsegrinder are fairly standard, minus his trademark long screams. He holds a few seconds on a couple of songs, but it seems as if the band was just going for raw speed than letting George do his thing. And so, he is left to deliver his lyrics frantically,with the usual layered vocals at times. His chorus in Encased In Concrete reminds me of Evidence In The Furnace from Evisceration Plague. The vocals on here are fairly decent. George has always been intelligeble, and this album does not change that.
The best songs on this album are Encased In Concrete, Demented Aggression and As Deep As The Knife Will Go. The latter is more like something off of Evisceration Plague, but is still a fantastic tune. Demented Aggression was the single released from this album, and it is essentially just Corpse doing what they do-creating brutal death ***ing metal. Encased In Concrete contains some of the tightest riff work and vocal work on the album.
The weaker tracks off the album are where it is really let down. This is not the most consistent album in Cannibal Corpse's discography, and songs like Followed Home Then Killed, Caged... Contorted and Torn Through Show Why. The former is fairly bland, with a opening. They attempted to create an atmosphere, but failed. It reminds me of For Whom The Bell Tolls by Metallica, but only a shadow of that song. The stop-start guitar work does not really work, the drumming seems a bit off-time, and everything does not fit together at all.
Caged... Contorted, whilst having a promising intro, and some decent riff work throughout, just grates on me the wrong way. It sounds like Corpse trying to go back to Vile-era songs, and fails. The longer growls on this song, such as when he growls the word "contorted", sound strained, and it is obvious he does not have the power behind them he had 10 years ago, unfortunately.
Torn Through is one of the faster tunes on the album, but also one of the most bleak and uninteresting. There is too much going on to soak it all in, the drumming never lets up for a second, and the guitars are mixed too low. Corpsegrinder is at his best on this track, but it is hard to pay any attention due to the wall of sound the rest of the band have created. This really was a failed attempt at being heavy.
This album attempts to return to the sound created on albums such as Vile, and for the most part, it works. However, there are a few glaring errors that prevent it from working. When the band is trying to be fast, they mainly fail. The riff work is some of their tightest in years on here, but the weaker tracks still drag this album down. Unfortunately, the Corpse machine is starting to finally show its age, and this should be the note they go out on.