Review Summary: An interesting demo for Vile but it is a shame about the vocals.
Created To Kill is not only the title for the demo recordings of the album Vile by Cannibal Corpse but also an accurate summary of the bands music in general. They started out as a thrash band with their self titled demo tape before shifting into a more aggressive brand of death metal, and went on to revolutionize the genre with the insanely controversial run of albums stretching from Butchered At Birth to The Bleeding. Following these albums the band entered a new era after their original vocalist Chris Barnes, who was among the first vocalists to use the guttural style that many a vocalist would take as their own style, departed from the band. The reasons for his departure vary with some claiming that it was due to his rapidly deteriorating vocals and others will report that it was due to conflicts with the more experimental and technical nature the band was taking into their sound. Some would even go as far as to suggest that there were conflicts within the band that lead up to Chris Barnes' final hours with them. No matter what event holds up in the eyes of history, the facts following that are set in stone-George Fisher joined the band and they released the album Vile. What many are unaware of is the fact that many of these songs were written whilst Chris was still behind the microphone and that these songs eventually made up the aforementioned demo tape, Created To Kill which was later immortalized on their 15 Year Killing Spree box set.
This demo is an interesting collection of seven songs making up a twenty three minute running time of much more technical material than fans of the band were previously used to. Whereas The Bleeding was a nice attempt at shifting into technical metal territory with its trill-infested songs, Created To Kill is a no strings attached display of incredibly fast and intricate riffing that is not for the faint-hearted. Many have noted that the vocal performance on here is a huge step down from Barnes' previous works with the band, and this is certainly true with the vocals being the natural progression from the weakening snarls that were found on the Bleeding. The growls and snarls on this release are more in line with his later Six Feet Under performances and this is nothing to be proud of at all but he definitely still has the power behind them if not the guttural tones that he will forever be remembered for. Despite the off-time insanity that he puts forth in Mummified In Barbed Wire, his growls retain an air of intensity but on here they sound very forced and overly breathy that takes away from the enjoyment that can be garnered from listening to Created To Kill.
The guitar work on this release is a mass of tremolo picking with some crazy chord based riffs scattered in between and the occasional slower moments scattered throughout. The riffs on here are a more primal version of what was found on Vile which is certainly a good thing, with a lot of complexity behind them and some well thought out song structures. This is not a demo that thunders along as fast as humanly possible but instead the tempos are deliberately varied to keep the listener interested and this certainly works to its advantage. Also there are enough differences in the actual songs from their final, more polished versions found on Vile to ensure that this does not sound exactly the same and feels like a legitimate release in its own right instead of the inferior version of that particular album. The drumming is nothing to write home about but Paul's drumming has never been absolutely top tier. He and bassist Alex Webster anchor down a solid rhythm that keeps the demo thundering along at a fantastic pace whilst the two guitarists play their insane riffs over the top and occasionally scatter a marvelously written solo throughout.
This is not as good as the final version of Vile by any means but is an interesting listen for any death metal fan and a nice piece of history for those whom enjoy both eras of Cannibal Corpse. The highly technical riffing coupled with Chris Barnes' off-time vocals gives a feeling of insanity and whilst this is not particularly polished and is still rough around the edges, it feels intense enough to be listened to every now and again. All in all though it is better that CorpseGrinder took over as the vocals on here are at times atrocious compared to what they once were.