Review Summary: The best of the Corpsegrinder era-Cannibal Corpse albums, Bloodthirst is the band's peak standard of execution, songwriting, and production.
Times looked relatively uncertain for Cannibal Corpse after the release of Gallery of Suicide. After the viciousness of Vile and the relative restraint of The Bleeding, the band's loss of Rob Barrett seemed to result in a release which demonstrated that all the previous elements of the band remained, but with a generally lumpen feeling. Combined with inconsistency and a general lack of memorability outside of a few songs, it was a dip in quality that wasn't crippling by any means, but was a potential cause for concern for the fledgling Pat O'Brien line up. Thankfully, Bloodthirst followed it up with one of the most tightly constructed and neatly executed Cannibal Corpse albums, and one that has successfully stood the test of time.
Bloodthirst's overall feeling is far more aggressive than Gallery of Suicide, with a production job that is much less lumpen. The guitars feel sharp and clear whilst possessing plenty of girth for the chunkier rhythms, whilst the rhythm section is near perfectly balanced to drive the songs along without obscuring the vocals and wild riffs. Aiding in this more vicious sound is a stronger pacing to most of the tracks: Pounded into Dust
, Dead Human Collection
and especially the fantastic Blowtorch Slaughter
gun it from the very get go and successfully dive into the slower rhythms and dynamic shifts after such strong openings. The transitions between riffs are all much smoother and more logical, with the song structures being coherent enough such that every song with the exception of album low-point Coffin Feeder
has a nice flow to it and sufficient catchiness.
A more understated and subtle quality of the album is its variety, not usually a strength of Cannibal Corpse albums. More than most Cannibal Corpse releases, there is a clear differentiation in the feeling of each song based on who wrote it; Dead Human Collection
and Hacksaw Decapitation
are dead ringers for a Pat O'Brien track, with less active changes in time signature but huge levels of technicality, whilst The Spine Splitter
is more indicative of Jack Owen's more sinister, slow paced style. Unleashing the Bloodthirsty
and Sickening Metamorphosis
carry Webster's distinctive style of writing with their somewhat nauseating scales. In addition, tonal shifts such as the churning, spiraling break of Ecstasy In Decay and the off-kilter midsection of The Spine Splitter
provide an extra depth to the songwriting that makes it considerably less repetitive whilst keeping the deliberate, measured approach to the structure of the songs. Thanks to this subtle variety, along with its relatively short length, Bloodthirst breezes by without dragging at any point.
Bloodthirst offers no new ideas, but is an extremely well rounded album with a great deal of polish and gracefulness for such an ungraceful, morbid band. Combining its songwriting qualities with strong technical performances and production, it serves as probably the best of the Corpsegrinder era-Cannibal Corpse albums, and is a very strong death metal album by any measure.