Review Summary: Despite bringing nothing new to the table, Red Before Black succeeds in showcasing the sound of one of the death metal genre's most consistent bands.
Legendary soccer superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic, upon being asked what he was purchasing his partner for their birthday, cheekily replied "nothing, she has Zlatan," and I feel this quote is the perfect way of summing up a new record from iconic death metal act, Cannibal Corpse. Their new material comes around like clockwork, utilising the same tried and tested songwriting formula that has lead them to endure for over twenty-five years, and latest album Red Before Black is no different.
The band's sound could be described as old-school death metal with a technical edge, honed to sharpness by the lowest guitar tunings imaginable and a razor sharp production. This is equally true of Red Before Black, with Erik Rutan's production job on here striking the right balance between brutally heavy and clean. The songwriting does little different from their other albums, with the two guitarists churning out a mixture of power chord laden mid-tempo riffs and flurries of notes in the faster cuts, whilst the drumming does nothing special, anchoring the rest of the band amidst such organised chaos. George Fisher's vocals are as brilliant as ever, vomiting out masses of words in rapid cadence whilst ensuring every violent sentence is indecipherable, and Alex Webster's bass still seeps through in an orgiastic display of technicality.
The individual songs here are all written to a high standard, and each one feels polished. Only One Will Die takes on the mantle of "fast Corpse opener", a trend the band established long ago, and it is as effective as it is frantic. Code Of The Slashers opens with an ominous slower passage, before descending into violent madness, and is one of my favourite songs here. Corpus Delecti is the heaviest song of the bunch, with several skull crushing meandering slower riffs mixed in with the barbaric savagery of its quicker passages, whilst Heads Shovelled Off is an oddly catchy quick track. Red Before Black showcases the quicker vocals of Corpsegrinder Fisher excellently, and Remaimed is as brutal lyrically as it is heavy. This whole album is very consistent, despite bringing nothing new to the table.
As a result of this continuation of what the band has done for the last couple of decades, it is hard to describe it as anything more than "a great listen", suffering a little from the feeling of having been there before. However, it is still a solid listen for anybody wishing for a consistent slice of old-school death metal complimented by great production values.