It’s a bit of a ritual at this stage, really.
Cannibal Corpse release another new album and for some reason, most of us get a bit excited at the prospect of ‘this one’ being different.
The usual Cannibal Corpse formula for albums these days is to have one or two excellent tracks on an album with the rest being, while extremely technically proficient, pretty much standard filler for the band.
One thing I will sing the praises of is the overall sound engineering. Webster’s bass hasn’t sounded as good in any recording before this. The tone is thick and heavy, and most importantly, completely audible, which is important as he is a phenomenal musician.
Opener ‘High Velocity Impact Spatter’ is a bit underwhelming, but has some nice especially nice riffs at around the 2 minute mark. ‘Sadistic Embodiment’ has a very strong ‘Show No Mercy’-era Slayer influence, solo included.
Wading through the expected filler, the title track is pedestrian and follows the usual slow-track formula used since ‘Gallery of Suicide’. ‘Headlong into Carnage’ is just as forgettable, as is ‘The Murderer’s Pact’, ‘Icepick Lobotomy’ and ‘Bloodstained Cement’. ‘Vector of Cruelty’ might be aptly titled if your idea of cruelty is to subjected to 3 and a half minutes of utter aural monotony.
The absolute highlight is ‘Kill or Become’, which is absolutely frantic, over-encumbured with riffs and has a high intensity which is infectious. I’ve had it on repeat numerous times, it’s that good.
‘Funeral Cremation’ is the moodiest and darkest Corpse track I’ve heard since ‘From Skin To Liquid’. I’m also shocked at Mazurkiewicz’s performance on this number as he actually sounds he gives a damn beyond using THAT drum pattern.
I’ve always felt that Mazurkiewicz was the main problem regarding the band ever really progressing in sound, because it’s obvious that the guitarists and bassist are lightyears ahead in terms of technicality, however I think there’s a bit more to it than just that.
In the example of the above track, even when I felt that Mazurkiewicz was pulling his weight, it became more evident to me that my biggest issue is with another member altogether: Corpsegrinder.
It’s no secret that Mazurkiewicz is largely the brains and workhorse behind everything, apart from Webster. The man writes quite a bit of the music and writes a large chunk of the lyrics. In relation to ‘Funeral Cremation’, Fisher’s staccato, machine gun-like vocal patterns are simply dialed in and I found that they actually ruined the track for me, for the most part. That track alone deserved a better performance than the one delivered.
Just what exactly does he even do in the band anymore? The only upside to him I can think of is that he’s got a reliable voice, the kind that anybody not into Death Metal could use a gateway, but does he actually contribute anything to the songwriting process?
Cannibal Corpse are certainly reliable, but I do wonder how long they can keep this formula up. They’ve done so well at being successful and it can’t be disputed that they are the biggest and most recognisable Death Metal band in history. How long will it be until their longtime, hardcore fans start to wane and grow tired?
They’re great to throw on the playlist every now and again, and even then, only a few tracks here and there from their latter-day material. They could easily have a pretty good compilation CD of, say, 12-15 tracks from ‘Gore Obsessed’-onwards.
Which, for 6 albums, probably doesn’t come across as glowing admiration for them.
Nevertheless, Cannibal Corpse do what they do and they make a pretty decent living from doing it. If they released an album with 12 tracks as good as ‘Kill or Become’ and ‘Funeral Cremation’, the follow-up release would have a lot to live up to.
Alas, at this stage it’s safer to bet that I’ll have another track or two to enjoy from it instead.
2.4/5 – Ricardo Angelone ::: 05/09/14