Four albums in, and it’s got to be said that Cannabis Corpse have flourished far beyond their original motives.
Originally a pretty simple weed and pun-fueled project, they’ve gone from purely aping the Corpse on debut ‘Blunted at Birth’, to deliver increasingly strong strains of interesting fare today.
It seems apt to view Cannabis Corpse alongside another band that grown in visibility in the DM scene in recent years – Gruesome. That band formed expressly as a Death tribute, but have evolved out of that into a group that play very-Death styled original metal.
Thankfully, the Death Metal underground in 2017 has enough excellent bands producing highly dynamic music if you look in the dark corners.
That’s why it’s neither concerning or surprising that there’s core demand for groups like Cannabis Corpse that stick closely to certain classic sounds.
What is noticeable is that both Cannabis Corpse and Gruesome have pushed themselves hard to move beyond. After all, there’s only limited life in paying tribute.
‘Left Hand Pass’ works because it’s such a nicely rounded DM workout. As you can tell from the song titles, there’s a commitment at work here to apply anything from the metal armoury that works.
Those nasty dual vocals, right from the get-go on ‘The 420th Crusade’ , as especially cool.
One guttural, one more insidious and rasping, they established a great dynamic that stretches across the whole album. Hardly ground-breaking, but combined with thumping drums and those trademark guitar thrills, it gets close to face-breaking.
The record itself does breathe nicely. We’re hit by a flurry of rhythm changes on ‘Final Exhalation’, cool, high-flying leadwork on ‘Chronic Breed’, and lots of necrotic harmonics on the title track.
The title track in particular carries a vicious line when vocalist LandPhil (Municipal Waste etc) slips “KILL ME” in betweent the riffs. It’s a fleeting gem of a moment, but these are what makes strong DM records, from Carcass to Cryptopsy.
The temptation to load songs that reference other bands with parts that sounds like those bands is also avoided, but there are always hints in there.
‘Effigy of the Forgetful’ does feature one cool, backwards-sounding riff that could potentially come from the Kings of New York DM.
The piss-pulling ‘Papyrus Containing the Spell to Protect Its Possessor Against Attacks from He Who Is in the Bong Water’ also starts with a Nile-esque war horn that segue ways into the sound of a hefty bong rip. You have to salute that.
Ultimately, the band have hit a fine balance here.
There’s still plenty of silliness and monged horror in their image, but the heart of a serious DM band beats beneath the surface. Under any other name, you’d still have a record that’s just as hard and savage sounding.
3.8 / 5 – Lorcan Archer ::: 25/10/17