The Metal Minute Awarded 2009 Best Personal Blog By Metal Hammer Magazine

Friday, March 27, 2009

CD Review: Cannibal Corpse - Evisceration Plague

Cannibal Corpse - Evisceration Plague
2009 Metal Blade
Ray Van Horn, Jr.

Since the passing of Chuck Schuldiner, death metal has thankfully been nurtured in the deferential hands of peers and disciples such as Vader, Slayer, Destruction, The Rotted (formerly Gorerotted), Amon Amarth, Black Dahlia Murder, Demiricous and The Absence amongst others. One of the inarguably best death squads in metal's history outside of Death and Slayer is naturally Cannibal Corpse.

What else do you say about a band who evokes the celebratory mayhem of Fulci and Deodato splatter through one of the most extreme metallic sounds in the world? Cartoon Network's riotous Dethklok: Metalocalypse is the animated extension of the pus, blood and excrement squished out of Cannibal Corpse's skewered and piked lyrics. Nathan Explosion is one hardcore motherfucker but he would hardly be a doodle on the storyboard without his identifiable mortal muse, George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher. Hell, Dethklok themselves are the brought-to-life marriage of Dimmu Borgir and Cannibal Corpse, which leads us to the possible conclusion that if not for Slayer, the Corpse would be the indisputed champions of death metal, bar none.

Then again, the heralds of Slayer may be the finest of the form, yet Cannibal Corpse has managed to take them toe-to-toe in terms of ultra-violent penmanship, not to mention grossly faster algorithms (even if Dave Lombardo remains one of the greatest to ever stamp down on a bass pedal). Put against one another, the fan selection would heavily favor Slayer yet Cannibal Corpse could crack whips over the masters' heads on the velocity scale.

Why Cannibal Corpse is so freaking badass aside from their insanely graphic album covers (which have been noticeably censored now that the band is one of Metal Blade's franchise groups) is their relentless power from album-to-album. Sure, any Cannibal Corpse album is mostly predictible where you can expect beat-ripped songs about pain and suffering featuring brutally imaginative mechanisms tooling sadistically through the group's gore-loving heads. Craniums, limbs, eyeballs, tongues, genitals, you name it; all cannon fodder for a band that has probably seen Make Them Die Slowly, Dead Alive and I Spit On Your Grave more times than anyone on the planet. As a matter of fact, when I interviewed Alex Webster for Cannibal's previous release Kill, he was talking about Hostel well before it ever struck American shores. In other words, these cats know their horror business inside and out, emphasis on the insides...

Keeping that in mind as Cannibal Corpse strikes again with their latest thrash, bash and slash opus Evisceration Plague, the only mystery coming to this thing is how well its mad-strung components can keep up with each other. It seems with each album, Cannibal Corpse challenges themselves within to maintain the rattling, coin-scattered pulse they've customized better than damned near everyone except maybe Vader.

Though Cannibal Corpse may be starting to run out of offensive, Grand Guignol-esque titles such as "Stripped, Raped and Strangled" and "Force Fed Broken Glass" from The Bleeding or "Entrails Ripped From a Virgin" off of Tomb of the Mutilated, you still get some juicy ditties on Evisceration Plague such as "Beheading and Burning," "Evidence in the Furnace," "Shatter Their Bones" and "Skewered From Ear to Eye."

As the Corpsegrinder bellows out his customary chest-heaved belches, he pulls a hellcat yelp straight out of his spleen on "Scalding Hail" that makes you laugh in a sinister manner. Almost every album George Fisher has commandeered for Cannibal Corpse has at least one of those shrieking projections yielding the capacity to produce a sicko chuckle from the listener. Call it Fisher's shtick.

As nonchalantly as Fisher and his bandmates view themselves, it's easy to get stupidly captivated by Cannibal Corpse's tone-heavy shredding and ass-on-fire beat spewage to the point you sing depravedly along as everyone listening to "Make Them Suffer" from Kill must've done in private or in venue parking lots. This time around, expect to growl along with the Corpsegrinder to "A Cauldron of Hate," "Beheading and Burning," "Carnivorous Swarm" and the title track.

Also expect much of the same mosh-march-blast sequences you've always heard from these guys on Evisceration Plague. Many non-fans make the mistake thinking there's no buried artistry beneath the will-smashing velocity of Cannibal Corpse's music, but take one look at the making-of DVD accompanying The Wretched Spawn, or simply watch this band decimate their competitors onstage and you'll realize this is no easy task these guys delegate unto themselves. Playing an appropriately winding set of maniacal guitar strikes to give aural character to "Carnivorous Swarm" is as hard as could be expected from any band on the scene, much less those around as long as Cannibal Corpse has been--just query Joey DeMaio of Manowar about his bass-bombed interpretation of "Flight of the Bumblebees."

Asking Paul Mazurkiewicz to be on the ready with knee-popping triple hammers and ratchety snare strikes then slow his provoked limbs to a steady crawl on "Evisceration Plague" before erupting again with little room for hesitation is for some people like asking reality t.v. junkies to watch a factual documentary on Discovery Channel. Nonetheless, Mazurkiewicz has long been the unsung hero for Cannibal Corpse and as the band attempts ever-so-slight variances on Evisceration Plague, the destined-for-arthritis Mazurkiewicz proves his salt as always on this album. In particular the songs he wrote or co-wrote such as "Carrion Sculpted Entity," "To Decompose" and "Carnivorous Swarm."

Cannibal Corpse's meathead show is blatantly wrong on all accounts, but if you can take your metal tailspun through sinew-tearing claustrophobia and chord-crunched abuse, Cannibal Corpse reliably offers the best hellride out there.

Rating: ****


Anonymous said...



Luis Milanese said...

What a great blog you have! :)

Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

One day I'll be able to read kanji

Luis, thanks so much for those kind words, keep dropping by!