February 6, 2010

Cannibal Corpse - Evisceration Plague

Cannibal Corpse is a band I have had very little association with over the years. Their career was beginning as I was making my first in roads into music fandom (late for my age) with the hair metal crowd and more notably with grunge. Still, they were a band that when mentioned would elicit a smile and a knowing nod, despite he fact I didn't know. I was acknowledging an association that did not exist and one I was not taking the time to foster. I did have occasional brief interactions as a friend of mine was into heavier music than I at the time. I also recall their memorable cameo in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective playing "Hammer Smashed Face." However, for all intents and purposes Evisceration Plague is my first real introduction to the band.

Prior to getting my hands on the album, I did hear a couple of tracks that were played as part of a Metal Blade podcast along with interviews with a couple of band members, I believe it was primarily George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher. The songs were "Carnivorous Swarm" and the title track, "Evisceration Plague." At that point I new I wanted to get my hands on the album. Unfortunately, it still took a long time after that to actually get it.

Evisceration Plague is a very solid album and I fee I walk away better for the experience, even if there may be a little stagger in my step and a little dried blood in my ear. Something tells me this is a common reaction to their music. Twelve songs are packed into a runtime that comes in under 40-minutes and is packed with a steady stream of ferocious energy that is tight, compact and finely focused on its delivery. This is a band that has honed their skills to a fine blade that they wield with the surgical precision of a baseball bat.


The music offers a bit more subtlety and technique than I was expecting. Let me be honest I expected the baseball bat. I did not expect the skill with which it was used. To use another baseball analogy, I expected a Mark McGuire-steroid enhanced bashing and got an Albert Pujols work blast with class. Yes, I do realize it is a little odd to equate Cannibal Corpse with class. After all, this is the band that has drawn the ire of government officials and parents groups for years over the offensive nature of their lyrical content and cover art.

Do not get me wrong. When the album is over you will feel battered and abused and you will likely need a shower. That said, while there is only one speed, it comes with surprising variety. The riffs are of the heavy skull crushing sort that make you grit your teeth and go along with, but they come with moments of clarity, such as in songs like "To Decompose," "Evisceration Plague," and "Skewered from Ear to Eye." The drums are pummeling, but occasionally break down into something better than the blast beat pace they mostly keep. Perhaps most surprising is the presence of the bass. In most cases I can never hear the bass in this style of music, but here you can here technically sound runs go trough the background on a number of occasions. Finally, Corpsegrinder is generally intelligible if you listen real closely. The man has a good growl to him!

I need to brush up on my Cannibal Corpse after this. This is a solid album from the genre veterans. Up and comers take note, you do not need to copy this, but listen to what is accomplished here. Use that knowledge, go forth, and create! I know this is not a game changer, but there is certainly something to be said for making a solid album that has its own voice.

Bottomline. If you like death metal and do not listen to Cannibal Corpse, do yourself a favor, pick this up, you will not be disappointed. I am sad it took me this long to check them out, I have some catching up to do. This may not be as controversial as prior releases, it still has what I recognize as the Cannibal Corpse feel, uncompromising and intense.

Highly Recommended.

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