A little under 4 years ago, Cannibal Corpse brought down the axe and hammer on us and gave us Kill. Brutal, vicious, unrelenting. By far, it was one of their best in a long time. Albums like Vile and Gallery of Suicide, while technically well made and in many cases highly underrated, just weren’t as good, intense, and fan-pleasing as others like Gore Obsessed and Kill were. The rest from the Corpsegrinder era, even with a good song every now and then (i.e. “Unleashing the Bloodthirsty”) just felt messy.
Kill didn’t feel messy at all. It was well constructed and wild as all hell. But even with true crowd-pleasers like “The Time to Kill Is Now” and “Maniacal,” it really felt like something was missing. There was enough power behind the songs. I seriously doubt that anyone would deny that. But there was very little that was truly memorable, and even when I listen to it (my album of choice on a bad day) it makes me sometimes want to listen to the key songs and get on with my life with something else.
Evisceration Plague hooked me the moment I popped up the screen and a little streaming player at the bottom began spewing the title track from my speakers. Slow wailing guitars and a soft (yet hard) drum beat coming in, leading into the now trademark Corpsegrinder sound. The sounds beat into my ears. It was slow, but it really sounded like it had more energy, more steady rhythm and an overall better feel than nearly everything I’d heard before on Kill.
When it finally came in (a day early and with a spare autographed booklet, no less) I felt a little apprehensive putting it in. I was worried I was just going to put it on my bookshelf and hardly touch it again, as many of Cannibal Corpse’s albums unfortunately seem to do. But, I put it into my stereo, pushed play, and the slowness on the title track was gone. The speed, unnerving. The brutality, over-the-top. And to boot, the most energy I’ve heard on a Cannibal Corpse album since Tomb of the Mutilated.
“Priests of Sodom,” “To Decompose,” and “Shatter Their Bones” all really got me, personally, and are now some of my personal favorites. Overall, the album is earth shatteringly fast, heavy, and insane, just as Kill was. But what it does have that Kill didn’t overall are the memorable riffs and hooks. But don’t think that means they’ve sold out. The lyrics and overall feel are just as sick and twisted as they ever were before. It’s almost a wonder the album didn’t receive the infamous explicit warning label, but how many CC albums have lately? It seems their reputation stands as testament enough to that alone. And for those wondering about why the album cover doesn’t seem too gory, pull out the booklet and get a good look on the inside. It’s sure to be a crowd-pleaser.
This album, to me above all of their most recent, shows they can be more than just the alleged cartoonish parody of death metal that critics called them over the years. They’re legitimate, brutal, and heavy as they ever were, especially here on this album. If you’ve never given the band a shot, start with either Tomb of the Mutilated (a true fan favorite) or the boxed set 15 Year Killing Spree (to get a taste of their best over the years). Death metal fan that always avoided Cannibal Corpse? Try this one and see what you think. It’s easily one of the best they’ve ever put out.