Tuesday, 27 April 2021

ALBUM REVIEW: Cannibal Corpse, "Violence Unimagined"

By: Richard Maw
Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 16/04/2021
Label: Metal Blade Records

“Violence Unimagined” CD//DD//LP track listing:
1). Muderous Rampage
2). Necrogenic Resurrection
3). Inhumane Haarvest
4). Condemnation Contagion
5). Surround, Kill, Devour
6). Ritual Annihilation
7). Follow the Blood
8). Bound and Buried
9). Slowly Sawn
10). Overtorture

The Review:
Ah, Cannibal Corpse. The Motorhead of death metal. The Overkill of death metal. The High on Fire of death metal. They are relentlessly consistent. Relentlessly brutal. Relentlessly... relentless. I think it's fair to say that there are no bad CC albums. Equally, there are a few great ones- which most fans agree on (“The Bleeding”, “Butchered at Birth”, “Kill”...). Ultimately, they have always made good albums. I love “A Skeletal Domain” as much as I love “Tomb of the Mutilated”- but any other fan may disagree and pick another pair of albums they enjoy equally.
This record finds a line up shift having taken effect. As many will know, Pat O'Brien has legal problems not too far off the themes found in in CC's songs. His technical prowess and creativity are of course much missed- but if there is one replacement who could step up the mark, it has to be Erik Rutan. He's death metal royalty and surely needs no further introduction?!
Speaking of Rutan, the sound on this record is incredible. It's crystal clear and incredibly punchy. The snare snaps like a zombie's neck. The bass is springy and easy to pick out without being clanky and overbearing (lovely highlights are to be found in “Follow The Blood”). The guitars grind and shred like any number of torture devices- or DIY appliances.  
As soon as I started to listen to “Violence Unimagined”, I knew it would be one of the great ones. It has all the best elements of Cannibal Corpse. The musicianship is absolutely insane. The hooks embed in your brain and refuse to leave. It's brutal, catchy and brilliant. George Corpsegrinder Fisher is as imperious as ever. His vocals are both guttural, clear and forceful in equal measure. Barrett and Rutan really deliver on the riff and solo front. Alex Webster remains the best bassist in extreme metal and Paul Mazurkiewicz brings his precise yet wild drumming to its natural conclusion- the blasts are there, the fills are there and he switches so well around the kit and from hi hat to ride. 
Thematically, of course, you know what you are getting. I'll be honest and state that the song titles/lyrics/themes and artwork are the least attractive part of CC's music for me. I'm not really a huge horror fan, I'm not gore obsessed (!) and I have no particular interest in the macabre beyond what most metal fans may have. I can't defend the genre to its critics or explain it to those who are repulsed... All of that said, I do like death metal. No, I love death metal. The sound, the vibe, the extremity: I just have an affinity for it- when it is done well. The classic death metal bands are classic for a reason- Obituary, Deicide, Morbid Angel, Death, Dismember, Entombed; the list goes on. All those bands are great- or were great at the very least. 
The thing with Cannibal Corpse is that they were great and are great and will continue to be great. They continue to make incredibly good records. They continue to define death metal in sound, theme and all visual aspects. Whether it's “Ritual Annihilation”, “Inhumane Harvest” or skin flaying opener “Murderous Rampage”, the band has delivered on every conceivable level here. The playing is amazing, the atmosphere is dark and gritty throughout, the songs are memorable and don't ever descend into mindless blasting. 
I've really liked the preceding two records to this one- “A Skeletal Domain” is one of my favourite CC albums and “Red Before Black” was another masterclass. My first impressions are that this is better than both and thus is the best CC record in years and that is REALLY saying something. It's majestic in its violence and force. If you like/liked or want to try out death metal- just give this album a listen. I fear that if you can't get into this, you simply don't like death metal. The best in the business are back. Bow down and expect swift decapitation.
“Violence Unimagined” is available HERE 

Band info: official || facebook