The story of Cannibal Corpse, an underground band from Buffalo just over the Canadian border, is the story of a band becoming successful the old-fashioned way. Born in 1989, the band recorded one demo and signed to Metal Blade. Singer Barnes worked at a record store called Cavages where the music buyer knew someone at Metal Blade and would mail Cannibal Corpse’s music to. Without management, money or much hoopla the band's over the top image and lyrics aided by incessant touring and a musical violence dear to the fans, catapults Cannibal Corpse to make a name for itself in the underground and eventually all of the metal scene.
The band's cause was not hampered at all by the decisions of right-wing US institutions like the PMRC, Bob Dole, 700 Club and a whole list of others to target the band. Oddly enough, the Corpse had its biggest set back in Germany where a group of teachers and parents lead an attack on the band resulting in several songs being banned in that country. The band's gore-soaked covers are routinely censored in the USA; many appearing in two versions. The band also appears in the movie Pet Detective per request of fan/star Jim Carey.
The band's original guitar Rusay left, ostensibly because of a lack of musicianship, but the band marched on. Furthermore, it was during the recording of Vile that the increasingly distant Barnes ended up making his side project a focus and left the band. The band recruited old friend Corpsegrinder and much to the surprise of the fans continued in much the same manner as before. For until that day the fans and media were left to believe that Chris Barnes (now exclusively in Six Feet Under) was the source of the savagery and gore in the band's music. Lo and behold the tradition's continuation in Cannibal Corpse, while Six Feet Under came across as a toned down death metal act. Having joined Cannibal Corpse, Corpsegrinder still honoured a Monstrosity commitment to play a show in Montreal despite being in the midst of recording Vile. The band drove up to Montreal with its (former) singer despite even having a van accident.
The band, which left the cold and debris of Buffalo long ago for Florida, had consistently worked with producer Scott Burns at Tampa's Morrisound Studio until the band hired producer Colin Richardson. Furthermore, Gore Obsessed displayed the band's devotion to its roots and is produced by Neil Kernon. The band released an EP entitled Worm Infested in the autumn of 2002. This EP was made exclusively available on-line or on the road during the band's tour with Macabre and Cattle Decapitation. Cannibal Corpse reached the one million sale mark in 2003. The band planned to begin recording a new album with producer Neil Kernon towards the end of 2003. The death metallers would celebrate the band's fifteenth anniversary with the release of a four-disc box set containing three CDs and a DVD in late 2003. It was entitled 15-Year Killing Spree and was out in November. At the same time, the band's label announced that Cannibal Corpse has sold a total of one million albums in total. Around the same time guitarist Jack Owen and drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz announced a new side-project called Path Of Man, which also featured Helstar/Seven Witches frontman James Rivera. The band's first gig was due to be at a James Murphy benefit show on September 6 in St. Petersburg, Florida.
It was announced in late 2003 that the forthcoming album will be entitled The Wretched Spawn and will be out in February, 2004. A couple of song titles were Decency Defied and Cianide Assassin. The band lined up a tour with Hypocrisy and Vile for that period. Furthermore, Jack Owen and former Resurrection and Epitaph drummer Kevin Astl formed a hard rock band called Adrift around this time. This soon led to Owen's departure from the fold. He cited a lack of interest in death metal as the reason for his departure. Former Origin guitarist Jeremy turner provisionally joined the act, following which the cannibals hit South America. Around this time ex-guitarist Jack Owen toured with Deicide as the latter's Brian Hoffman had to miss several European shows.
Singer George "Corpsegrinder" Fischer was hospitalized on Tuesday, November 16th of 2004 due to an infection. He soon was reported recovered. Malevolent Creation's Rob Barrett rejoined the band for a performance at the Northwest Death Fest in Seattle on April 3rd, 2005. He had left the band seven years previous. He ended up becoming a member again. Kill was recorded from October to December of 2005 at Mana Studio with producer Erik Rutan. Alex Webster rejoined Hate Eternal in 2007 in order to play bass on that band’s newest album. The band announced the release of a three-disc DVD, Centuries Of Torment The First 20 Years, on July 8th 2008 through Metal Blade. Children Of Bodom, Cannibal Corpse and Finland’s Diablo were touring Europe in January, February and March of 2009. The band picked Evisceration Plague as the title for its 2009 album, which was due on February 3rd through Metal Blade Records. This was the follow-up to 2006's Kill album and was again produced by Erik Rutan at Mana Recording Studio in St. Petersburg, Florida. Cannibal Corpse and Dying Fetus were touring Europe in October of 2009. The openers for the European Plague Tour were Obscura and Evocation. Could a wooden mp3 be far behind? According to Metal Blade, a Cannibal Corpse digital box set was set up on itunes in August of 2009. This “box set” featured 16 albums and 196 songs.
Cannibal Corpse would release a new DVD, called Global Evisceration, on March 15th, 2011 through Metal Blade. Pat O'Brien would fill in for Exodus' Gary Holt when Holt said goodbye to Slayer in Europe to play with his own band. Holt was filling in for the incapacitated Jeff Hannemann of Slayer on the road. Cannibal Corpse was touring Mexico and South America in December 2011 with The Black Dahlia Murder and Suicide Silence. Infernal Majesty would perform its 1987 album None Shall Defy (originally Roadrunner and later re-issued by Displeased) in its entirety with guest vocalist George "Corpsegrider" Fisher from Cannibal Corpse on August 20th, 2011 at Rickhaw Theatre in Vancouver, Canada. Cannibal Corpse would headline the first edition of Metal Hammer's Destroyers Of The Faith tour in March of 2012 in the UK with Job For A Cowboy, Enslaved and Triptykon. Cannibal Corpse would release its twelfth studio album, entitled Torture, in March through Metal Blade Records. The album was recorded in September and October of 2011 at Sonic Ranch studio in Tornillo, Texas and Mana Recording Studio in St. Petersburg, Florida with producer Erik Rutan. Two early bands of Cannibal Corpse members reunited on January 7 and 8th, 2012 at Club Infinity in Buffalo, New York for a benefit concert for Sons Of Azrael guitarist Tony Lorenzo who was shot in October and paralyzed and required medical attention. Beyond Death, featuring Cannibal Corpse bassist Alex Webster, Jack Owen (formerly of Cannibal Corpse and currently Deicide), as well as Tirant Sin, which featured original Cannibal singer Chris Barnes, guitarist Bob Rusay and drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz were on stage. Mazurkiewicz played at the concert along with current Cannibal Corpse guitarist Rob Barrett. Suffocation and Embalmer were also on the bill. Cannibal Corpse was heading back to Australia beginning October 4th, 2012 for a tour. Cannibal Corpse and Devildriver co-headlined Europe for a tour in February and March, 2013. In the meantime, drummer Shannon Lucas left The Black Dahlia Murder and launched a new project with Killswitch Engage guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz and Cannibal Corpse vocalist George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher. Cannibal Corpse, Napalm Death and Immolation would tour Canada and the USA in the spring of 2013. In 2013, Bass Guitar Magazine, which is based in the United Kingdom, added Alex Webster to the list of its columnists. Webster would write a monthly column. Cannibal Corpse would enter Audio Hammer Studio in Sanford, Florida with Mark Lewis (Trivium, Deicide, Six Feet Under) producing a new album that spring. Bassist Alex Webster had a new recording with his Conquering Dystopia side-project. Cannibal Corpse singer George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher, Killswitch Engage guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz and former The Black Dahlia Murder drummer Shannon Lucas had a band called Times Of Grace which was recording in June of 2014. Voodoo Gods was a death metal project by African drummer Alex Voodoo. The band was releasing its full-length, Anticipation For Blood Leveled In Darkness, on July 28th. The CD featured contributions from former and current members of Cannibal Corpse, including George Corpsegrinder, Severe Torture and Virgin Snatch. It was mixed and mastered by Andy La Rocque at his Sonic Train Studios in Varberg, Sweden. Cannibal Corpse would release a new album, A Skeletal Domain, in September, 2014 through Metal Blade Records. A few track titles were Kill Or Become, Sadistic Embodiment and Headlong Into Carnage. Cannibal Corpse would also have an authorized biography that September. It was written by Joel McIver and called Bible Of Butchery - Cannibal Corpse: The Official Biography. Skeletal Domain debuted at #21 in the Canadian charts and #32 on Billboard's Top 200 chart, making it the highest charting record in the band's history. In the meantime, Dmitry Tsorionov, the spokesman for God's Will, a Russian religious movement, was asking that country’s authorities to ban planned concerts by Cannibal Corpse claiming the band violates Russia's anti-blasphemy law. Cannibal Corpse's October 5th concerts at Agave in Ufa, and October 11th in Moscow, Russia were cancelled a mere couple of hours before their start times by local authorities when the club was closed for "technical reasons." As a follow-up a minor Russian Republic joined Germany in banning the band’s lyrics for all the usual reasons. Cannibal Corpse and Behemoth would join forces beginning January 28th, 2015 in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA at the House Of Blues for a month-long winter tour. Cannibal Corpse, which spent the summer of 2015 touring Europe with stops at Hellfest, Wacken, Bloodstock, Brutal Assault, Party.San, Copenhell, Graspop, and numerous club shows, was part of a US tour that autumn with Cattle Decapitation and Soreption beginning October 8th, and running through November 7th. Jumping on the merchandising bandwagon, Cannibal Corpse was contracted by Three Floyds Brewing Company to produce the Amber Smashed Face beer. The title was a play on the band’s song Hammer Smashed Face. Cannibal Corpse would kick off 2016 with a month-long tour of North America in February with openers Obituary, as direct support, followed by Canada's Cryptopsy and Los Angeles' Abysmal Dawn. Cannibal Corpse was in Europe in April of 2016 with support from Krisiun and Hideous Divinity. Cannibal Corpse headlined 2016’s The Summer Slaughter Tour, beginning July 23rd. The tour also featured After The Burial, Nile, Suffocation, Krisiun and others. Cannibal Corpse would release a 2017 album, called Red Before Black, on November 3 through Metal Blade. It followed 2014’s A Skeletal Domain.
CANNIBAL CORPSE - THE WRETCHED SPAWN - METAL BLADE
Note: In order to combat bootlegging and advance internet availability Metal Blade has shipped the promotional version of Cannibal Corpse's The Wretched Spawn with what it calls 'audio interruption.' In other words, the label has saddled this CD with a series of beeps which act as interruption and static at random points. A reviewer, therefore, has to sit through several hours of annoying beeps in order to properly review this album.
This tactic is analogous to others used with increasing frequency by this and other labels to combat music piracy.
Metal Blade recently only shipped a three-song version of the latest King Diamond album. Smart outlets ignored that wee CD and the label eventually shipped a full version. Earache has shipped CDs with songs chopped into dozens of different tracks in order to combat digital propagation. Nuclear Blast has been known to fade out songs prematurely on promotional CDs and Osmose licensed anti-piracy technology for all its CDs. This latter trick soon ended when disc owners discovered the magic effects of magic markers.
To cut to the chase, record labels are pleading loss of revenue and war against internet piracy as the reason for their actions. Fair enough, after all all these claims are verifiable and the labels and bands are victims, right?
Let's take a closer look. First, annoying the media will not alleviate internet piracy. These are the same people mandated to take the label's message to the public. The recording industry needs more friends and less alienated members of the public. Second, it was the same industry that imposed the digital evolution upon the public. Anyone recalls the mass demonstrations and sit-ins against LPs and in favour of CDs by members of the public? No? That is because there were none. It was the industry that ensured its future losses by forcing the consumer off LP and onto the CD format. It admittedly had a good reason to do so. After all, shipping costs came down, the stores where happier with the increased storage and display room and many fans went out and repurchased titles they already owned on CD. The labels, consequently, sold the same consumer the same album twice and pocketed the money. The CD was also marked higher than the LP even though the manufacturing costs were not higher once mass acceptance had set in. In short, the labels initiated their own long-term misery, through higher margins in the short-term. The behaviour is analogous to cancer. The actions of the cells eventually brings about their own demise.
It is now 2003 and sales are down. The record labels are crying foul. CDs were meant to prompt fans to repurchase music, bring shipping costs down, improve inventory and supply chain and make the industry more money. Instead the labels and musicians feel they are being stolen from. This however is not the whole story. Many of the same labels are also profiteering from the great internet digital exchange. Take Sony for example. The record label might be losing some money to the internet, but it is making much back by selling mp3 players. Did they think the public won't notice? Time Warner is another conglomerate complaining about lower sales. No word whether its AOL or internet cable sub-divisions are seeing increased demand and subscriber numbers from fans needing internet access or ordering more expensive higher bandwidth options in order to accommodate down and uploading.
The next point requires a trip to 1982. The recording industry of that time was also in the doldrums. Music sales were down. A closer look at the spending habits of the music-buying public revealed that the money had shifted from buying music to the arcades. That's right, kids were taking their LP/MC money and were instead shooting asteroids. Twenty years later, it is easy to make a similar comparison. Some of the money that would have been spent on CDs is being spent on what the market currently deems hipper alternatives. What is it that has replaced buying music? One look around will tell any dispassionate observer that the answer includes the internet, gaming and movies. So who makes money from DVD sales, online chat, following Nemo on the big and small screen or PS2 sales? The same folk who are crying over lost music sales. In other words, the situation is not even as dire as the early 80's when a consumer drift had shifted the spending out of the domain of the recording industry. In contrast, the current shift in spending habits has only rotated the spending from one subsidiary of Sony, Warner or Universal to another i.e. from the music division to the movie or gaming sides.
The recording industry's case is weak enough that neither a discussion of the quality of much of the music released by the recording industry nor the devaluation of the music by industry-owned licensing schemes and music clubs is warranted. In fact, it is ludicrous that the labels came to the digital music exchange business dead last and after being forced to do so by entrepreneurial innovative enterprises like napster et al.
Hopefully point made and let us proceed with the Cannibal Corpse review which prompted the discussion in the first place.
So they do exist... death metal bands that do not wimp beep out. Cannibal Corpse is the proof.
The Wretched Spawn is Cannibal Corpse's tenth album beep and the music, the lyrics, the album's title and artwork indicate a band hell-bent on its original ideals, mission and power. The band changes the tempo from song to song, but somehow it all works. In fact, the band sounds more at ease with itself than ever. Be beep it a fast song, a slow song, a guitar solo or whatever, the death metal veterans come across as comfortable, confident and secure in their art. The Wretched Spawn beep does not leave room for much criticism, but if better songs have to be cited they would be Severed Head Stoning and Frantic Disembowelment beep. Then there is the frantic solo on the title track which simply rips. Another noteworthy mention goes to the production. Neil Kernon has bestowed the band with a warm and thick sound beep worthy of a death metal band. The beep drums, in particular, are heavy and full.
The Wretched Spawn is a potent offering. The beep band has given birth to an album that is beep sure to propel its stock even higher than before. - Ali "The Metallian"
CANNIBAL CORPSE - KILL - METAL BLADE
At first glance things don’t look too rosy for the latest Cannibal Corpse album, simply entitled Kill. While the album’s title and the band’s advance promise of an uncompromising album sounded hopeful, the generic album cover and the recruitment of Erik Rutan (with whom Cannibal bassist Alex Webster once shared a band) were hardly helpful. True to form Rutan’s production is not quite as hefty as that of previous albums, like The Wretched Spawn for instance, but Kill is still a brutal and authentic death metal experience. Cannibal Corpse is that rare and amazing death metal monster which refuses to compromise or be deterred. In fact, by now it is likely that the band’s previous naysayers who have been proselytised (or devoured).
On the musical front, Kill features little that is surprising or unexpected. Elements of the bands previous work are present throughout. George Fisher growls with confidence, the musicians behind him mix speed and heaviness and the lyrics show no inclination to play nice. In fact, with titles like Necrosadistic Warning and Purification By Fire (to choose two tracks with above average guitar work) the cannibals continue to offend with style. Balzac once observed that, “consistency (is) the most advanced form of strength.” That makes Cannibal Corpse the titans of the death metal scene. - Ali “The Metallian”
CANNIBAL CORPSE - EVISCERATION PLAGUE - METAL BLADE
Listening to Priests Of Sodom, the opener to death metal legends Cannibal Corpse's new album Evisceration Plague, I can't help feeling a little deja vu. When the song started and the blast beats and down-tuned riffs began, I got the exact same feeling as I got when I put on Kill, from 2006. And the same feeling I got when I listened to Butchered At Birth and Tomb Of The Mutilated, which are from back around 1993. Every time I put a Cannibal Corpse album on, I can't help wondering if I'm listening to something I haven't heard before, or if this is just a random song from another Cannibal Corpse album. Evisceration Plague sounds a lot like pretty much everything that these death metalheads have made, ever. But the funny thing is, this is still genuinely a pretty good album. If you like death metal, then this is a good album to get. Just don't expect anything in the way of innovation.
As I said, this is a good album, and a lot of that is from the overall tightness and heaviness of the band. Cannibal Corpse has perfected its style of extreme, straightforward death metal, and this album proves it. Listen to Shatter My Bones and To Decompose. Guitars crush through the speakers, Corpsegrinder Fisher spits out goretastic lyrics over extremely downtuned riffs as the drums pound in the background, and the overall effect is one of aural carnage. Cannibal Corpse has legitimately been the most brutal band in the world since Eaten Back To Life, and this album continues that tradition. Another high point is the title track, which features - gasp - songwriting! And the guitarists turned in an extremely good performance too, not just in the numerous great riffs but in solos on songs such as Priests Of Sodom and A Cauldron Of Hate, which stand out to a degree.
As for the lyrics, that's one thing I actually am not much of a fan of here. Cannibal Corpse still features incredibly violent lyrics (as well as cover art), but they have been turned down a notch, and I'm not a fan of that. Where's Entrails Ripped From A Virgin's Cunt? I Cum Blood? Force Fed Broken Glass? Necropedophile? I think that the outlandishly, cartoonishly gory lyrics had a bit of charm to them, and I think it was something that made Cannibal Corpse more interesting. The lyrics are still, as I said, incredibly violent and evil (Skewered From Ear To Eye), but definitely less so. It gave Cannibal Corpse a little more power, a little more humour, a little more evil to have the lyrics as vomit-inducing as they were, and the point of this band is excess. It would be better if they went back to that in the future.
Good as the album may be, Evisceration Plague does suffer a bit from same-sounding syndrome. Even though it's a short album (wise move there), it still does sound pretty repetitive by the end. Played straight through, you begin to get the feeling that the album has ended and you're listening to the beginning again. This isn't too much of a problem, but it's worth mentioning. It ensures that this album, although standing above most death metal, does not stand above any Cannibal Corpse.
And honestly, that's the thing I'm coming to. Evisceration Plague features no growth at all from past work by this band. It is repetitive, it is not original, and the musical maturation of this band could be reasonably charted with a long, flat line. But you know what?
I don't think Cannibal Corpse give a shit. And that's why this album gets a positive rating. Because what these guys do isn't art, it isn't painting, it's not Bach. This is death metal, damn it, and the point of death metal is to crack some skulls, and maybe rape a few corpses while you're at it. And looking at Evisceration Plague by itself, this album is absolutely better then the majority of the death metal bands trying to imitate these guys' albums from ten years ago. So no, Cannibal Corpse is not seriously an artistic band. But they were never serious artists! For their kind of metal, such puny things as change and evolution in their style are crushed by the stomping riffs of Scalding Hail.
And yes, if you like death metal and you don't already have a significant amount of Cannibal Corpse, I would say this is worth ten bucks -- not more then that, but ten. It's definitely worth trying out. So ultimately, this gets a positive review -- a low one, but a positive review. There's a certain coolness in Cannibal Corpse's complete refusal to be anything other then a death metal monster, and they are absolutely one of the kings of the death scene. They will never lighten up, never sell out, and will always remain the gory, vile, gnarly, kickass outfit that they always have been -- and from the looks of it, always will be. - Max V.
CANNIBAL CORPSE - EVISCERATION PLAGUE - METAL BLADE
Long running Florida (by way of Buffalo) death metal staple Cannibal Corpse finds itself alive and well in ’09, the group not only still touring regularly but also - like many other metal bands - selling records as never before (Evisceration Plague unbelievably debuted in the Top 100 in the US and in the Top 40 [!] in Canada) as a result of the metal renaissance of the '00s. My good buddy Mark and I have this theory that Cannibal Corpse is 'kindergarten death metal,' a relatively benign entry point to the death metal world that becomes kind of innocuous once proper exploration into the sub-genre occurs and, it must be reported, the theory continues partially unabated on Evisceration Plague. That said, there are indeed several strong songs to be found here: Scalding Hail is a record highlight as are Beheading And Burning, Carnivorous Swarm and Shattering Their Bones but, generally, Evisceration Plague is introductory material whose main draw is metal fans who know no other death metal band than Cannibal Corpse. Consider Evisceration Plague an above-average Cannibal Corpse effort, one that has flashes of greater bands but remains mired in its own self-imposed confines. - James Tape