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Cannibal Corpse - Violence Unimagined Award winner

Cannibal Corpse
Violence Unimagined
by Chris Hawkins at 18 April 2021, 6:09 AM

A quarter century ago, one George Fisher, affectionately known as “Corpsegrinder,” took over lead vocals for the most notorious Death Metal band, CANNIBAL CORPSE.  While some at the time harbored doubts whether Fisher would be able to successfully lead the ship once helmed by Chris Barnes, CANNIBAL CORPSE never looked back.  In fact, the band grew stronger, more resolute, determined to absolutely crush all in their way.  Since then, the band released ten studio albums methodically developing their engrossing brutal rampage and have now released the devastating “Violence Unimagined”.

Most reading this will be familiar with the recent lineup changes within the band; therefore, there is no need to delve into the drama.  Suffice to say, CANNIBAL CORPSE have entered a new chapter enlisting the help of Erik Rutan, a lethal guitar player who earned his stripes with his work in RIPPING CORPSE, MORBID ANGEL, HATE ETERNAL, and his myriad production credits.  I will admit to a tiny bit of trepidation regarding this change just for the insanely complex riffs Rutan brews up.  All doubts, however, have been cast aside after listening to the album for Erick Rutan is actually a perfect fit for this band.

Not surprisingly, the album begins with an engineered, controlled chaos in the form of "Murderous Rampage" proving the band have lost none of their edge.  Listening to the music play out, the realization dawns of me that CANNIBAL CORPSE really is the sound of Death Metal, the blueprint.  Fisher’s vocals retain that guttural edge and girth while still exhibiting clarity for after all, savage lyrics are made much more so when understood.  At the 1:06 mark, a shift occurs with a busy, yet melodic riff that instills a solid groove that fits perfectly against the main riff when it changes back.  Of course, the third track, “Inhumane Harvest,” also the band’s first single, is yet another highlight with its maniacal main riff and abundance of crushing rhythms.  The slight pause between section throws one off on the first listen yet after a few spins, it is a seamless transition.

I will try to temper my excitement for this album with requisite objectivity despite the difficulty of doing so.  Simply put, this is the record we all need now.  When was the last time an album came out that was so slamming and chocked full of pulverizing riffs?  Death Metal is alive and well in 2021 and despite all the bands trying to emulate old school Death Metal, the originators prove they do it best.

The production on the album causes it to be immediately impressive to Metal fans.  The guitar tone is intact yet more aggressive and articulate.  When they hit those pounding palm-muted riffs, they move air in that live way.  Anyone who plays guitar or bass knows that sensation of standing in front of an amp on eleven only to have your clothing move from the impact of the speakers.  CANNIBAL CORPSE is more than a band that arranges riffs like a jigsaw puzzle.  Instead, the music benefits from a tight, efficient rhythm section in the form of Alex Webster on bass and Paul Mazurkiewicz on drums, both founding members of the band that unite to form an advantage that elevates this music to even new heights with their über-powered lineup.

Other tracks of note include the fifth, “Surround, Kill, Devour,” a frenetic song catapulted to new heights with a super chunky mid-section to elicit headbanging from even the most jaded old heads.  Following on its heels is “Ritual Annihilation” which features a main riff that mimics the sound of a call to war, a descent into the feral chaos of humanity.  Such ferocity illustrates that people have not come that far from their hunter-gatherer roots.  The breakdown toward the middle of the song is perhaps one of the most cathartic yet, but at the 2:10 mark, the band goes into a mosh-friendly section reminiscent of old school Thrash – the kind of riff that ramps up the circle pit into an unheard-of frenzy.  As the song winds down, it was impossible not to get a bit of an old MORBID ANGEL vibe, a fact certainly meant as a compliment.  The next song, “Follow the Blood” proves the is unafraid to slow things down and explore the wonder of infectious, consuming, monolithic riffs expanded upon by the nimble fingers of Alex Webster, perhaps the greatest bassist in all of Death Metal (or at least tied with Steve Digiorgio).

CANNIBAL CORPSE is back and “Violence Unimagined” is their strongest effort in quite some time.  Never a band to release an album out of obligation, it is plainly clear to see the depth of writing that took place in preparation for this release.  A viscerally pleasing, inciting record is the cure for the pent-up well of emotions facing people these days.  It really is a cause for celebration, a giant exhilarating, exhaling of aggression and frustration, and a masterful release, if not career-defining, that assuredly will remain one of my favorites for 2021!
 
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Murderous Rampage
2. Necrogenic Resurrection
3. Inhumane Harvest
4. Condemnation Contagion
5. Surround, Kill, Destroy
6. Ritual Annihilation
7. Follow the Blood
8. Bound and Burned
9. Slowly Sawn
10. Overtorture
11. Cerements of the Flayed
Lineup:
George Fisher - Vocals
Alex Webster – Bass
Paul Mazurkiewicz - Drums
Rob Barrett – Guitar
Erik Rutan – Guitar
Record Label: Metal Blade Records
     


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Edited 07 December 2022
 

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