There is no doubt that Cannibal Corpse are veterans of Death Metal and since the 80s the Buffalo based band have continued to produce technical and aggressive tracks with a distinctive sound and presence.
With 12 classic full length albums under their belt, a huge fan base and a reputation for intense live shows they have set a high standard for themselves and one does wonder, what can they possible do now to top all that?
Torture was their last release in 2012 which continued to prove that the overall vision of the band is still ripe.
Any new release by a band with a large fan base is met with a mix of excitement and anxiety and for me this review is no exception, a lot can happen in two years. From speaking to Paul back in 2012 while they were on their Torture tour I could see how driven these guys are and how much they put into everything they do in this band.
I am sure I will not be disappointed.
The first track is titled High Velocity Impact Spatter.
A disturbing wailing sound bite introduces the album, as if entering a portal of unimaginable horror. The distinctive CC guitar sound kicks in and there is a reassuring feeling that this is going to be a new and intense ride. George’s incredibly powerful vocals rip into the fray layering with unnerving guitars and drum beats creating a tense and adrenalized experience. Hints of groove are teasingly placed without. This defiantly has a feel of the older CC classical albums; while it is brilliantly produced there is a definite element of rawness which works extremely well. Very impressive, but I am still waiting for the inevitable golden nugget of aggressive groove.
Sadistic Embodiment is next and it starts off with a ripping guitar solo. The bass really comes through in this one which adds to the overall adrenalized panic. George’s vocals articulate the title of the track in his usual style, emphasising the meaning of each individual word.
Offft there it is! The beginning riff of Kill or Become. THIS is one of the reasons why I love this band, shit stomping, intense groove. The bass sound is truly insane. The question and answer session that beings at 1.24 between the vocals and the guitar is genius. Love the way George vocalises the title of the track here, such groove! “Fire up the chain saw, hack their fucking heads off” I can hear ripping through there. CC have this magical ability to make you smile at their lyrics, which could easily be taken as slightly humorous but the conviction in the way it is screamed you believe every word, and the smile is a smile with an evil glint behind it. You are completely sucked in.
The big one now, the title track. This track is built up by extended chords and solid drumming. This track has a slightly different feel to it somehow. This shit just got serious. “The kingdom of the damned!” I cannot wait to see this one live. The guitar harmonies at 2.40 are just incredible. A piercing guitar solo then layers over the mayhem and the vocals kick back in.
Headlong into Carnage starts off with a driving drum beat. If I am honest I am still waiting for the CC groove moment. YES! 1.24 one of George’s famous screams and groove, groove, groove. More please.
Holy fucking shit. The Murderer’s Pact. Sorry I have to go back to that a few more times… What a riff! I am running out of words to describe what is going on here. Technically insane, this is a riff that will stick in your head. What an introduction to a track, head bleeding stuff. George’s vocals over the top of the same riff later on 0.46 just, ahhhhhh! “desperatioooon” My favourite of the track of the album so far. OOOOFT 2.59 yess! That is Cannibal Corpse right there, chunky, groovy riff an ass kicking solo followed by frantic vocals and the whole track eventually fades out.
I am quite happy now.
Funeral Cremation is track seven. Starts off with a sound bite and fading in distorted guitar. Jesus Christ. Blast beats galore and atmospheric guitar, this is extremely dark. A solid drum beat kicks in with the vocals and the track picks up the pace into a frenzy of interlacing sounds and pure gems of genius. 2.14 George’s vocals married with the drums here and then the original atmospheric riff and blast beats come back in, AND a guitar solo. Brilliance.
Icepick Lobotomy is next, great title. Enjoying the slow, chunky guitar section 33 seconds in. After a period of overwhelming speed the track slows down to a heart paced drum beat and a build-up which leaves you sitting on the edge of your seat. 1.50 we are rewarded OFFFTT! Just when you thought it couldn’t get any more groovy! 2.02.
Vector of Cruelty also starts off slightly slower but with a promise of good things to come. Again from the off it is packed with great riffs from both guitar and bass all held together by Paul’s solid drums and topped by George’s voice. 1.51 another slow, chunky section. George’s vocals really communicate a sense of absolute hatred and revulsion few others can do.
Track ten is another pacey start which continues and merges with hints of solid riffing. 3.00! George masters the ability to emphasis a few lyrics that you know will automatically be the ones you scream the loudest when you see them live.
The second last track is Asphyxiate to Resuscitate, great name. This track has a solid feel to it with plenty of chunk. The track is quickly driven on again at 1.37 and laced with sludgy riffs.
Hollowed Bodies is the last track of the album. After a few bars of frenzied guitar riffing and blast beats the track settles to comfortable pacing. At 0.33 the guitars and drums marry to give a fist stomping groove. 1.33 demonstrates another section of groove. George’s unrelenting vocals scream out the title of the track before a climax solo and the track abruptly ends.
Now it is my job to try and sum up that experience in one paragraph. For me Cannibal Corpse stands for intense, head banging groove with a unique sound and distinctive vocals. It is impossible to mistake them for anyone else. This album is no exception. Littered with moments of genius it delivers everything it is meant to. For me it doesn’t have the same amount of groove as Kill, but has gone back to an older rawness. The way the band writes songs really comes across in this album, you can hear the inner workings and conversations going on between each element to create an overall expression of inspiration and release. For me it will take a few more listens of A Skeletal Domain be able to decide where it fits in the collection, but it is firmly in the family and soon will become another classic on CCs unrelenting conquering of the world.
1. High Velocity Impact Splatter
2. Sadistic Embodiment
3. Kill or Become
4. A Skeletal Domain
5. Headlong into Carnage
6. The Murderer’s Pact
7. Funeral Cremation
8. Icepick Lobotomy
9. Vector of Cruelty
10. Blood Stained Cement
11. Asphyxiate to Resuscitate
12. Hallowed Bodies
George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher – Vocals
Rob Barrett – Guitar
Pat O’Brien – Guitar
Alex Webster – Bass
Paul Mazurkiewicz – Drums