The “Mountain” and Prince Oberyn are fighting to the death and you witness Oberyn’s crazy kick spins. By kicking all kinds of ass, he finally cuts the Mountain down and you see a fallen and (supposedly) dying opponent. But suddenly, you find yourself staring, open-jawed, as the “Mountain” suddenly pulls Oberyn to the floor, then gouges out his eyes before crushing Oberyn’s skull with his fists… Well, Cannibal Corpse‘s highly anticipated thirteenth studio album A Skeletal Domain is similar, in the sense that it’s straight-up, skull-shattering death metal, at its best. You can tell from the instance that this is Corpse.
Cannibal Corpse are usually consistently reliable in their style, although I swear their latest offering seems a little more technical during parts, but of course they don’t stray too far from the brutal, speed, death metal that we know and love. You can hear this change in the opening track “High Velocity Impact Spatter”. OK, it’s not a huge, breath-taking difference and it still sounds like Corpse, but with astonishingly energetic finger-acrobatics. It sounds good and it works well. “High Velocity Impact Spatter” bludgeons the listener as George ‘Corpsegrinder’ Fisher’s memorable guttural vocals, Rob and Pat’s fast, beefy, technical riffs, Alex’s groove ridden bass lines and Paul’s unstoppable double-kicks combine to create an ear-shattering opener.
No offense to Erik Rutan (from Hate Eternal) who produced the previous three releases, but Mark Lewis has delivered a cleaner, more powerful production that allows the listener to really hear the instrument, riff or beat throughout each song. This is a great improvement. For example, “Sadistic Embodiment”, really showcases Alex Webster’s quick, technical and groovy bass lines, that are so clear you can feel the assault to the eardrums. In this instance, Corpse have created a track that’s catchy without sacrificing any of the brutality. Similarly, ‘Kill or Become’ has an excellent riff to chorus combination that delivers heavy, chunky guitar riffs, and powerful solid drum blasts and will get you banging that head and tapping both your feet, trying to keep up with the double-kicks.
A Skeletal Domain features many good songs, and is an all-round excellent album, in particular there are several tracks that have grabbed my attention. “Skeletal Domain” is littered with speedy guitar riffs, sludgy chords, technical solos and never ending drumming… I mean seriously, Paul Mazurkiewicz just doesn’t take a break. Tracks such as “Headlong into Carnage”, “The Murderer’s Pact” and “Icepick Lobotomy” offer us death metal at its purest. These songs feature less solos, unrelenting guitar riffs and presents a cleaner, crisper Cannibal Corpse, which will surely leave you bruised and bloody in a live setting.
“Asphyxiate to Resuscitate” and “Hollowed Bodies” bring the album to its finale but not before they jump you, drag you down a dark alley and then repeatedly kick the shit out of you. While “Asphyxiate to Resuscitate” offers us another catchy section it still contains their classic death metal sound. The callous vocals and break-neck drums accompany the catchy riffs to create a memorable, yet a subtle thrash sound. “Hallowed Bodies” on the other hand, is just fast, angry and is delivered with power. Deep gutturals, solid drumming, heavy-as-fuck guitar and bass riffs create a sound that will surely get your feet stomping, if they’re not already, and give you that notion to run amok in the pit, punching people as you go by.
Despite the superstition surrounding the unlucky13, A Skeletal Domain has proven that this is not the case, and may even result in some giant steps forward for Cannibal Corpse. These guys have been releasing album after album that are still as good as their 90s best, and A Skeletal Domain is no exception – if not a bar raiser. This is a great addition to the Corpse discography and will certainly not disappoint death metal fans. This is an absolute must have.
Released 16th September 2014 via Metal Blade Records
George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher – Vocals
Rob Barrett – Guitar
Pat O’Brien – Guitar
Alex Webster – Bass
Paul Mazurkiewicz – Drums
1. High Velocity Impact Spatter
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. Bloodstained Cement
11. Asphyxiate to Resuscitate
12. Hollowed Bodies