Having formed almost 30 years ago, Cannibal Corpse have cemented their position in the bedrock of death metal. The somewhat morbidly named band are one of the most well-established on the death metal circuit, with the recently released Red Before Black being their 14th album, and over the course of this long career they have become the standard against which much of modern death metal is measured.
As with other bands in the genre, the band often touch upon dark and violent themes (and by often, I mean almost exclusively in this particular case) – in short, don’t go into this album expecting complex and profound lyrics, this is business as usual for Cannibal Corpse. This sentiment rings true on the aural side too, with the album getting off to an intense start in the form of ‘Only One Will Die’. The heavily distorted guitars hit you like a brick to the face, the drums pummel you from all sides, and the unrelenting vocals of George ‘Corpsegrinder’ Fisher likely strike fear into any uninitiated listeners. This is mostly true of the rest of the tracks on the album, with smidgens of respite being offered by the downtempo opening to ‘Code of the Slashers’ and the bass-dominated intro to ‘Scavenger Consuming Death’. Each of these offers about 15 seconds for you to breathe and prepare yourself for what is still to come.
However, even with these brief down-periods, there comes a point when the album just starts to feel monotonous. It might just be me, but it starts to feel like the music is blending together into one homogenous mush – a crushingly heavy mush – but a mush nonetheless. It is for this reason that I’d argue that if you’re not already a fan of death metal, this likely won’t convert you to the cause.
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