Cannibal Corpse – “A Skeletal Domain” (Metal Blade Records)
The beast is back. Now onto their bad luck 13th album no less, “A Skeletal Domain” sees world premiere death metal band Cannibal Corpse move into the torture, sado metal that was hitherto the domain of their ex vocalist, the visceral Chris Barnes. Now that he has moved into a somewhat more technical direction, these Buffalo natives who have long been the backbone of US Death Metal haven’t been slow to move to satiate the bloodlust of fans the world over. Sure, these guys have always been associated with gore and opener ‘High Velocity Impact Splatter’ certainly says it all, but listen to ‘Kill Or Become’ and a dark, eerie feel soon becomes evident as George ‘Corpsegrinder’ Fisher’s guttural roaring vocals torment you to ‘…fire up the chainsaw..’ whilst on ‘The Murderer’s Pact’ he wails in anguish ‘..is there no way out..?’. With more high screaming, the violence in his voice has been vividly captured in the predatory material here. Whilst their savagery can be taken for granted – 26 years of bludgeoning brutality has seen to that – Cannibal Corpse have in their maturity evolved into better musicians and song writers without feeling any need to change their core death metal sound – and full credit to them as one of the last original purveyors of gore metal. As a consequence the music these days now sensibly includes plenty of catchy hooks n grooves, and dark melodies in the soloing taking on insane proportions along with wailing tremolos a plenty especially in Pat O’Brien’s guitar work – definitely a man heading into Rick Rozz neo-classical territory. Still open to blast beating like on ‘Blood Stained Cement’, Cannibal Corpse are equally confident to be crushingly slow like on the excellent title track where the unhurried, reverberating guitars add the extra horror dimension amidst OG members Alex Webster’s sophisticated bass runs and Paul Mazurkiewicz’s drumming who’s hitting so hard n fast he could be hammering his way into hell! Older, wiser, but as malevolent as ever before, “A Skeletal Domain” is something diabolical!