Cannibal Corpse – “Violence Unimagined” (Metal Blade Records)
Battle Helm Rating
Unbelievable. If the title and album cover are anything to go by, then Cannibal Corpse must be the last US death metal band standing originating in late 80s. With over 30 years delivering their old school blood ‘n’ guts brutality, this 15th release proves they still reign supreme as headliners with legions of crazed fans around the globe! Uncompromising in their style, the band have refined their winning formula over each record, distilling the essence of death metal into a pure nectar delivered through ever increasing levels of musical excellence. As such, the arrival of new guitarist Erik Rutan will only excel this even further. A long-established name in the scene, Rutan’s accomplishments include his role in Morbid Angel as well as fronting his own band, Hate Eternal, while not forgetting his reputation as being one of the most sought-after producers, working on 4 prior Cannibal Corpse albums alongside the likes of Goatwhore, Soilent Green and Belphegor. Needless to say, “Violence Unimagined” has also been produced by Rutan at his base at Mana Recording Studio in Florida, while confidence in him is such that Cannibal Corpse have incorporated 3 of his songs into this record. Going beyond his composing contributions, Rutan has added an undoubted technicality to the music not dissimilar to that employed in Hate Eternal, which I have to say has only added to the band’s arsenal, which for their behalf, has seen them push themselves too, especially in the unbelievably intense drum work of Paul Mazurkiewicz! Opening with profanities abound on ‘Murderous Rampage’, the shredding riffs of Rob Barrett and Rutan scythe and slice cruelly together and breaking to perfection as Alex Webster’s pumping bass propels the groove over which George ‘Corpsegrinder’ Fisher regurgitates his guttural splendour. Going a bit Slayer on ‘Necrogenic Resurrection’, the guitars simply roar all over this song as Fisher barks his lines in rapid fire succession à la Tom Araya while the band’s use of alternating tempos is excellent, along with a generous serving of old school tremolo wailing solos bringing back all the memories for me! Chundering in viciously on ‘Inhumane Harvest’ to Mazurkiewicz’s frantic snare beat, the slow grinding passages only serve to add even more menace to the song’s atmosphere made even more ominous thanks to Fisher’s bestial drawls, while Rutan’s exotic solo work really adds some finesse into the furnace at hand. Hammering out on ‘Overtorture’, Mazurkiewicz sets a blistering pace over which the guitars chainsaw away while adding melodic touches to Fisher’s bark blast as the band hit a home run on this all-out headbanger. Ending in the creeping death of ‘Cerements Of The Flayed’, the guitars hack and rumble as Mazurkiewicz explodes his percussive prowess to the catchy, if very ugly groove while Fisher’s slickly arranged cookie monster vocals could almost be (dare I say it) rap like in bringing to a close another winning sledgehammer of a release that the drummer would sum up as ‘…what the band is about in every facet, and taking violence to another level of extremity…’. Nuff Said.