Released: 2009, Metal Blade Records
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
Do you really need an incentive to listen to the new Cannibal Corpse record? No, of course not – but it doesn’t hurt that the band’s 11th full length studio release, EVISCERATION PLAGUE is an amazing, career defining record for the band. I’ll admit that for a while there, I’d all but given up on “the Corpse.” Up until 2006’s phenomenal KILL, the band’s recent releases had left me feeling despondently “meh.’ Sure, they were fast and brutal, but so were a bunch of other bands that were coming up in the scene. KILL combined the band’s patented brutality with the maturity that comes from being death metal’s elder statesmen and showed audiences everywhere why they are the icons for the whole genre.
EVISCERATION PLAGUE not only surpasses the standard that its predecessor set, it hacks that standard into bloody chunks with a rusty machete wielded by a disemboweled zombie. Do you see where I’m going with this? EVISCERATION PLAGUE is at the same time both characteristically and uncharacteristically “Corpse.” The band has stepped up their game both in the songwriting and complexity departments, adding new elements and ideas that up until now hadn’t really been explored much. But the album is immediately identifiable as Cannibal Corpse. Songs about dismemberment, bone crushing, bloodletting, and more dismemberment – there’s no cause for concern, it’s all covered here. The first three songs on the disc should be enough to merit adding this to your collection. “Priests of Sodom” opens with a main riff that has a serious groove to it (gasp!) that will stick in your head for days, while “Scalding Hail presses the accelerator well past the speed limit and is over before you can breathe. “To Decompose” mixes the fast, mid-tempo, and slow in a pot of boiling human stew goodness. The title track is the most consistently mid-tempo track out of the 12, but its slow, chugging heaviness makes it completely effective and a true standout. “Skewered from Ear to Ear” has some great rolling riffs and closes the disc in a flurry of soloing and shredding. The guitar team of Rob Barrett and Pat O’Brien are exceptionally talented axe men independently, but have rarely sounded as tight as a team as they do here.
The album itself sounds incredible, with much of the credit due to producer Erik Rutan (a death metal luminary in his own right). The mix is perfect – the guitars are crisp and buzz saw sharp and Alex Webster’s bass sounds clean while managing to stay in the background. Vocalist George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher is the star of the show, sounding front and center. He delivers the goods with his blend of pronounced guttural utterings, pained shrieks and wailing death throes. Chris who?
Cannibal Corpse is an anomaly in music world. Name another death metal band that’s sold over a million albums, been the whipping boy for the Republican Party and shared the big screen with Ace Ventura - My point exactly. If there are any complaints about EVISCERATION PLAGUE, it’s that the album is over too quickly. Let’s face it; you’re going to check this out regardless of whatever I recommend anyway. But hey – getting the opportunity to review the album gives me a reason to listen to it one more time. This is death metal at it’s finest.