Released: 1998, Metal Blade Records
Editors Note: Metal-Rules.com was founded in 1995 as a forward thinking site. Our goal is, and always has been, to support Real Metal. The decision was made that very rarely do we ever go back and review an album from before 1995. Does the world really need another CD review of Master Of Puppets, Powerslave or Screaming For Vengeance? We don’t think so. We have always supported what is happening now.
Starting in January, 2014, as we head towards the 20th Anniversary of Metal-Rules.com, we are looking back and filling in a few gaps in the review database. We want to complete the post-1995 review catalogue of some of the bands that we have supported since 1995, when very few, if any website were supporting real Metal. It’s fun to go back and revisit some of these albums that we did not review when they were first released. Enjoy!
Despite many people viewing me as a Power Metal guy, I actually listen to enjoy and own a massive amount of Death and Black Metal. I had not yet written a Cannibal Corpse review for Metal-Rules, as often other writers jump at the chance to talk about the new albums. So, as I was going back through the database I noticed no one had reviewed GALLERY OF SUICIDE when it came out back in the early days of the website, so I thought I would plug that gaping wound in their list of reviews.
As Cannibal Corpse reach their 10th anniversary they, still quite comfortably at home on Metal Blade Records, released their sixth album. There was not too much evolution at this point as the band hired Vincent Locke again to do the cover art and again recorded in Morrisound studio in Florida. The sound is clinically perfect Cannibal Corpse.
The album art was a bit of a change, as the first five or so albums had a roughly zombie theme, but GALLERY OF SUICIDE had a bit of a nastier edge. The cover art of first five albums, while brutal, disgusting, notorious and brilliant etc, were a bit…not cartoony, (that’s not the right term) but based in fantasy. Let’s face it. Zombies aren’t real. However, on the cover of GALLERY OF SUICIDE, Locke crosses the line ever so slightly from fantasy to within the realm of possibility. Although Zombies aren’t real (yet!) there ‘could’ be some sort of hideous prison or cell, a gallery of suicide if you will, where insane people go to mutilate and kill themselves. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about the zombies, but this one stayed with me a bit longer thinking…what if? Think about it, in horror moves you can see people get eaten by zombies all the time, but to see a scene of self-mutilation, graphically depicted is much less common.
The most obvious non-cosmetic change is the addition of Pat O’Brien on guitar. Pat is a bit of a guitar chameleon having played with guitar hero Chastain and Power Metal band Nevermore and some critics say he is the most technically talented member of the band. I’m not a guitar player, so I can’t judge! At this point the band is not necessarily on auto-pilot but they know what is expected of them and are seasoned veterans by this point. George has settled in as vocalist, now three albums deep and people have accepted the defection of Chris Barnes.
The album starts out with a strong statement of intent, both musically and lyrically called ‘I Will Kill You’, getting right to the point. I suppose we can’t have a Cannibal Corpse review without talking about the lyrics, so for the record some of my favourite song titles and lyrics. I feel the best ones are the ones that are just blunt and too the point. Lots of bands like Carcass have really wordy song-titles and lyrics but songs on GALLERY like ‘Headless’ and ‘Stabbed In The Throat’ don’t need much interpretation or a medical dictionary. One of my all time favourites is ‘Every Bone Broken’. Can you imagine? I always chuckle and picture a guy who has been hit by a dumptruck and is in hospital in one of those full-on, white bodycasts, every bone broken, with his arms and legs sticking out and suspended. A classic comedy routine. Of course the song lyrics have nothing to do with that but you get the point.
The album is relentless, brutal, grinding Death Metal that takes no prisoners. Corpsegrinder is low and guttural, barking his vocals out with throat shredding intensity and the riffs fly around like body parts in a woodchipper. It’s classic US Death Metal, what more needs to be said? GALLERY OF SUICIDE also features the short and not so sweet cut, ‘Disposal Of The Body’ that, for a time was played as a live encore in conjunction with ‘Buried In The Backyard’ as a sort of (unholy) duo of ‘hide the body’ songs to close out the show.
Many people consider this to be the bands weakest album. I have a hard time to accept that, there are such subtle differences in sound and song-writing and it is difficult with a band of such consistently high quality as Cannibal Corpse, it is hard to say any one album is dramatically better or worse. It’s not as if a Death Metal fan is going to own every Cannibal Corpse album EXCEPT this one because it is so bad, that is just not the case. Everyone picks favourites when a catalogue gets so deep, but GALLERY OF SUICDE is another in a long line of essential Death Metal albums from the #1 Death Metal band on the planet.