Released: 2005, Prosthetic Records
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
After 2003’s HORROR didn’t quite measure up to expectations, Boston’s Cannae did some house-cleaning with guitarist Jason Zucco, bassist Daniel Campanella and drummer Michael Boutillette all exiting the band soon after the album's release. Fast forward to 2005 and we see a re-tooled sound and three new members, including ex-Capharnaum six-stringer Alex Vieira, rounding out the band on GOLD BECOMES SACRIFICE. HORROR was a by-the-numbers metalcore album that was too generic to stand out but the band hit the books, adding solos and more intricate songwriting that focus more on the “metal” than the “core.” Comparisons to Lamb of God or All Shall Perish would not be far off with solid drumming, crushing riffs and abrasive vocals being the name of the game. Like Chimaira or Himsa, the metamorphosis between two albums is substantial and should put major emphasis on Cannae as a force to be reckoned with on the American metal scene.
The jackhammer drum intro to “Rats, Snakes and Thieves” paves the way for a sphincter-releasing bass line by Shane Frisby (the band’s former tour manager!) amounting to an extremely heavy track. Alex Vieira’s solo is reminiscent of a Kirk Hammett classic with a soaring, whammy-bar driven pitch and diving conclusion. Because of Vieira’s late induction into the band, much of the guitar on the album was played by rhythm guitarist Stephen Colombo and drummer Colin Conway but Vieira makes his presence known where it counts with solos fluidly inserted into several tracks. Making guest appearances are James Murphy (“Bastinado”) and producer Jason Suecof (“Acts of False Signals”), both of whom inject their solos with such flawless panache that the fretboard worshippers will be giddy with delight. The bass of Frisby is placed effectively in the mix and really jostles the listener’s teeth from beginning to end. A groove-metal fan will find the rhythm section of Frisby and Conway irresistible on tracks like “Indemnity,” “Mechanics of Moving Backwards” and “Fear and Panic” with thick, chunky blasts of bottom end and double kick galore. Adam DuLong’s vocals never waver from a harsh roar. Clean vocals? I don’t think so! DuLong maintains his cojones and follows in the footsteps of such luminary metal bellowers as Suffocation’s Frank Mullen but with a touch of modern flourish, not unlike that of a less-spastic Trevor Strnad. While heaviness is prevalent, the instrumental “Collapse” is a bit of a breather at the midway point and provides a welcome shakeup to the proceedings.
In a wise move, Cannae ditched the hardcore shtick of HORROR and went full-bore modern thrash metal on GOLD BECOMES SACRIFICE. Like Chimaira’s shift from the nu-metal generic bin on PASS OUT OF EXISTENCE to the groove metal battery on THE IMPOSSIBILITY OF REASON, the members of Cannae have given themselves a leg up on the wave of metalcore flunkies burrowing out of the woodwork. The new lineup leaves the old one in the dust musically and matured songs show a band that is in this for the long haul rather than to make a quick buck as bandwagon-jumpers. Yes, the dual guitars are there and melodies are present but this collection of songs draws its inspiration more from Bay Area pioneers like Exodus and European bands like Darkane than the ubiquitous At The Gates. Original it is not, but GOLD BECOMES SACRIFICE jiggers Cannae’s influences enough to unleash a bloodthirsty run at the jugular that will appease fans of just every genre of metal.
KILLER KUTS: “Rats, Snakes and Thieves,” “Marked By Monuments,” “Mechanics of Moving Backwards,” “Acts of False Signals,” “Fear and Panic”