Released: 1999, Metal Blade Records
Reviewer: Nathan Robinson
Cannibal Corpse is one of the only long-standing death metal bands that have consistently released killer albums. They have sort of locked themselves in the brutal death metal style of music, with little room for exploring new territories in regards to musical style. But this is what the band loves, and this is what their fans want to hear! So you can rest assured that "Bloodthirst", Cannibal's seventh album, is another devastating stab to the throat!
Subject matter for this band has always centered on gore. "Bloodthirst" continues the tradition with songs like "Dead Human Collection", "Blowtorch Slaughter", and "Hacksaw Decapitation". Although the lyrics rarely present any new ideas, I do find them entertaining. This is due to how well they are formulated, and the versatility of the vocabulary used. And I cannot believe there was a time when I was disappointed with the departure of Chris Barnes, and when I refused to buy "Vile", the first album with ex-Monstrosity vocalist George Fisher. Because "Bloodthirst" just re-affirms the fact that George is a stronger vocalist than Chris. And this is the second album with ex-Nevermore guitarist Pat O'Brien. His addition to the band is probably the greatest move Cannibal Corpse has made. Not only are his skills exceptional, his songwriting tends to be a mixture of progressiveness and technicality, which in my opinion is always a plus for death metal. He has penned three tunes on the new album, and you can bet that they are some of the best ones! But that's not to say guitarist Jack Owen and bassist Alex Webster have let us down, because they sure as hell haven't! This album is loaded with intense, panicky, disturbing, and bludgeoning riffs, which could very well bring someone to a murderous rage! But even though the album is just chock full of great music and compositions, nothing really reaches out and grabs you by the nuts after the first few listens. This is due to the fact that "Bloodthirst" is the band's most technical output since "The Bleeding". Songs are full of riffs and tempo changes and challenges the listener. I love technical music, so this style is right up my alley. However, I find that the lead guitar work is too brief. For good effect, the leads need to be more drawn out, inspiring, and contain a little more feeling, as opposed to solely concentrating on speed and tremolo. And it would be interesting to hear drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz experiment with faster beats. And where is the instrumental? I was hoping the band was starting a new tradition in 1996. On "Vile" we had "Relentless Beating", and on "Gallery of Suicide" we had "From Skin to Liquid". Not that it is crucial, but an instrumental offers a change in pace, and variety, and allows the musicians to really shine through without being drowned-out by the vocalist. Besides, death metal instrumentals usually rule! Production on "Bloodthirst" was handled by Colin Richardson. So you can expect a very heavy sound. But I do prefer Jim Morris and Scott Burns over Colin when listening to Cannibal Corpse. The first few seconds of the opening track made me think I had on a Fear Factory album.
This album totally crushes most of the death metal albums out there. It is hard to say how this album compares to the band's catalog. It's solid in its own right, containing some of the band's greatest moments. But yet moments exist on past albums that the band will never surpass (I am still partial towards the entire "Butchered at Birth" album). In fact, there are parts on "Bloodthirst" that remind me of previous albums, even as far back as 1990's "Eaten Back to Life", which is a nice feeling. Overall, no Cannibal Corpse fan should be without this album. And people new to the band would be doing no wrong using this album as an introduction.
And once again, the album has been censored. So there are two versions available with different artwork. Looking at the artwork for the uncensored version, I see no reason for censorship. How can this album cover be offensive in this day and age? Also, the Japanese version of this CD contains a bonus track: a cover of Possessed's "Confessions". What is particularly interesting about this song is that George's vocals reside somewhere between his typical low growl and his higher screeching.