Monday 26 April 2021

Cannibal Corpse - Violence Unimagined (2021)

Country: USA
Style: Death Metal
Rating: 7/10
Release Date: 16 Apr 2021
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Cannibal Corpse have to be the hardest band to review in 2021. I mean, they are what they are and it's pretty much all you need to know. They're called Cannibal Corpse. You can see the cover art above. If you've never heard them before, that's pretty much all you need to know. Their brand of death metal is just as over the top and as uncompromising as their name and their art and they've been doing this for a very long time now, long enough that I believe this is their fourteenth studio album. While they weren't the first and they aren't the best, Cannibal Corpse really are the very definition of American death metal nowadays. Look it up in the OED. It'll have a picture of this album.

For those actually wanting a review from me here, what that means to me is that they play fast, heavy music with technical precision and an attitude of utter non-compromise turned up to eleven. They also do this really well. The musicians are incredibly tight and vocalist George Fischer has exactly the right shade of deep shouty growl for the material, guttural but inherently rhythmic because he never aims for intonation or storytelling. Maybe he raises pitch at the end of a verse for emphasis, but that's it. It isn't meant to be anything more than it advertises. It's music to immerse yourself in and shut out the world, because the world doesn't want to know. This album is a forty-three minute primal scream.

The downside for me is that I moved on from this sort of death metal about forty years ago. It was an extreme twist after thrash metal and I loved my time seeing bands like Autopsy and Obituary live, but that was 1990. It ceased to be extreme for me and I moved on to more inventive music. Now, if I was in a club right now and Cannibal Corpse got on stage, I'd head down the front to police the pit and revel in the raw and primal purge of the experience. But I'd probably buy the support band's album instead of this, because they were more interesting. I've listened to this album three times now and I couldn't tell any of the songs apart. They all do the same thing in much the same way. They do it well, but they also do it over and over again. I might have been listening to the same song for two hours.

My problem is that the last paragraph seems to tell you that I think this sucks and it doesn't. This band is very good at what it does and, if you're into this particular brand of death metal, you're going to be happy to hear this album. It won't disappoint you in the slightest. But remember, while it plays exactly like what it advertises, it's only what it advertises and absolutely nothing else. If you want a subtlety in your death metal, you won't find it here. If you like your death on the progressive side, with variety and unusual and interesting passages of music, this isn't just not it, it will never be it.

I'll happily give this a 7/10. It's impressive technically. It's ruthlessly uncompromising. And somehow it never gets boring, even though it refuses to shift an iota from its formula. It's a good album for what it is. But the only surprise you'll find is me telling you that the band save up quarters as they tour the country so that George Fisher, who goes by Corpsegrinder, can win soft toys out of every claw machine he can find and give them to children's charities. And that's the gospel truth. Respect.

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