Thursday, September 28, 2023

Full Length Review: Cannibal Corpse "Chaos Horrific" (Metal Blade) by Dave Wolff

Country: USA
Genre: Death metal
Full length: Chaos Horrific
Format: Cassette (limited to 500 copies), vinyl, digipack CD, deluxe box set
Release date: September 22, 2023
It goes without saying that Cannibal Corpse have been there from the start. A new, revolutionary sound was born when the first death metal bands developed their sound from eighties thrash. After the emergence of Death and Sepultura, it was a DIY situation in which bands had to make a name for themselves without social media, recording low-fi demos and advertising by word of mouth.
It was difficult for many to take this new genre seriously because only a few producers knew how to handle it in the recording studio. Only a few recognized the passion and latent potential of the bands so they supported it through the adverse circumstances it faced. Through their lyrics and cover art, Cannibal Corpse reflected people's deepest mortal trepidations from the Chris Barnes to George Corpsegrinder eras, and attracted the attention of everyone from Jim Carrey to Joseph Lieberman.
With each album a new approach to brutal music was introduced, and this recommences with "Chaos Horrific" released a few days ago. The band themselves seem surprised by how long they have managed to keep going through more than three decades, but their resourcefulness and resolve as serious musicians has expanded as they explore new musical and lyrical terrain.
Cannibal Corpse maintain their undisguised horror-laden, gore-soaked style without overproducing it; this has been reformulated so often it can't be duplicated. While "Chaos Horrific" is not as reliant on blast beats, the production by guitarist Erik Rutan is impeccable, possibly the best production I've heard on a DM recording in years. Each instrument is spotless, and the counterpoise between them is well maintained. Maybe even a little more than their previous release “Violence Unimagined”.
In succeeding long-time guitarist Pat O'Brien, Rutan brings new energy to their writing working alongside Rob Barrett, fueled by experience with Hate Eternal and Morbid Angel. Customarily intractable and murderous, the songs exhibit impressions of storytelling with calculated patience. The rhythm section of Alex Webster and Paul Mazurkiewicz add much depth to thrash elements reminiscent of Possessed, Kreator, Sodom and Death with the traditional death metal shades of past albums.
There is a maturity manifested in the changes in time, the breakdowns, and the harmonies, while many riffs and guitar solos add a preternatural air of surreality I remember hearing from albums released by Morbid Angel, Nocturnus and Immolation. Refer to “Drain You Empty” to see what I mean. In a way, it reminds me of my experiences as a first-time reviewer.
As for Corpsegrinder, he exhibits a clear ability to articulate while projecting brutal vocals directly from his vitals. The lyrical content is an important example of Cannibal Corpse's refinement. In "Vengeful Invasion," for example, victims of human trafficking retaliate against their captors, depicted in their distinctive phrasing: "Abducted as a child through human trafficking/Innocence defiled throughout captivity/Years of torment, never ending agony/Bringing forth a plan to make an escape/To execute the ultimate reprisal".
To date there are three promotional videos for "Chaos Horrific" and a deluxe box set is available from Metal Blade Records (see Earsplit PR for more information on this). It’s pricey, but not too much so, and I’ve read it’s worth it. –Dave Wolff

George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher: Vocals
Rob Barrett: Guitar
Erik Rutan: Guitar
Alex Webster: Bass
Paul Mazurkiewicz: Drums

Track list:
1. Overlords of Violence
2. Frenzied Feeding
3. Summoned for Sacrifice
4. Blood Blind
5. Vengeful Invasion
6. Chaos Horrific
7. Fracture and Refracture
8. Pitchfork Impalement
9. Pestilential Rictus
10. Drain You Empty

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