Back with another album cover deemed unsuitable for public consumption, it’s nice to see death metal legends Cannibal Corpse still shocking the squeamish and easily offended. Having to replace controversial artwork with something a little more palatable had almost become a tradition at one time but the new record Violence Unimagined (Metal Blade) is the first time the band has actually been deemed worthy of censorship since 2012.
While the artwork by Vince Locke is a gleefully cartoonish bloodsoaked mess, the band remains as tight and resolute as ever. After producing five of their last six albums, Hate Eternal frontman Erik Rutan now not only rides the mixing desk but has also become Pat O’Brien‘s official full-time replacement. An absolute no-brainer of a decision and the band hasn’t missed a single beat.
Exploding with entrails and fury, opener ‘Murderous Rampage’ showers you with its visceral groove while ‘Necrogenic Resurrection’ switches between cacophonous speed and a lurching, sludgy crawl. The concussive couplet of ‘Inhumane Harvest’ and ‘Condemnation Contagion’ is pure pulverising ugliness, and ‘Surround, Kill, Devour’ opens with a riff that sounds like repeated sledgehammer blows to the head and gets less subtle from there.
‘Ritual Annihilation’ is like waking up underneath a mountain of intestines and trying to find your way out while ‘Follow the Blood’ is pure grinding savagery augmented by some smooth and adept bass work from Alex Webster. ‘Bound and Burned’ is a molten mass of riffs, groove, and whammy bar mayhem while ‘Slowly Sawn’ possesses a simple rhythmic brutality similar to ‘Stripped Raped and Strangled’ from 1994’s The Bleeding (Metal Blade) but quickly twists it into something more complex but no less sadistic. Penultimate cut ‘Overtorture’ is two and a half minutes of fairly self-explanatory extreme violence before the album closes with the creeping, murderous intent of ‘Cerements of the Flayed’.
Although light years away from anything you could remotely call commercial, Violence Unimagined still manages to contain its fair share of melody, most notably on the solos to ‘Inhumane Harvest’, ‘Follow the Blood’ and ‘Bound and Burned’, guitarists Rutan and Rob Barrett pushing each other to the max. Not to be outdone, drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz raises the bar again, putting pretenders half his age to shame while vocalist and walking neck George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher turns in another exemplary display of guttural throat-ripping carnage.
Some will probably argue that Cannibal Corpse is merely continuing to reinvent the wheel, but when the wheel is covered with spikes, wrapped in barbed wire, and crushes skulls into dust then that surely can’t be a bad thing.
Buy the album here: http://cannibalcorpse.net/
8 / 10