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.
Remember when Roadrunner Records had the hardest hitting metal roster and a slew of death metal classics to back it up? Mortuous remembers. Mortuous remembers it so vividly that they’ve recorded their debut album Through Wilderness (Tankcrimes) and crammed it full of some of those seminal Death Metal sounds. Not unlike Gruesome, Mortuous pays homage and respects its elders, but it never comes across as re-warmed leftovers. Continue reading →
Hold on to your intestines. Buffalo’s finest (via Florida), Cannibal Corpse, are back to shred your organs, peel your skin, and violate your ears in the vilest, sickest ways possible with new album Red Before Black.Continue reading →
Cannibal Corpsehas booked a European tour with Krisiun and Hideous Divinity as support acts. Cannibal Corpse is still supporting their 2014 release A Skeletal Domain, which was released on Metal Blade.
Alex Webster commented on the tour:
“We’re psyched to be heading back to Europe for the final leg of the “A Skeletal Domain” tour with such a crushing lineup of bands. Everyone knows the level of brutality our friends Krisiun can deliver, and they’ll soon see what Hideous Divinity are capable of, too. We can’t wait to get this 3-band death metal bulldozer rolling- Europe, be ready!”
Alex Webster of Cannibal Corpse, by Hillarie Jason
EMP, Metal Hammer, Musix presents Cannibal Corpse, Krisiun and Hideous Divinity
Apr 15: Roxy – Flensburg, DE Apr 16: Vega – Copenhagen, DK Apr 17: Sentralen -Oslo, NO Apr 18: Sticky Fingers – Gothenburg, SE Apr 19: Klubben -Stockholm, SE Apr 21: Nosturi – Helsinki, FL Apr 22: Tapper- Tallinn, EE Apr 23: Melna Piektdiena- Riga, LV Apr 24: Loftas – Vilnius, LT Apr 25: Proxima – Warsaw , PL Apr 26: Blue Note- Poznan , PL Apr 27: Meet Factory – Prague, CZ Apr 28: Vintage Industrial Bar – Zagreb, HR Apr 29: Kino Siska – Ljubljana, SI Apr 30: Weekender – Innsbruck, AT May 0:1 Alcatraz – Milan, IT May 03: Le Moloco – Audincourt, FR May 04: Leipzi – Hellraiser, DE May 05: Mau – Rostock, DE May 06: Airport Obertraubling, Regensburg, DE May 07: Alter Schlachthof, Lingen, DE May 08: Schlachthof – Wiesbaden, DE May 10: Kiff – Aarau, CH May 11: 013 Tilburg, NL May 12: Musikzentrum, Hannover, DE May 13: Substage – Karlsruhe, DE May 14-15: Rock Hard Festival – Gelsenkirchen, DE – Rock Hard Festival (Cannibal Corpse)
One of my first and best concert memories was from when I was about 13-14 years old and I was going to see my first death metal concert. Cannibal Corpse came to Australia back in the early 90’s when Chris Barnes was still in the band.
The album The Bleeding had just come out and was getting a lot of publicity due to the graphic nature of the material, which I absolutely loved as a young whipper-snapper.
My Mum dropped my best friend and me off at the show at The Palace in Melbourne and we met up with several hundred young metal heads that were ready to destroy in the pit. Two great Melbourne bands were opening the show, Damaged and Abramelin and I was just as excited to see them as Cannibal Corpse.
As we walked into the venue, I went to take a piss and was greeted by young die-hards carving upside down crosses into their foreheads, arms and stomachs. There was blood pissing out all over the bathroom floor. I was scared shitless.
None the less, all the bands blew me away that day. It changed my life forever and I knew I had to be in a metal band after that. I did my first ever stage dive, straight into a gap in the pit and ripped the skin off my knee cap and I didn’t give a shit. It was awesome. I still have the scar.
Alex Webster of Cannibal Corpse, by Evil Robb Photography
Watching Alex Webster kill it on the bass was brilliant and I was sold as an extreme metal fan from that day… Nothing much has changed!
Six Feet Under bassist Jeff Hughell has released his new solo album Chaos Labyrinth, available at jeffhughell.com. Guests on this record include Steve DiGiorgio (Testament, Sadus, Death), Alex Webster (Cannibal Corpse), Sean Martinez (Rings Of Saturn) on the title track, as well as Matt Sotelo (Decrepit Birth), Ola Englund (Feared, The Haunted) and Kevin Talley (Black Dahlia Murder, Daath).
Paul Mazurkiewicz of Cannibal Corpse is one of the two sole original members (bassist Alex Webster is the other) who have never missed a day of the band’s 25 plus years existence. Considering they are amongst the top of the death metal genre for creating their controversial gore themed songs and albums, they have won over a legion of fans worldwide, despite countries attempting to ban them and their music.
He shared his thoughts on the band reaching this milestone and looking back to the early days of when they began this band in Buffalo, NY.
“It is very surreal. Obviously we started this band as friends playing music. That’s why you play thrash or get into metal, because it was about the music at that era in the late 80s. We just wanted to play aggressive music. We wanted to be around like guys that wanted to do what we did. We were developing as a band at that point. We were so new and so fresh and so early that everything that happened with Cannibal, so it was never about ‘we’re going to be rich’ or ‘we’re going to be huge.’ It’s about we have to write the next song and play the next gig. That’s what you’re worried about. Of course you’ve got that in the back of your mind. Who doesn’t? Wow wouldn’t it be great to be on stage to be a band like KISS…everyone’s going to have that in the back of their mind. But we never went that route of that’s what has to happen otherwise we won’t be happy. Everything came to us. It was one of those things. We happened to write good music, I guess enough to draw attention. Metal Blade signed us. Fans are liking us. Holy shit -before you know it we’re on our way. It wasn’t because we felt we had to that – we had to make it. Those things came to us. So everything’s surreal. 25 years and here we are, selling what we did, all the things we’ve done, being on a tour like this – what the hell? We’re a bunch of kids started from Buffalo just playing some crazy music and hoping people would enjoy it like we do. To make a living off of it, it’s so surreal. We’re so appreciative and so undeserving in our sense. Not that we’re undeserving, but I look at myself like ‘who am I? I’m no different than you or that fan that’s out there.’ I just so happened to be up there doing it. I think that’s the message I like to tell people is that if we could do it, you can do it. We were just kids doing our thing.”
Multi media artist Nader Sadek has released a teaser video of in-studio performances for “Entropy Eternal” from their new EP The Malefic: Chapter III, here. The video features performance clips of Travis Ryan (CATTLE DECAPITATION), Martin Rygiel (ex-DECAPITATED), Flo Mounier (CRYPTOPSY), Andreas Kisser (SEPULTURA), and Rune Eriksen (AURA NOIR, ex-MAYHEM).
NADER SADEK’s new four-song EP The Malefic: Chapter III was released as a free CD insert in November and December via Decibel Magazine (#122), Terrorizer Magazine in the UK (#254) and Legacy Magazine in Germany (#94). The Decibel release has a different mix and master from the UK and German versions. .The album will be available digitally in the coming months.
A video for EP track “Deformation by Incision” was released previously and features in-studio performances from Mounier, Ryan, and Eriksen, as well as Alex Webster (CANNIBAL CORPSE) and Bobby Koelbe (ex-DEATH). Check it out here.
The Malefic: Chapter III Track Listing: Deformation by Incision Carrion Whispers Entropy Eternal Decent
The EP was recorded in various location and with multiple engineers. Most notably are Christian Donaldson, who recorded guitars and Drums in his Montreal Studio, the Grid. Vocals were recorded by Casey Smith and Jay Newman in New York, with additional vocals recorded by Sam Lathrem and Martin Rygiel in San Diego.
For some reason, Halloween is exempt from the Prohibition Against Mainstream Fun that prevents Metal fans from publicly enjoying other festivals. Admit that you like Christmas and you’ll be ejected from The Hall faster than if you’d been seen wearing a Five Finger Death Punch t-shirt, but celebrating Halloween is not just permitted but actively encouraged. Clearly not even a Cannibal Corpse gig is enough to spoil the one Metal Approved religious festival in the calendar, and tonight the Forum is packed with Teletubbies, scary clowns, lazily-made-up-skeletons and a man dressed as a giant penis. The audience is absolutely wired from the off, moshing to silence and bellowing for walls of death before the first band even take to the stage.
Fortunately, their enthusiasm is not misplaced as openers Aeon, having apparently not been told that they’re just a support band, rip into their set as if they’re headlining. In a recent interview with Ghost Cult, Cannibal Corpse bassist Alex Webster described Aeon as a personal favourite of his, and it’s instantly clear why. They’ve been given a rich, heavy sound far beyond most openers and they don’t waste it, delivering taut, commanding bursts of powerful, Deicide-esque Death Metal with utter confidence and control. The audience prove that a band who act like headliners get treated like it, with a crowd response extremely healthy for a band playing at 7.30 to a venue that still hasn’t filled up.
Next up, Boston’s Revocation betray their simplistic name with an ambitious mash-up of Death Metal, Thrash and Hardcore with more progressive elements. It’s a complex, often surprisingly subtle blend that eschews many of the more traditional trappings of Death Metal, with Hardcore-style shouted vocals (occasionally giving way to clean-sung choruses), jagged song-structures and frequently dissonant changes of mood and tempo within a track. On paper they’re an odd choice to support a band as orthodox as Cannibal Corpse, and some old school Death Metallers in the audience are visibly perplexed, but for most people here the sheer savagery of the performance and the band’s clear enthusiasm wins through, earning another hero’s welcome (not to mention a circle pit in which the man in the penis costume sticks out like the world’s sorest most misshapen thumb).
By the time Cannibal Corpse take to the stage the audience are so wired that they’d probably circle-pit to ‘Let’s Get Ready To Rumble’ (PJ and Duncan) on a loop, but the band don’t use that as an excuse to cut corners. By this point in their career, reviewing Cannibal Corpse almost seems pointless – if you’re reading this you know exactly what they sound like and whether you like them or not – but live the sheer, undeniable enormity of their performance simply overwhelms everything else. On record their familiarity can be almost comforting, but live they take repetition to the point of transcendence, one idea repeated so often and so powerfully that it annihilates everything else. The point of a Cannibal Corpse review is not to tell you what they sounded like, but to attempt to capture just how good it was.
The first thing you notice about Cannibal is that the flashy showmanship and theatrics employed by both support bands are entirely absent. With the exception of some endearingly awkward stage banter from George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher (challenging the audience to a headbanging contest; sincerely exhorting them to “keep supporting fucking Death Metal!”), there is almost zero communication between band and audience – they stand in a line, lock their feet in place and simply hammer out one song after another like there’s nothing else in the universe. It seems jarring after the usual Metal posturing, but is entirely fitting and consistent with the band’s aesthetic of unrelenting, no-nonsense Death Metal. The second thing is how utterly, terrifyingly tight and precise they are. Watching Alex’s fingers is dizzying in itself, a more fitting visual accompaniment to the musical assault than any amount of shape-throwing or play acting would have been, and it rapidly becomes clear that you are watching a band who – twenty six years and thirteen albums into their career – still rehearse every single day. The music is literally everything, and within the tight parameters they have set themselves, they have attained absolute mastery.
Every possible criticism of their performance – the lack of variety; the relentless, no-pause-for-breath pacing; the lack of showmanship – misses the point of what it is they do, and why. Those aren’t bugs, to steal a phrase from a different world entirely, those are FEATURES. Cannibal Corpse are essentially a machine, constructed solely for the purpose of musically punching the listener in the face as many times as they can until the lights go on – if that’s not for you, that’s through no failing of theirs.
In a genre as insular and niche-focussed as Death Metal bands who dare to put their heads above the parapet will often be derided as sell-outs, but Cannibal Corpse are not just the most successful band in Death Metal, they are its purest and most dedicated adherents, and are still at the very forefront of the genre after twenty-six years.
Cannibal Corpse’s debut Eaten Back To Life hit the nascent Death Metal scene like a bomb going off, raising the bar for musical and lyrical extremity. Now, with twenty-six years and thirteen albums behind them, they are without argument one of the most influential and consistent bands in Death Metal. Bassist and founding-member Alex Webster spoke to Ghost Cult about the band’s past and future, the current state of their genre and used the words “Death Metal” seven-thousand times…
A Skeletal Domain (Metal Blade) sees you breaking a run of three albums with producer Erik Rutan that saw a rejuvenation of your sound and are regarded by many as some of your best work. What inspired this change, and to what extent has it influenced the sound of the new album?
We’re very happy with the three albums Erik Rutan did with us – as far as the change to Mark Lewis, we just wanted to do something a little different, to mix things up. The last guy we’d worked with other than Erik was back in 2003, so we just wanted to try something a little different – we just wanted a change of scenery. Erik and Mark are both great producers, they just have slightly different approaches regarding the studio in regard to getting guitar and drum sounds – their technical approaches were different, but their general attitude was the same, they wanted to make the heaviest record possible. In terms of how it influenced us… we go into the studio with all of the material written apart from maybe some extra guitar harmonies or bass parts, so although the producer helps up to find the sound he has no influence on the artistic direction.
The release of A Skeletal Domain marks an impressive run of thirteen albums, during which you’ve developed your technical skills but not strayed far from the template you laid down on your first three. That consistency has always been one of the band’s strongest selling points, but can it be a disadvantage? At this point, how hard is to keep from recycling your own material?
That can definitely happen. What we try to do is avoid that – it’s a conscious effort. If I write something and it reminds me too much of something from the past I’ll make a conscious effort to change it. One thing that is very helpful in this band is that we have more than one or two songwriters. We have four guys in the band who contribute to the song-writing process – you end up having a lot of different ideas, and good variety from song to song. I think that’s one of our biggest strengths – it’s not a band with one song-writer, and I think this album really puts that on display, our division of song-writing duties. One thing that has always been clear with Cannibal Corpse is that you are technically accomplished musicians who are committed to developing your own playing. Have you ever found the limitations of Death Metal restricting, and have you ever been tempted to follow your technicality beyond those genre restrictions?
We definitely want to stay a full on Death Metal band – that was part of the initial objective of this band, to be the best Death Metal band we could be, and we don’t want to really go beyond the boundaries of DM, but we are looking for things that we haven’t done before. There are certain things that we wouldn’t have done in the past but we will do now. For example, in the earlier part of our band’s career – or more about the middle, I should say, around Gallery Of Suicide – we avoided anything that sounded Thrashy. The gallop-type picking, things like that, and we’ve really stopped avoiding that recently. We’re a Death Metal band, but Thrash is part of our background, you can hear it certainly in our earlier albums – Eaten Back To Life is a very Thrashy album, and there are certain elements of Thrash throughout our earlier stuff, and we just haven’t made any effort to avoid that for the last couple of albums. We thought, why bother – if it’s something that sounds really heavy, why not use it? We felt like there was no reason why a Death Metal band couldn’t have those intricate picking rhythms – it’s a particular sound of Thrash, but if you’ve got guitar players who are good enough to do it, why not do it? We’ve added more of that over the last few albums,and I think it’s added really seamlessly into the overall Death Metal sound that we have. We’re willing to try to add certain outside influences as long as they work well with our sound, and don’t make us sound less Death Metal.
One of the things that often comes out in interviews with Cannibal Corpse is your blue-collar background, and the very down-to-earth attitude that seems to have given you to the job of being in a band. Despite the obvious musical differences, in terms of attitude you seem to be a coming from a similar direction to Iron Maiden. Which bands have been an influence on your attitude and longevity?
That comparison is something that we have thought about specifically… they’re a band that’s done everything pretty much the right way. I’ve always been impressed with Iron Maiden, they’re one of my favourite bands, and the level of consistency that they have and the level of musical professionalism. All of their players are great, they’ve been consistent in their music and imagery throughout their career. I think any Metal band, Death Metal, Thrash or otherwise can look to and be impressed with them. Obviously our music isn’t like Iron Maiden’s, but we definitely look at their career and are inspired by them, I think any Metal band would be, so to be compared to them is a high compliment and we appreciate that. Also, if you look at the other successful Metal bands, they have similar things going down – like Slayer for example, who are another band whose career we find very inspiring. I look to Iron Maiden and Slayer a lot as examples of being consistent, and continuing to work non-stop throughout your career, I find it very impressive.
In the Centuries Of Torment documentary you talk about revisiting old decisions, and speak quite candidly about some of the choices made by the band in your early days. Did looking back at these decisions cause you to regret any of your past choices?
Any time you look back on decisions you made you’re going to second-guess things. You can’t do that too much, of course, because it’s too late to change things you’ve done – you need to always keep moving forward. Doing history DVDs – and we’ve recently worked on a book too – you look at the past a lot, but it’s in my personal nature to keep looking forward. There’s nothing you can really do to change the past and make it turn put differently, and to be honest all the decision we’ve made in the past regarding personnel… I don’t think we made any mistakes that way. The choices we made about asking people to leave the band, I think those were necessary choices that made the band better in the long run, but… you know… what changes is the way you handle it. You’re going to handle decisions differently when you’re forty-four than when you’re twenty-two, but we did the best we could and we’ve never tried to be uncool about things with other band members when we went our separate ways. We always tried to be professional about it, but we’d probably do a better job now that we’re older and more experienced.
The fall-out between yourselves and Chris Barnes was well-documented at the time, but recent interviews with both show a much more relaxed attitude about it.
Yeah, I think that’s a natural thing – everyone’s very upset when it happens, but time heals the whole thing or whatever. We’re in a very good place with Chris right now, and I think he’s in a good place with us. Whenever I bump into him in gigs or in Tampa we always have a good time, and we always hang out and talk, so I’d say everything’s in a good place now.
You are often described as being one of the most influential bassists in Death Metal – a title that you’ve sometimes disputed in interviews. Who would you put on that list?
I would say that, for me, Steve di Giorgio was the guy who inspired me, so I’ve always put him at the top of the list. I learned how to play the way I play by imitating him. Also Roger Patterson from the first Atheist album… there are others who are really great too, Tony Choy, Martin Rygiel who used to be in Decapitated is one of the best bass players out there, Jeff Hughell from Six Feet Under, Erlend Caspersen from Blood Red Throne, Mike Poggione who used to play with Monstrosity, Mike Flores from Origin. I’m not saying that I’m not good at what I do, but I like to mention that there are a lot of other great ones too, and some of them were very big influences on me. I’m proud of what I’ve done, of course, but there are a lot of other great players who deserve recognition.
Another relatively recent development in Death Metal has been the emergence of “Deathcore”, but this has been something of a negative development by many older fans. Is this just empty elitism, in your opinion, or do they have a point?
You know, I actually have no problems with Deathcore at all, I think it’s just another form of Extreme Metal, it’s obviously very close to Death Metal. Some of those features are considered a little too…. I don’t really know! Maybe a little close to something else… for Death Metal purists, but for me they’re similar enough that it’s fine for the two genres to play shows together. I think [the wide variety of sub-genres] just helps validate what a great form of music Death Metal is, that it’s able to have been so strong for decades. Despite its reputation as something of a monolith, Death Metal has undergone a surprising renaissance in the last few years, with bands like Portal, Ulcerate and Pyrrhon leading it in some genuinely fresh new directions. Have you been following any of these bands, and what do you think about the current state of Death Metal as a genre?
There are so many killer bands out there that it’s not always easy to keep up – I kind of need tips on it! I’ve actually not listened to Portal, but I’ve heard a lot about them so should probably just go and buy an album, but there are tonnes of great bands who’ve come out in the past ten years or so, some of them are newer than others. Obviously Psycroptic have been around for a while but there an amazing, super-technical band. Spawn Of Possession I’ve always been really into. Ulcerate from New Zealand. There’s all sorts of great stuff out there right now, and it makes me happy to see all that sort of stuff, really killer technical stuff that moves Death Metal forward. It also makes me happy to see that there are other bands who are keeping it in its original formula and trying to expand by writing better songs. A band like Aeon from Sweden, they’re a technical band but how they develop their Death Metal is through their song-writing. I love hearing the cutting-edge stuff like Ulcerate, but I also love hearing stuff that’s a bit more rooted in the Old School, like Corpus Mortale from Denmark, Hour Of Penance from Italy.
I’m just happy to see that the scene is healthy on all fronts. You’ve got older bands like us and Autopsy who are still going, you’ve got bands coming back like Gorguts and doing a great job, then all these newer bands that are playing lots of different types of Death Metal, and everyone’s doing very well.