Cannibal Corpse is the bestselling death metal band of all time. And when I say death metal, I mean covering all of its subgenres (melodic death, technical death, deathcore, black death, etc.). And yet even though the sale of their CDs has been banned in several countries (it used to be more though) and in several major record stores, they’ve still managed to become one of the top dogs in death metal with The Black Dahlia Murder, Death, Arch Enemy, Opeth, Suffocation, and Morbid Angel. Cannibal Corpse’s most appreciated and well-known albums are Butchered at Birth, Kill, and Tomb of the Mutilated (which is my favorite album by them).
Now ever since the release of Vile, there has been the constant ongoing battle of whether Cannibal Corpse was better with Chris Barnes or with Corpsegrinder. I personally hate to get involved with that argument because I don’t really care. Chris Barnes is one of my favorite death metal vocalists, and so is Corpsegrinder. Cannibal Corpse is pretty damn lucky that all of their vocalists have been top-notch growlers. I personally have a soft-spot for the more guttural, deep growls like that of Demon Carcass, Mikael Akerfeldt, Frank Mullen, and Chris Barnes. I also enjoy listening to the pre-1995 Cannibal Corpse albums more than the post-Vile ones simply because I think that the songwriting is better quality and that there was more teamwork as a band. And yes, I know that the band hates Chris Barnes and will never take him back and may say different; that the band wasn’t as focused as they are now (which is true since 2004).
The guitarists on this album are actually quite a bit more creative than on their most recent albums. There are more off-beats and abstract timing going on in this album than in The Wretched Spawn (for example). In The Wretched Spawn, the guitar work tends to primarily stick to the low “chugging” chords; which sounds awesome, but gets old quickly (a common mistake made by most death metal bands). An improvement that could be made would be having more guitar solos (because when they played stuff live, they would throw in guitar solos that sounded awesome that I wish they would have done in the recording).
I think I should mention that Cannibal Corpse has been growing up with Deicide. They both went to school together, they’ve even shared several members along the way. The bond between these two bands is like Opeth and Katatonia, Korn and Limp Bizkit, Epica and After Forever, and Metallica and Megadeth (inside joke). It makes a lot of sense why they were friends in the old days (a couple of years before I was born) because they were all complete assholes. But Cannibal Corpse has really matured and become less assholish while Deicide still is pretty fucked up (Glen Benton, duh). But regardless, they’ve still been sticking together as friends for some reason.
The best song off of this album is definitely Hammer Smashed Face. I don’t think I would even want to know what Barnes is saying in this song, so I’ll leave that up to you. The intro is a one-of-a-kind intro that will get you hooked instantly only to lead into a complicated bass solo mainly played on the lower strings. The length of the song is perfect, being almost exactly four minutes. The drummer is at the top of his game during this song, constantly changing the tempos to keep the listener interested; creating parts to headbang to and parts to go absolutely nuts to. This has actually gone down as one of my favorite songs of all time because it’s one of those songs that puts a big smile on my face no matter when I listen to it.
Being one of the bands that defined pure death metal back in the early 90s along with Deicide, Suffocation, Death, and Morbid Angel, there is a lot of respect that these guys deserve, sometimes even getting more than what they have earned. A lot of people have considered Cannibal Corpse to be the most brutal band of all time. This was probably true back in the early 90s (until Suffocation turned up the bass on their recordings), but nowadays, this isn’t any more brutal than the next death metal band. But regardless of that, everyone has acknowledged this album as a true classic that will never be forgotten.
From having some of the most disturbing and disgusting lyrics to having some of the most organized and best death metal ever to reach the ears of a human being. Tomb of the Mutilated has always been one of my favorite traditional death metal albums. So far, I’ve seen Cannibal Corpse once at the 2009 Mayhem Festival (more than two years ago) so I’m really hoping they take a trip to the west coast sometime soon. I would definitely give this album a perfect score.