DISCLAIMER: Due to the extremeness of the original album artwork, I have made this post with the alternate album cover. There is a link at the bottom of the review in case you want to see the ORIGINAL album cover.
Despite majority opinion, The Wretched Spawn is actually one of my favorite Cannibal Corpse albums. Before I first heard Torture, which is now tied with this album as my favorite “Corpsegrinder-era” CC album, this was my favorite Cannibal Corpse album with Corpsegrinder behind the microphone. The Wretched Spawn isn’t a Cannibal Corpse album that you hear about very often. For the past year or so, I’ve been trying to figure out why this album has developed such a mediocre reputation. Since Cannibal Corpse is the most famous and bestselling (at least traditional) death metal band ever, I feel that I should make an effort to get the word out about this album because IT NEEDS TO BE HEARD!
The Wretched Spawn was the first Cannibal Corpse album to feature the much more mature sound that’s in all of the albums that have come after it (Kill, Evisceration Plague, Torture, etc.). I’m not going to say much about Cannibal Corpse’s pre-1995 sound because I talk about that enough in my reviews of Butchered at Birth and Tomb of the Mutilated; but I will mention that during that time, Cannibal Corpse was one of the death metal bands that helped define what a “mature” death metal sound was supposed to be like. Well, when Cannibal Corpse got Corpsegrinder as their vocalist, they went on to release their weakest album, Vile. I’m pretty convinced that Vile wasn’t as strong as their other releases because Cannibal Corpse were still a little scatterbrained and were still trying to collect themselves and get their footing. This isn’t something I hold against them because everyone knew that they were under A LOT of pressure and had people from around the globe waiting to see what the “new” Cannibal Corpse was going to sound like.
After Vile, the band quickly got most of their footing to release the follow-up, Gallery of Suicide. This was a HUGE step up from Vile, but still not what I would consider a completely mature and strong death metal sound. Three albums later, The Wretched Spawn was where Cannibal Corpse came out as strong as titanium and as brutal as a meat grinder. Although Cannibal Corpse’s sound has continued to grow in maturity, musicality, and creativity, the sound that The Wretched Spawn brings still speaks out to me more than the albums that have come after it. Don’t get the idea that I’m saying Cannibal Corpse is going downhill because in fact, they’re going uphill. I’m just saying that I enjoy the songs on The Wretched Spawn more than the others. But why?
The Wretched Spawn has the crunchiest sound out of any other Cannibal Corpse album besides Butchered at Birth. When I’m talking about “crunchiness”, I’m talking not only about the really gritty and rough guitar distortion (which this album has TONS of), I’m also talking about the brutality and the tones the different instruments have. Usually, Cannibal Corpse is known for playing in very low tunings, especially in albums like Tomb of the Mutilated and The Bleeding. But it seems that in this record, Cannibal Corpse is doing some experimenting by writing songs in higher guitar tunings. Even though the guitars have a lot of treble, the bass guitar gives the entire sound a HUGE lower end. This is what creates that CRUSHING brutality, the highly distorted treble in the guitars and the booming deepness of the bass guitar at high volumes.
In the albums previous to The Wretched Spawn, I’m not so fond of the sound of Corpsegrinder’s vocals very much. I guess that the low-quality production of the music made it so that things didn’t match up. So obviously, Cannibal Corpse needs to have very loud, high-quality sounding albums with extreme amounts of bass to help make the vocals be a positive element rather than a negative one. Also, I think that Corpsegrinder really improved his vocals a great deal after Gore Obsessed, the album previous to The Wretched Spawn. This album also has some of the fastest drumming Cannibal Corpse has ever had in their material (it was considered their fastest album until Torture came out and blew it away like sand).
This is one of my favorite Cannibal Corpse albums and would recommend it to any metalhead on the streets. This should be considered a death metal classic, just like several other Cannibal Corpse albums. I would give this 19/20. I would like to mention that in case you haven’t noticed, this album has the most offensive, sick, disturbing, and inappropriate cover out of Cannibal Corpse’s entire discography. Enjoy.