Concert Review – Cannibal Corpse (The Danforth Music Hall, Toronto, ON, 11/06/2022)

And there we had another fantastic night of sheer brutality and blasphemy in Toronto spearheaded by the Corpse. 

OPENING ACTS: Black Anvil, Immolation and Dark Funeral

What a fantastic night of sheer brutality and blasphemy at The Danforth Music Hall yesterday in Toronto! If you’re a diehard fan of Death and Black Metal you must attend one of the concerts of the North American Tour 2022 this fall with the bands BLACK ANVIL, IMMOLATION, DARK FUNERAL and the unstoppable, unparalleled CANNIBAL FUCKIN’ CORPSE, with the sold out night yesterday in Toronto proving how strong extreme music still is even with all the bad music that’s dumped onto us everyday by the “specialized” media. The weather was perfect and the line to get into the venue started to form really early, maybe even before 4pm, showing it was going to be indeed an unforgettable night to all 1,500 fans who were lucky enough to get a ticket.

The first band to hit the stage was New York-based Black/Thrash Metal outfit BLACK ANVIL, but I had to miss the first few minutes of their setlist due to the massive line to buy merch. Unfortunately, the never-ending merch lines seem to be the new norm as that has happened in every single concert I’ve been to after the end of the pandemic, which makes me wonder if the fans are willing to spend a lot of extra money with shirts and other merch fearing that a new pandemic might hit anytime, or that the organizers have no clue what they’re doing and can’t put together a decent way to serve all fans that want to buy some merch. Anyway, back to the music, as soon as I was able to get into the main hall I could enjoy Black Anvil’s straightforward, no shenanigans performance, with their drummer stealing the spotlight with a solid performance. They’ve just released a new album this Friday, entitled Regenesis, which was basically everything they played last night, so if you know nothing about them and are attending one of their concerts opening for Cannibal Corpse you must listen to their new opus. Well, you should listen to it even if you’re not attending any concert, as those guys are great.

Setlist
The Gates of Brass
In Two
The Bet
29
8-Bit Terror
Grant Us His Love
Castrum Doloris

Band members
P.D. – vocals, bass
Sos – guitars
Travis Bacon – guitars
R.G. – drums

After a very short break (and the main reason for that is because all four bands had to finish their concerts by 11pm at the latest due to the neighborhood where the venue is located), it was then time for American Death Metal masters IMMOLATION to crush our souls with their extremely aggressive and technical creations, blending songs from their newest album Acts of God, such as the title-track An Act of God, Shed the Light and the closing song Apostle, with old school stuff including one song from their 1991 debut album Dawn of Possession, the fulminating Burial Ground, which ignited one of the most ravenous mosh pits of their infernal performance. Vocalist and bassist Ross Dolan was on fire throughout their entire set, while his bandmates made sure the electricity kept flowing between the band and the crowd. I’m sure it won’t take long for Immolation to return to Toronto,  and whenever that happens I’m sure I’ll be there to slam into the pit once again to the sound of their visceral music.

Setlist
Abandoned
An Act of God
The Age of No Light
Swarm of Terror
Noose of Thorns
The Distorting Light
Overtures of the Wicked
Burial Ground
Shed the Light
Of Martyrs and Men
When Halos Burn
Apostle

Band members
Ross Dolan – vocals, bass
Robert Vigna – guitars
Alex Bouks – guitars
Steve Shalaty – drums

Of course I was at The Danforth Music Hall last night mainly to see the headliners Cannibal Corpse, but I was also very excited to witness the scorching Black Metal by Sweden’s own DARK FUNERAL for the very first time live, and let me tell you it was indeed a unique experience as the band spearheaded by the talented frontman Heljarmadr delivered endless obscurity and blasphemy to their avid fans. Promoting their awesome new opus We Are The Apocalypse, Dark Funeral fired a great fusion of their early days and more contemporary creations, with songs the likes of Leviathan, The Secrets of the Black Arts and Let the Devil In receiving a huge roar back from the crowd showing all their admiration for the band. It was also funny seeing Heljarmadr asking every single fan at the venue to scream “HAIL SATAN!” together with him, and I can’t imagine what the girls at the bar and the guys from security felt during such inspirational moments. The top moments of their performance for me were the neck-breaking, evil tune My Funeral, and the closing song Where Shadows Forever Reign, turning Toronto into the worldwide Black Metal capital for one night and, therefore, guaranteeing Dark Funeral will return to the city to darken the skies once again with their undisputed Black Metal in the near future.

Setlist
Unchain My Soul
Hail Murder
Leviathan
My Funeral
The Secrets of the Black Arts
Open the Gates
When I’m Gone
Nail Them to the Cross
Let the Devil In
Where Shadows Forever Reign

Band members
Heljarmadr – vocals
Lord Ahriman – guitars
Chaq Mol – guitars
Adra Melek – bass
Jalomaah – drums

CANNIBAL CORPSE

And finally there they were, three years after their hammering performance at The Opera House back in 2019 (which was by the way my last concert before the world went to shit with the pandemic), Buffalo, New York’s one and only Death Metal institution CANNIBAL CORPSE took the city of Toronto by storm once again with their rage, speed, heaviness, precision and groove, driving the entire floor section mental and, consequently, igniting a massive circle pit that lasted for their entire performance. Frontman George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher (armed with his monstrous neck and his beyond cool T-shirt “Respect the Neck”), guitarists Rob Barrett and Erik Rutan, the bass phenom Alex Webster, and drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz were in absolute sync from start to finish, turning up the eat at the venue to the point you would sweat even if you were not moving at all.

What I love about Cannibal Corpse is that their setlists are always a journey through all of their phases, mixing classics the likes of Unleashing the Bloodthirsty and Stripped, Raped and Strangled with newer stuff such as Kill or Become and Inhumane Harvest, this one form their most recent album Violence Unimagined. Corpsegrinder had the crowd in his bloody hands instantly, delivering not only a savage vocal performance but also interacting in a very fun way with all fans, either by throwing bottles of water to them or by challenging everyone to try to beat him in a headbanging duel during I Cum Blood (and of course, we all failed miserably as Corpsegrinder himself predicted). Another fun moment with Corpsegrinder was before Fucked With a Knife, when he dedicated it to all women and instead of hearing guys cheering that, he actually listened to A LOT of women screaming at the venue. He commented on that by saying there are usually only 20 women in their concerts, which is already a lot in his opinion, and when he asked the ladies to scream again they were even louder. Well, after such nice moment, the circle pit kept moving ferociously to Fucked With a Knife, as expected.

Every single time I write anything about Cannnibal Corpse I need to say how much I admire Mr. Alex Webster and his wicked bass lines, and yesterday in Toronto he proved once again why he’s the best bass player of the entire Death Metal universe. That man is a beast on bass, and the best part is that you can actually listen to each and every note coming from his bass clearly. And while Mr. Webster was demolishing our ears with his bass during masterpieces the likes of Devoured by Vermin, A Skull Full of Maggots and Hammer Smashed Face, the rowdy crowd in Toronto kept having a very good time inside the circle pit in the name of first-class metal music. It’s so nice to be a fan of a band like Cannibal Corpse, as not only all of their albums are amazing, but their live performances are a thing of beauty. There should be a law for the band to play here at least once a month, but as that’s not possible I’m happy if they kept releasing ass-kicking albums and keep coming back to Toronto every couple of years. LONG LIVE THE CORPSE!

Setlist
Scourge of Iron
The Time to Kill Is Now
Inhumane Harvest
Code of the Slashers
Fucked With a Knife
The Wretched Spawn
Gutted
Kill or Become
I Cum Blood
Evisceration Plague
Death Walking Terror
Condemnation Contagion
Necrogenic Resurrection
Unleashing the Bloodthirsty
Devoured by Vermin
A Skull Full of Maggots
Stripped, Raped and Strangled
Hammer Smashed Face

Band members
George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher – vocals
Rob Barrett – lead and rhythm guitar
Erik Rutan – lead guitar
Alex Webster – bass guitar
Paul Mazurkiewicz – drums

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Album Review – Corpsegrinder / Corpsegrinder (2022)

Long live the Corpse… GRINDER!

Co-produced by Nick Bellmore (Dee Snider, Toxic Holocaust, Kingdom Of Sorrow) and Jamey Jasta (Hatebreed), and released through Jamey’s new label Perseverance Media Group, Corpsegrinder is the debut solo project by Florida, United States-based unrelenting vocalist George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher, commonly known as the ruthless frontman for Death Metal behemoths Cannibal Corpse. Featuring the aforementioned Corpsegrinder on vocals, Charlie Bellmore (Dee Snider, Toxic Holocaust) on the guitars and bass, and Nick Bellmore on drums, as well as a special guest appearance by guitarist Erik Rutan (Cannibal Corpse, Hate Eternal), Corpsegrinder offers our avid ears a 10-song effort that is chock-full of Death Metal and Hardcore Thrash, plus Corpsegrinder’s signature guttural vocals. Put differently, if you enjoyed Cannibal Corpse’s 2021 opus Violence Unimagined, you’re in for a treat to the fulminating music found in Corpsegrinder.

Featuring Erik Rutan on the guitars, Acid Vat is a pulverizing Death Metal tune with Groove Metal nuances and gruesome, austere lyrics masterfully barked by Corpsegrinder (“Silence was your promise / Trust was given not earned / No allegiance shown / Not a man of your word / In this game you failed / Where the stakes were your life / Sworn to secrecy until the price was too high”), whereas Charlie begins hammering his guitar and bass in the awesome Bottom Dweller, accompanied by the pounding beats by Nick in another awesome onrush of old school Death Metal that could have easily featured in any of the more recent Cannibal Corpse albums. Nick takes the lead with his stone crusher drums in On Wings of Carnage while Corpsegrinder continues to haunt our damned souls armed with his inhumane guttural growls; and putting the pedal to the metal the trio fires the insane All Souls Get Torn, a Brutal Slammin’ Death Metal feast that will please all diehard fans of Corpsegrinder’s other bands and projects, not to mention how demented the riffs and solos by Charlie sound. Following such high-octane song, the rumbling bass by Charlie will make your head tremble in the devilish tune titled Death Is The Only Key, perfect for breaking your neck headbanging together with Corpsegrinder (but don’t forget to respect the neck, of course).

Their shot at a more modern version of Groove Metal comes in the form of the infernal Crimson Proof, with Corpsegrinder once again barking the song’s grim words (“Bring on the bloodshed / I see from crest to crest / All the dead lay strewn / Countless souls sent to their doom / All I leave is crimson proof”), and you better get ready to be smashed like an insignificant insect by Corpsegrinder and his henchmen in the absolutely acid Devourer Of Souls, exhaling brutality and hatred in the form of Death Metal. Then it’s time for more groove and violence in Defined By Your Demise, with Charlie and Nick being in total sync from start to finish, therefore offering Corpsegrinder a visceral, neck-breaking atmosphere tailored for his trademark growling, followed by Master Of The Longest Night, their second to last blast of animosity and darkness which begins with the razor-edged riffage by Charlie and a deep roar by Corpsegrinder, evolving into a dark, massive Death Metal attack. And last but not least, Corpsegrinder will demolish our senses once again with the short and demonic Vaguely Human, with Nick showing no mercy for his drums while Charlie extracts sheer electricity and fury from his axe.

You can “sit down, relax and enjoy a soothing cup of tea” to the sound of Corpsegrinder’s debut solo effort by streaming it in full on YouTube and on Spotify, but of course if you consider yourself a true servant of extreme music you can purchase the album from his own BandCamp page or from the Martyr Hardcore Metal Online Store in different formats such as the CD + sticker + button bundle, the CD + longsleeve shirt bundle, and the cassette + sticker bundle, as well as from Apple Music. So don’t forget to follow Corpsegrinder on Instagram, to keep headbanging to his wicked music, and above all that, do not dare to try to be a “good” guy and disrespect the motherfuckin’ neck, because if you do so you’ll have to deal with the consequences in the hands of Mr. George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher, alright?

Best moments of the album: Bottom Dweller, All Souls Get Torn and Crimson Proof.

Worst moments of the album: On Wings of Carnage.

Released in 2022 Perseverance Media Group

Track listing
1. Acid Vat 3:09
2. Bottom Dweller
3. On Wings of Carnage 3:45
4. All Souls Get Torn
5. Death Is The Only Key
6. Crimson Proof
7. Devourer Of Souls
8. Defined By Your Demise
9. Master Of The Longest Night
10. Vaguely Human

Band members
George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher – vocals
Charlie Bellmore – guitars, bass
Nick Bellmore – drums

Guest musicians
Erik Rutan – guitars on “Acid Vat”

Album Review – Cannibal Corpse / Violence Unimagined (2021)

State of the art Death Metal played with passion and breathless precision is what you’ll find in the superb fifteenth studio album by the most violent and unrelenting band of all time.

4.5rating

cannibal-corpse-violence-unimagined-2021Violence Unimagined. The title tells you everything you need to know about Buffalo, New York-based Death Metal titans Cannibal Corpse‘s fifteenth hellish opus. Comprised of eleven tracks, it is state of the art Death Metal played with passion and breathless precision by George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher on vocals, Rob Barrett and Erik Rutan on the guitars, Alex Webster on bass and Paul Mazurkiewicz on drums, making for another flawless addition to what is inarguably one of the premier catalogues the genre has thrown up. Produced, engineered and mixed by Erik Rutan at Mana Recording Studios, mastered by Alan Douches at West West Side Music, and featuring another terror-infused artwork by Vincent Locke, Violence Unimagined is the band’s first album in nearly four years since Red Before Black, the longest gap between two records in their career, and the first studio album to feature Erik Rutan on lead guitar replacing Pat O’Brien. Not only that, already well known for the level of extreme technicality they bring to every record, on Violence Unimagined they have further upped their game, with the album’s titled, created by Paul Mazurkiewicz, “summing up what the band is about in every facet, and taking violence to another level of extremity.”

Their vile onslaught begins in full force in Murderous Rampage, with Corpsegrinder already barking like a rabid beast while Rob and Erik slash their axes furiously. Put differently, the album couldn’t have started in a better way, and the same can be said about Necrogenic Resurrection, a bestial creation by Cannibal Corpse where Paul hammers his drums while Alex extracts sheer insanity from his bass, and with its frantic vibe more than inspiring us all to crush our skulls into the circle pit. Then the title-track Inhumane Harvest (don’t forget to watch its sick official video below) showcases the band’s classic, visceral lyrics (“Twisted criminal underground / Subjugation of the victim / For complete control / Reaping vital body parts / Surgical precision taking / All that will be sold”) amidst a heavy-as-hell and extremely detailed sound; and it’s time to bang our heads nonstop to the demented riffage by Rob and Erik in another Death Metal extravaganza titled Condemnation Contagion, proving they don’t need to play at the speed of light to sound and feel absolutely insane. And their path of devastation and gore goes on in the superb Surround, Kill, Devour, with Paul dictating the pace with his trademark beats and fills, offering Corpsegrinder all he needs to thrive with his venomous guttural.

cannibal-corpse-2021There’s no time to breathe as our beloved Death Metal giants fire another massive tune entitled Ritual Annihilation, where the guitars, bass and drums make our heads tremble, overflowing sheer brutality and also showcasing wicked guitar solos, and you know it’s not a Cannibal Corpse album without a neck-breaking anthem the likes of Follow the Blood, where Alex proves once and for all why he’s by far the best extreme music bassist out there with his low-tuned, intricate and evil bass lines. Bound and Burned is another lecture in old school Death Metal where the band’s guitar duo is on fire with their riffs and solos, keeping the album at a high level of dementia and violence, whereas in Slowly Sawn the lyrics barked by Corpsegrinder seem as if they were taken from a slasher flick (“Bound tight to the table / Unable to scream / The blades of the sadist / Are all I see / Meticulous slaughter / A saw for each limb / Cuts through my flesh”) while the music will lacerate your ears just the way we like it in Death Metal. Then we have the fulminating Overtorture, and I must say I simply love this version of Cannibal Corpse, a straight-to-the-point, aggressive and infernal circle pit-catalyst tune where Paul is beyond ruthless behind his drums. Finally, the quintet darkens the sky once again with the hammering Cerements of the Flayed, spearheaded by the sick bass jabs by Alex and the always bestial roars by Corpsegrinder.

cannibal-corpse-violence-unimagined-artbook

Cannibal Corpse Violence Unimagined Limited Edition Artbook Set

Cannibal Corpse are by far the most violent and hardworking Death Metal band of all time, with Violence Unimagined not only representing another ass-kicking, top-of-the-line display of all their talent and passion for extreme music, but also showing a Death Metal band can indeed reinvent itself without selling out or sounding cheesy or tiresome at all. If you haven’t taken a listen at such masterpiece of extreme music yet, an album that will surely feature among the top metal albums of 2021, you can find it in full on YouTube and on Spotify, but of course I highly recommend you purchase it from the band’s official webstore in the United States or in Europe, or from Metal Blade Records, where you can find the link to the fantastic Limited Edition Artbook Set, containing a digipak CD, a 12” exclusive crimson red marbled vinyl, a patch, a sticker and a flag, and don’t forget to also follow the band on Facebook and on Instagram to get updated on all things Cannibal Corpse. Needless to say, if you don’t do all that, you can’t even imagine the level of violence you will suffer.

Best moments of the album: Murderous Rampage, Inhumane Harvest, Surround, Kill, Devour, Follow the Blood and Overtorture.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Metal Blade Records

Track listing
1. Murderous Rampage 4:07
2. Necrogenic Resurrection 3:06
3. Inhumane Harvest 4:32
4. Condemnation Contagion 4:17
5. Surround, Kill, Devour 4:10
6. Ritual Annihilation 3:48
7. Follow the Blood 4:39
8. Bound and Burned 4:04
9. Slowly Sawn 3:30
10. Overtorture 2:28
11. Cerements of the Flayed 4:07

Band members
George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher – vocals
Rob Barrett – lead and rhythm guitar
Erik Rutan – lead guitar, backing vocals on “Murderous Rampage”
Alex Webster – bass guitar
Paul Mazurkiewicz – drums

Concert Review – Cannibal Corpse (The Opera House, Toronto, ON, 11/15/2019)

Over 30 years of evisceration, torture, mutilation, killing, blood and cannibalism in an awesome night of first-class Death Metal in Toronto.

OPENING ACTS: Perdition Temple and Thy Art Is Murder

I can’t describe in words how happy I am whenever a metal concert is scheduled for a Friday or Saturday night in Toronto, especially when the music in question is old school Death Metal. I mean, we need at least one full day to recover from all the insanity going on in the circle pits, right? And that’s probably why all fans at The Opera House this Friday, November 15 went the extra mile in terms of energy, rage and madness, slamming like it was their last night on earth to the sound of Perdition Temple, Thy Art Is Murder and my favorite Death Metal band of all time, the almighty Cannibal Corpse, pulverizing everything and everyone that crossed their path on a cold but fantastic night in Toronto.

It took forever for the concerts to start, probably because of the huge line that was formed at the door, with security even doing the checks while people were still in line and not right at the entrance. That was an indication that The Opera House was going to be jam packed (and it actually was), and after tons of non-metal songs played by the house DJ for a reason beyond my understanding (well, at least when he played Toto’s classic Africa some metalheads had a good time singing it), the first attraction of the night, Tampa, Florida-based Black/Death Metal horde PERDITION TEMPLE, finally hit the stage and began their short but solid setlist. Formed in 2009 by guitarist Gene Palubicki (from old school cult act Angelcorpse), the trio comprised of Gene together with bassist and vocalist Alex Blume and drummer Ronnie Parmer played a well-balanced setlist including songs from all of their releases, with songs like To Bleed at War, The Tempter’s Victorious and Goddess in Death already igniting some decent circle pits in the floor section. I personally enjoyed their performance a lot, and if you’re curious to know how the music by those Ameircan metallers sounds, simply check their official BandCamp page and, who knows, you might end up adding one of their albums to your devilish collection.

Setlist
The Tempter’s Victorious
Plague Camp
Testament to Annihilation
To Bleed at War
Goddess In Death

Band members
Alex Blume – vocals, bass
Gene Palubicki – guitars, vocals
Ronnie Parmer – drums

After a short break where most fans went either to the bar to grab some cold beer or to the bathroom to make room for more beer,  it was time for Sydney, Australia-based Deathcore outfit THY ART IS MURDER to show Toronto what they got, giving a lesson in slamming with their heavy-as-hell and politicized compositions. Comprised of vocalist Chris “CJ” McMahon, guitarists Sean Delander and Andy Marsh, bassist Kevin Butler and drummer Jesse Beahler, this excellent Deathcore unity from Down Under blasted a demolishing setlist including songs from their newest album Human Target, such as Make America Hate Again and New Gods, which by the way I thought sounded amazing live, with older hits like Reign of Darkness, Fur and Claw and Puppet Master, driving the fans nuts while crushing their skulls inside the humongous mosh pit that dominated the entire floor section as soon as the band began their show. I must say CJ McMahon is not only an extremely talented vocalist, delivering his trademark deep, guttural growls and his inhuman screeches, but he’s also a very charismatic and humble guy, making it visible to everyone at the venue how happy and impressed he was with the reception by his Torontonians fans. After all was said and done, I was able to confirm Thy Art Is Murder is indeed one of the best bands hailing from the current metal scene in Australia, both in studio and when on stage, and after witnessing them live for the first time ever I can’t wait to see when those guys will get back to Toronto for another round of their unrelenting Deathcore.

Setlist
Death Squad Anthem
Make America Hate Again
Fur and Claw
Slaves Beyond Death
Holy War
No Absolution
Human Target
The Son of Misery
New Gods
Reign of Darkness
Puppet Master

Band members
Chris “CJ” McMahon – vocals
Andy Marsh – lead guitar
Sean Delander – rhythm guitar
Kevin Butler – bass
Jesse Beahler – drums

CANNIBAL CORPSE

The wait for the one and only Death Metal institution CANNIBAL CORPSE was finally over when it was getting close to 9:30pm, and from the very first note of the opening track Code of the Slashers, from their latest opus Red Before Black, released in 2017, until the closing moments from their gruesome all-time classic Hammer Smashed Face, it was pure Armageddon in the form of ass-kicking Death Metal. The unstoppable vocalist George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher (I still don’t know how he can headbang like a beast for so long), guitarists Rob Barret and Erik Rutan (the lead singer and guitarist for Hate Eternal who is filling in on guitar during this tour due to the arrest of guitarist Pat O’Brien), the phenomenal bassist Alex Webster, and the precise drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz set The Opera House on fire with their visceral and absolutely perfect Death Metal, playing “horror classics” from almost all of their albums (which you can find on sale from their own BandCamp page), including my favorite Cannibal Corpse song of all time, Devoured by Vermin, from their 1996 album Vile, and the sensational Kill or Become, from their 2014 album A Skeletal Domain, where you could see several fans “firing up their chainsaws” together with Corpsegrinder. It was so insane I could barely take my phone out for some decent pictures.

Every single time I watch Alex Webster live I get more and more impressed with his technique, feeling and groove, proving why he’s in my opinion the best extreme music bassist of all time. As a matter of fact, how many Death, Thrash and Black Metal bands have bassists that you can actually listen to in detail while performing live? Not only that, but the band’s setlist was also impressive as already mentioned, and that’s probably one of the reasons why Alex and the guys were so brutal and awesome on stage this Friday. Songs like Red Before Black, Gutted, Make Them Suffer and Stripped, Raped and Strangled were the catalyst of some of the most demented circle pits you can imagine, while Scourge of Iron and the demonic Evisceration Plague were perfect for breaking our necks headbanging like maniacs. Another thing that was really entertaining during the band’s flawless performance were all the jokes by Corpsegrinder, showing that behind that brutal headbanging beast there’s a very kind and fun guy. When he offered “NOTHING” from the bottom of his heart to the fans we could see how excited he was with the warm and violent reception from the crowd. And what to say about his personal intro in I Cum Blood, where he dared the fans to try to headbang like him (and, of course, we would all fail miserably in his own words)? That’s what I call a frontman, my friends, never letting the energy go down and always reminding us why the band has been on the road alive and kicking since 1988. When the show was over, you could see many, many fans dripping wet of their own (and others’) sweat and beer leaving the venue without a jacket when the temperature was around -5oC, mostly due to the adrenaline still flowing through their veins, and you know what? That’s when you know there was a damn good Death Metal night in Toronto, obviously spearheaded by our beloved Cannibal Fuckin’ Corpse.

Setlist
Code of the Slashers
Only One Will Die
Red Before Black
Scourge of Iron
Staring Through the Eyes of the Dead
The Wretched Spawn
Devoured by Vermin
Unleashing the Bloodthirsty
Gutted
Kill or Become
A Skull Full of Maggots
Evisceration Plague
Firestorm Vengeance
Death Walking Terror
I Cum Blood
Make Them Suffer
Stripped, Raped and Strangled
Hammer Smashed Face

Band members
George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher – vocals
Erik Rutan – lead guitar
Rob Barrett – rhythm guitar
Alex Webster – bass
Paul Mazurkiewicz – drums

Album Review – Cannibal Corpse / Red Before Black (2017)

Always loyal to their foundations and sounding rawer and more aggressive than ever, here comes the most hardworking act in Death Metal with another first-class onslaught of sheer brutality.

If there’s a band in extreme music that not only remains loyal to their foundations, but that also keeps delivering excellence with each and every album release, that band are American death metallers Cannibal Corpse. This Buffalo-based Death Metal institution never disappoints, always providing us fans everything we crave in extreme music, playing their music almost to perfection while maintaining a high level of rawness and aggressiveness in their sonority at all times, which is exactly the case in Red Before Black, the fourteenth studio album in their vile, ruthless and gory career. Having said that, do you have what it takes to face another brutal installment by the Corpse?

Released three years after the good A Skeletal Domain and featuring a slashing artwork by American comic book artist Vince Locke, Red Before Black not only proves why Cannibal Corpse are still alive and kicking after almost 40 years on the road, fighting against all odds and always going against anything that can be considered mainstream, but it also shows that there’s no sign of the band slowing down or venturing through less violent fields. Quite the contrary, it seems that the Corpse is thirstier for guts, entrails and blood than ever.  “We always try to make our music aggressive, but where an album like ‘A Skeletal Domain’ was definitely aggressive, it has a targeted refinement that the new album doesn’t. ‘Red Before Black’ is as well executed as anything we’ve done, but it has a rawness to it that we haven’t had in a long time,” asserted bassist Alex Webster.

Raw and putrid sounds impregnate our ears from the very first second in Only One Will Die, with the guitars by Pat O’Brien and Rob Barrett sounding pulverizing while George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher barks manically as usual, showing why he’s one of the most respected and consistent growlers still in action. Furthermore, its lyrics reek of traditional Cannibal Corpse (“Both of us will throttle / Strangling with rage / Both consumed by madness, revenge has us enslaved / Both are badly wounded / And struggle to survive / Both are fighting to the death but only one will die”). Brutality keeps flowing from all instruments in the fantastic title-track Red Before Black, where the competent old school drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz maintains the pace at a frantic level while Corpsegrinder vociferates the song’s lancinating name ferociously. And those guys never get tired of blasting sheer Death Metal to our metallic ears, delivering violence and bloodshed from start to finish in this ominous circle pit-generator Code of the Slashers, with their always demonic guitar solos enhancing the song’s electricity to the limit; whereas Shedding My Human Skin is mid-tempo slashing tune where guitars penetrate deep inside our mind while Alex and Paul keep punching us in the head ruthlessly. The song loses its taste a bit after a while, though, but it’s still a decent creation by our beloved Corpse.

Get ready to be massacred by Corpsegrinder and his henchmen in Remaimed (let’s see if you can survive this hurricane of Death Metal), with all instruments played with extreme violence, in special the bass by Alex who once again proves why he’s in my humble opinion the best Extreme Metal bassist of all time; followed by Firestorm Vengeance, a heavy-as-hell metal tempest ignited by putrid, raw riffs that grow in intensity until all hell breaks loose, led by the unstoppable Paul on drums. Put differently, if you’re getting to know Cannibal Corpse at this point in your life, this is a very good sample of their more contemporary sound. Heads Shoveled Off is perfect for banging your head like Corpsegrinder himself, while Paul keeps demolishing his drums and the guitar duo Pat and Rob shows no mercy by cutting our ears with their sharp-edged strings, not to mention the song’s slashing words (“Back in Nam he killed a man / A shovel was used to cut his head off / Now forever changed lust to decapitate / Chop at the neck to keep the skull intact / Going insane / Come back deranged”), and displaying hints of progressiveness but still maintaining the band’s crude sonority, Corpus Delicti is another great job done by Rob and Pat with their axes, delivering amazing riffs and solos nonstop.

Red Before Black Collectors Bundle

In Scavenger Consuming Death we have the pleasure to witness Mr. Webster doing what he does best, shaking the foundations of the earth with his devilish bass lines, also presenting a fantastic chorus to follow along with Corpsegrinder, as well as visceral guitar solos and a thrilling pace. In other words, it can’t get any more Cannibal Corpse than this. The crude, primeval sonority found in In the Midst of Ruin, a beyond perfect tune for some carnage inside the circle pit, takes us back to the band’s early days, with Alex Webster firing bestial, rumbling tunes from his bass; while Destroyed Without a Trace, the second to last tune in Red Before Black, is filled with the band’s trademark harmony and aggressiveness (and a Corpsegrinder sounding more enraged than you can imagine), with all breaks and changes from slower, heavier moments to sheer devastation making it a great choice for their live concerts. Lastly, closing this crushing record we have more of the band’s old school Death Metal in Hideous Ichor, which despite being slightly below the rest of the album in terms of quality, it’s still very enjoyable if you’re a longtime fan of the band.

Metal Blade Records kind of surprised us all by uploading the full album on their YouTube channel, but of course in case you’re also a “Corpse addict” like myself you’re certainly going to buy your favorite version of the album at their webstore, like the Red Before Black Collectors Bundle, including among a ton of pretty cool stuff a bonus CD named “Blood Covered”, featuring Cannibal Corpse turning some metal classic by Accept, Metallica, Kreator, Possessed and other bands into their own infernal sound. Red Before Black exhales pure Cannibal Corpse, and it will surely maintain this fantastic Death Metal horde relevant in the minds of old school metal fans, it will show newcomers to the world of heavy music how Death Metal should always be played, and last but not least, it will keep haunting the souls of those who are not brave enough to face the most hardworking band in the history of extreme music.

Best moments of the album: Only One Will Die, Red Before Black, Heads Shoveled Off and Scavenger Consuming Death.

Worst moments of the album: Shedding My Human Skin and Hideous Ichor.

Released in 2017 Metal Blade Records

Track listing 
1. Only One Will Die 3:24
2. Red Before Black 3:12
3. Code of the Slashers 4:45
4. Shedding My Human Skin 3:28
5. Remaimed 4:13
6. Firestorm Vengeance 3:43
7. Heads Shoveled Off 3:37
8. Corpus Delicti 3:29
9. Scavenger Consuming Death 4:33
10. In the Midst of Ruin 3:25
11. Destroyed Without a Trace 4:01
12. Hideous Ichor 4:33

Limited edition bonus disc “Blood Covered”
13. Sacrifice (Sacrifice cover) 3:04
14. Confessions (Possessed cover) 2:58
15. No Remorse (Metallica cover) 6:16
16. Demon’s Night (Accept cover) 4:17
17. Bethany Home (A Place to Die) (The Accused cover) 3:20
18. Endless Pain (Kreator cover) 3:11
19. Behind Bars (Razor cover) 2:20

Band members
George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher – vocals
Pat O’Brien – guitar
Rob Barrett – guitar
Alex Webster – bass
Paul Mazurkiewicz – drums

Guest musician
Erik Rutan – backing vocals on “Only One Will Die”, lead guitar on “In the Midst of Ruin”