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Being released only one year after the hideously underrated „Gallery of Suicide“ many people thought that „Bloodthirst“ might not be able to match their expectations. Furthermore, many fans were still sceptical about Pat O’ Brien’s influence on CCs sound (probably due to the hatred against the rather atypical previous album).
Thankfully, most of the doubters were absolutely crushed by the sheer power of this release. Even I, being a fan of “Gallery of Suicide”, was pleasantly surprised of the might that is “Bloodthirst”. Never has any Cannibal Corpse production job been as great as on this record. Actually, it might be one of the best jobs in all of Death Metal. It’s better than the new Suffocation or Deicide, for example, which is not exactly easy to accomplish - especially when being 7 years older than those two.
The technical aspect in the instrumental work has risen tremendously. While “Gallery of Suicide” has decreased the speed and technicality compared to older post-Barnes work, “Bloodthirst” takes off where “Vile” left and improves the skillful playing in about every aspect of this already impressive album.
Corpsegrinder managed to improve his vocal work as well; some of the various vocal lines on “Gallery…” seemed a bit forced (mainly the slightly overused variation of guttural growls and high-pitched shrieks), but all these minor faults have been successfully eliminated. Fisher does still use various vocal techniques, but damn, are they placed well – not predictable at all, yet perfectly suitable in appearance.
Still, Owen and O’Brien are what make this record what it is. The riffcraft is the best I have heard in ALL of death metal. The combination of technical prowess and extremely catchy songwriting is unparalleled. The frenzy lead work is as potent as the crushing rhythm. Tracks like “Pounded Into Dust”, “Hacksaw Decapitation” and “Raped by the Beast” shove riff after riff down your throat, leaving nothing but sheer excitement behind. The songs are complex and non-formulaic without falling into the “wall of sound” trap – they are memorable and easily distinguishable.
Alex Webster’s bass playing doesn’t differ much from other CC works – it’s still fantastic; so is Paul’s drumming, which simply annihilates everything in its path; both definitely benefit of the amazing production values.
All songs are amazing, so it would be hard to pick distinctive highlights, but “Ecstasy in Decay” sticks out due to it being a bit less excellent than the other tracks.
Conclusion: If you want to call yourself a self-respectable death metal fan, you must check out “Bloodthirst” – one of the best extreme metal albums ever.