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It's almost hard to believe that almost 3 years have passed since the last Corpse album. I remember blasting Kill for the very first time, and feeling like all my internal organs were collapsing into each other. So when my promo copy arrived, lets just say that I was as happy as a pig in shit.
Now the boys are back with their 11th full length studio album, titled Evisceration Plague, and needless to say, there has been a lot of anticipation flowing around this album, and for one single very good reason - it's Cannibal Corpse. Not much more really needs to be said. When you go off to the store to buy some coffee, you know exactly what to expect. You expect it to be fragrant, black. It's the exact same principles with Cannibal Corpse. When you go to buy a new Corpse album, you know exactly what to expect, and very rarely are you disappointed. That mindset alone is always very comforting when a new Corpse album is released.
So, how does Evisceration Plague match up to previous Corpse material? A lot of people will be comparing it to Kill, since both albums were produced by Erik Rutan of Hate Eternal. The thing is though, that upon careful listen, both albums are completely different. The line-up is still the same, which I am very pleased to say, as the current Corpse line-up is the best they've ever had, and one of the best line-ups in death metal, period. I mean, you can't really go wrong with Webster, Corpsegrinder, O'Brien, Barret and Mazurkiewicz - all of whom are seasoned pros at what they do best.
So when the first track Priests of Sodom burns through your skull, the first thing you'll notice is the sound, which is pretty similar to Kill, but that's pretty much it. The songwriting, when inspected, is pretty different overall. It's still Cannibal Corpse, obviously, I mean, they couldn't really be anyone else after this point. But the sound is a bizarre mixture from the entire Corpse discography. There's elements from everywhere - even Eaten Back to Life, and that's not a bad thing. The track in question is pretty straightforward, with some great riffing throughout, solid vocals and a killer guitar solo. Not a bad way to kick things off at all.
Then something spectacular happens, and it's called Scalding Hail, possibly my favorite track off of the album. From the very first notes to the very last, it's a lesson in pain, delivered with such precision and brutality that it's sure to put a smile on any Corpse fans face. Fast and relentless, George's vocals are a huge highlight in this song. Everything is crystal clear and his pronunciation is spot on, even at the fastest moments, which makes the overall feeling that much more powerful. The riff at 0:27 is classic Corpse in all it's glory - nice and thrash, loud, obnoxious, middle finger. Just plain nasty, it makes your stomach turn and your head bang at the same time. When the vocals kick in again you're just consumed in the power of it all, and the ending! At 1:26, you'll be treated to the musical equivalent of your head being smashed into the pavement. Two words to describe this song? Fucking glorious.
The album as a whole is jam packed with awesome Corpse material, so there's no need going over the tracks one by one. "To Decompose" will be a live favorite, merging elements from Gallery of Suicide, so you really can't go wrong. There are excellent riffs scattered all over the place on this release, like the glorious riffing to "Shatter Their Bones", which does exactly just that. The title track is one of the highlights on the album, being a mix of old school Corpse, infused with their new sound. The end result is pretty relentless, which could be said for the whole album.
"Evidence in the Furnace" and "Skewered From Ear to Eye" will put a smile on any Corpse fans face, however this album also has, I hate to say it, filler material. Personally, "A Cauldron of Hate" just doesn't do anything for me at all, and neither does "Carrion Sculpted Entity", thought it has a really fucking cool title. Still, these tracks the album could really do without, and was surprised to find them on here as they just seem to lack the quality we've come to expect from Cannibal Corpse.
The mix on the album is deeper than it was on "Kill", and though I can't say that this or that sounds better, it just sounds really good. Very deep, yet crystal clear. The vocals are loud, powerful and clear, and the guitars cut like chainsaws through your skull. Sadly, the bass seems to be somewhat lost in the mix, so you have to strain your ears a bit to hear it. Paul's performance is as expected - nothing too fancy going on with the drums, though he does provide a solid backbone like always. The vibe is the most important thing though, and the entire album flows very well, though like I said previously, it could do without some of the more filler tracks to be found here. But that said, this thing is packed with blistering material which is sure to please the legions of Corpse fans.
So, was it worth the 3 year wait? Without a doubt, as there are some real gems on here which are simply not to be missed. The songwriting in general isn't very consistent - sometimes it's extremely powerful and creative, whereas sometimes it just seems uninspired and lacking of focus and direction. To compare it to Kill isn't really required, as both albums are completely different animals.
So would I recommend it? Fuck yeah. Scalding Hail, To Decompose, Evidence in the Furnace, Carnivorous Swarm, Shatter Their Bones, Unnatural and the title track are all awesome Corpse tunes not to be fucked with, sure to get your blood boiling and your head banging.
In conclusion, this album is more for seasoned Corpse fans, rather than new ones. It will take some time to sink in to fully appreciate what's going on. It's not for the weak, and it's not, by any means, for people who don't have a special passion for Cannibal Corpse.