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Ah one of my all time favorite death metal bands. Being one of their huge fans, my reviews may be biased. They were one of the few first death metal bands I’d been introduced to and I was (still am) easily one of the biggest Cannibal Corpse fans you’d find anywhere. I can’t even estimate the amount of times I listened to Eaten Back To Life, Butchered At Birth, Tomb Of The Mutilated and The Bleeding, it’s somewhere in hundreds of listens for each of those four albums.
Over the years I became totally addicted to Chris Barnes’ vocal style. When I found out their later discography would have former Monstrosity front man George Fisher on vocals since Chris Barnes was kicked out of the band, I was a bit skeptical because I knew nobody would ever be able to fill his space in this band. But once I heard 1996’s Vile all doubts I had disappeared instantly and the disc remained spinning in my stereo for months. So I decided to check out their later work too. Gallery of Suicide failed to reach my expectations because on that album the band decided to change their musical direction, from a simplistic, heavy and brutal death metal outfit to a more technical-oriented act. With that came a strange sense of predictability with each new album and each new song as each effort seemed to be a carbon copy of the release before it with only slightly different artwork. Following 2004’s The Wretched Spawn long-time guitarist Jack Owen parted ways with the group. It was decided that Rob Barrett would rejoin the group and play alongside his previous replacement Pat O’Brien. So this lineup recorded previous full-length Kill. After listening to the album a few times I have to admit I was greatly surprised by that effort. It was a return to their Vile era sound with no technical wanna-be bullshit but pure catchy and simplistic death metal I’d always liked this band for.
The same incarnation of Cannibal Corpse entered studio with Erik Rutan and recorded their 11th full length Evisceration Plague. I was expecting something along the lines of previous effort and that’s exactly what I got. Evisceration Plague picks up exactly where Kill left off. Admittedly it does sound like Kill part II but honestly I don’t have any problem with that as it’s the continuation of their previous good work. But it doesn’t mean they rehashed everything, there are definitely some improvements in some departments but most of the things remain unchanged.
The performance of all five members is great. The riffing of two axe men Rob Barrett and Pat O’Brien is solid. Following the departure of Jack Owen in 2004, the band’s more recent material has departed from the band’s late 90s “technical death metal wanna-be” sound and reverted back to the more simplistic song writing approach that made them successful and, honestly, the simple shit is a lot more enjoyable. While there is a lot of technical riffing on the album, the overall song structure is more simplistic with more emphasis being put on writing solid catchy songs rather than dueling guitar riff-offs. They won’t catch you off guard with a stunning 5 minute solo, or go for overkill with drumming so fast the kit bursts into flames, they just keep it simple, and that’s what I really dig about them. Paul Mazurkiewicz has his typical performance with no change whatsoever. Even though the drumming does sound a bit stagnant and dull from time to time but he provides the kind of performance which best suits the band’s style which any other drummer may not. George Fisher’s vocals are as intense as ever and with every new album he proved he can use a vocal cadence that actually flows with the music playing behind him unlike former front man Chris Barnes (and I’m still a huge Chris Barnes fan). Evisceration Plague has all the essential ingredients you’d expect from a Cannibal Corpse album; steady drumming, solid bass work, excellent guitar playing and Corpsegrinder’s patented vocal style.
Erik Rutan handled the production which is really solid that gave this record really meaty and heavy sound. Though I still wish he could bless our ears with the same crunchy crystal clear sound Scott Burns had the ability to acquire but I guess he ain’t no Scott Burns but neither is Cannibal Corpse the same good old early 90s CC. Oh well at least he didn’t produce it the way he did his own album Fury and Flames. The only thing I can complain about this album is the horrible cover artwork. I mean seriously what the fuck the guy who drew it was thinking. Their past 7 or 8 albums have really bad artworks. They need someone like Dan Seagrave, Jon Zig, Jeff Zornow or the guy from visual darkness who could recapture the same cartoony-style look of Tomb of The Mutilated and Butchered at Birth.
If you are a long time Cannibal Corpse fan like me, you would have probably gotten it already but if you are an average death metal fan who likes straight up simple and catchy death metal, make sure to pick up this album. This may not be as good as bands first four classics but it’s still a damn fine addition to their discography. Two thumbs up to CC.