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Another CC album, for better or for worse. - 82%

GluttedOnNihility, September 20th, 2009

Cannibal Corpse is nothing new. Virtually everyone who listens to metal has had some experience with them, though opinions are divided. Some praise them for sticking to a tried-and-true formula, while others criticize them for never changing. Personally, I'm in the former, given my love of Vader, Bolt Thrower, and King Diamond, none of whom have ever really changed their sound but have stayed very solid. CC is the same way. You pretty much know what to expect: fast, fairly thrashy and often quite technical riffing, grinding, extremely technical bass, and competent drumming. There's no real reason to expect anything else.

Expanding on that, the performances are, for the most part, very solid. There are some genuinely excellent riffs on here, and the soloing is much better than most people give them credit for. It's generally very technical, with a frantic, pseudo-atonal edge, but with lots of technique. Pat O'Brien loves to use lots of whammy squeals and fast sweeps, but the sweeps are not melodic in any way; they actually sound pretty demented. Rob, on the other hand, sticks almost entirely to rhythm, which works quite well; he has a couple solos here and there, but they're nothing noteworthy. Bass-wise, well, it's fucking Alex Webster, what can you expect? The bass generally maintains a decent presence, and while it generally follows the guitars, Alex throws in tons of fills and tasty little runs that make for quite a nice performance. Fisher, meanwhile, does a great job on vocals: he's frantic yet quite understandable, with his trademark inhumanly long screams tossed in here and there; it's not anything new, but it's executed quite nicely. Finally, Paul is, well... the weak link. Sure, when CC first started, he was excellent, but that was quite some time ago; everyone else has improved since then. Except Paul. This is NOT a good thing. He's monotonous as FUCK, with no fills to speak of, and three normal beats: fairly mediocre blasts, decent polka beats, and midpaced grooves. Again, this is a very bad thing. I wouldn't be complaining if he had shown at least some sign of having improved since Vile. He hasn't. He literally is the SAME FUCKING DRUMMER that they had back then. He needs to either start taking lessons or get his lazy ass out. There is no excuse for this.

Mazurkiewicz's suckitude notwithstanding, there is some very solid material here. Carnivorous Swarm, Priests of Sodom, Unnatural, and Shatter Their Bones are some of CC's best tracks in some time, and most of the others range from great to decent. The title track, however, is well below the others. It's seriously one of the most fucking boring things I've ever heard. It starts off with a riff that's pretty decent the first few times. The problem is that it doesn't just come up "a few times". It's that it comprises well over half the damn song. This is just lazy. I mean, okay, CC is a pretty hardworking band, but like with Mazurkiewicz, there is no excuse for something like this. Lyrically, it's actually not bad, but musically, it sounds like they pulled it out of their ass. Normally, something like this would deep-six the score, but since the rest of this album is quite solid with a few sparks of excellence, I'll try and let it sit off to the side like a guy with a constant cough in a burn ward.

As I said before, this is another CC album. There's nothing on here you wouldn't normally expect from them, and while that is, for the most part, a good thing, Mazurkiewicz is anything but a good thing, and one of my biggest gripes about this album, and the title track doesn't help matters. Again, though, the rest of the material and performances are solid enough that I can overlook these flaws. Granted, they've done better, but they can do a whole lot worse. I suppose it's that factor alone that vindicates much of this album. If you hate CC, this will not sway you in the slightest, but if you like them, then you will have no problem. That's how it goes for pretty much every release by them.