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Well, let's go back to 1993. We are one year away from the "Year of Grunge", and most would claim that metal has died. Despite this, the death metal scene was growing. Bands such as Death, Morbid Angel, Deicide, and Obituary were becoming well known on the underground level. Another one of these pioneering death metal groups was Cannibal Corpse - who would later become the most successful death metal band to date. This EP features their most well known song "Hammer Smashed Face", a tale of a deranged man who bludgeoned his victims to using a sledgehammer. This song is also played by "Thrasher Band Cannibal Corpses" in the Jim Carrey movie Ace ventura: Pet Detective. Now that we've established some history, let's get into this classic release.
Now, the version I have is a 3-track EP that I purchased from iTunes a few months ago. Some versions have 5 tracks. Anyway, here is a review of the version I bought:
1. Hammer Smashed Face - This is without a doubt the most well known song C.C. has ever released. It is almost always the last song to be performed live. It starts off with a punishing start/stop rhythm, displaying impressive guitar playing and mind-blowing blast beats. Alex Webster's displays his bass playing with a quick interlude. Not too far into the song, we go to a slower, more groove-like section. Chris Barnes's vocals are top-notch guttural growls. However, you can hear some weakening in his voice if you listen close enough. Overall, I would give the song a 8/10.
2. The Exorcist - C.C. come back with a classic from Possessed's landmark album Seven Churches. Cannibal Corpse does a great job covering this song. The music is tight, and the vocals are even better than they were on Hammer Smashed Face. Once again, the rhythm section does impressive work keeping the song chugging along. The guitars are spot on with tempo. There are really no complaints with this track. I would give it a full 10/10.
3. Zero the Hero - So, here we are and the EP is coming to a close. The band decides to end it with a Black Sabbath song. They make an interesting choice, going with the most popular song from the only Ian Gillan studio release - Zero the Hero. The music is without a doubt heavy and tight. However, I have an issue listening to them use death metal vocals on an Ian Gillan era Black Sabbath song. It's not that it isn't good, it's just I would rather them not cover a song from my favorite album by B.S. However, that does not mean this song loses any validity. The track still sounds great, and the vocal performance quality falls somewhere between the first two tracks. I would give this song a 9/10 in the end.
So, that is my review. Thanks for reading and keep it heavy!
Sweet, sweet, capitalism, oh what you have done for the music industry, spewing galactic megatons of wasted matter into our environment that does naught but poison us and our surroundings. I picture a grim future where entire 3rd world nations are transformed into massive graveyards of CD singles, cassettes, picture discs, vinyl, VHS tapes, and so forth, all whisked into existence so the record label executives (and often the artists) can eat a fatter meal at a higher star restaurant. With Cannibal Corpse's emerging success in the 90s, it was inevitable that they would also be taken (or taking us) to the cleaners. I'll give them some credit though, any glance at their discography reveals only a few singles, and this early Hammer Smashed Face EP, which has since been rendered completely worthless.
"Hammer Smashed Face" is the same track you heard opening the Tomb of the Mutilated album one year previous to this, and though it's a decent one with a pounding rhythm and fairly 'tame' level of gore, it feels only redundant on a release with only 3 tracks (5 if you've got the alternate version with two other re-pressings). The remainder of this EP consists of two cover tracks, and likely the only draw for fans at the time who wanted to kick a few more dollars into the ditch these zombies crawled out from. "The Exorcist" seems a natural fit for the grisly New York barbarians, as Possessed was no doubt a formative influence on their decision to even play this style of metal. Chris Barnes bludgeons out the vocals, and the music sounds as you might expect, with a thick bass presence and some nice guitar tones for the bridge before 1:00, evoking the morbid old school atmosphere of the original. "Zero the Hero" is a decent cover as well, hearing the brutal spin on Black Sabbath is entertaining, and the track gets the same room to breathe as its predecessor. I should also note that the stoney vibe is like an omen of the future of Chris Barnes, who in a few years would be out of this band and writing stoner horror death metal until his heart is content with the lackluster Six Feet Under.
As if to create some sort of micro-anthology on the EP, the alternate version also features "Shredded Humans" from Eaten Back to Life and "Meat Hook Sodomy" from Butchered at Birth, adding no real value to the release save to extend its length. The two cover songs mark the first release for the band as a 4-piece (which wouldn't last long); Bob Rusay originally recorded solos for them, but Jack Owen re-recorded them after Rusay left the band. Since "The Exorcist" is available on the 2006 re-release of The Bleeding, "Zero the Hero" is available on the 15 Year Killing Spree compilation, and both are redundant to several other releases (including the Japanese Tomb of the Mutilated), I can't give any sort of recommendation here. If this was your intro to Cannibal Corpse, you were better off picking up Tomb of the Mutilated, and this EP does nothing but gather dust and decay anywhere it lies.
Hammer Smashed Face is Cannibal Corpse's first EP recorded in 1993. It boasts three trakcs adding up to a little more than 15 minutes.
The first track is the notoriously classic Cannibal Corpse single "Hammer Smashed Face". The song is very strong and has some really killer riffage from the guitars that make it an equally pummeling yet creepingly seething song. It alternates from fast to slow bits, and both are executed masterfully well, again- primarily because of the amazing riffs put into this song. The drums are done well- as can be expected from Paul.
The last two tracks are covers. The first being a cover of Possessed's "The Exorcist". This song is probably the weakest point of the EP. It's good, but it's vastly mediocre to alot of CC's other covers. To no fault of Cannibal Corpse- It is my belief that Possessed themselves didn't create tremendously exciting music.
The other cover is that of the Black Sabbath song "Zero the Hero". i'm not a Black Sabbath fanboy, but I found this to be an extremely well done cover. cannibal Corpse are very good at sludgy grooves much like the ones displayed in this song. The guitars as usual are very good- but what is extremely prominant in this song are Alex's bass work and Chris' vocals. Yes- you can almost understand Chris in this cover. Nothing against incoherency, but chris does an excellent job. The song is very slow for Cannibal Corpse and it's a nice change from the usual.
So, overall, this is a very good EP. Mind you, though, it is only 3 songs. All 3 songs are available on other releases that might be a bit more worth your money, but if you are a die-hard collector, like myself, this is a very handy disc that you can't be without.
Hammer Smashed Face is overall a good single, but I found the covers to be more enjoyable than the title track itself. I personally find Corpsegrinders vocals to be more enjoyable then Chris Barnes, but the musicallity of the EP boosts its rating.
The first track, Hammer Smashed Face is a true audio assult. The begining of the song kicks off to an awesome start, with a catchy guitar riff and a short bass solo. The speed of this song is definetly a great addition to the overall mood. However, at about :39 a sort of redundant guitar melody kicks in and slows down the tempo of the song. I found the faster paced sections of the song to suit it better, but it switches around between the two a fair bit. All around good guitar, drums and bass work make this song rate 7.5/10.
The Exorist features decent vocals but a hooking melody which is pulled off by the guitar and bass. The ripping guitar solos are especially enjoyable. The drums keep a grinding fast pace throughout to add to the appeal of this song. My personal favorite off this EP. 9/10.
Zero The Hero intros with a shreaking guitar riff and proceeds to settle into a moderatly paced song. The vocals are decent once again but once again the guitars save the day for this song. Overall a pretty good song. 8/10.
Overall a good EP. The vocals left something to be desired, but suited the music for the most party. Excellent work by the guitars made this an enjoyable listen.
This could very well be the most useless mcd of all time!!! No, I'm not exaggerating!! The first track (the title track) is from their over-hyped "Tomb Of The Mutilated" album, though it's actually the best track on that album. But my god how un-listenable the production is!!! The bass sounds like a broken rubber band and overpowers everything (even distorted bass is better than this s**t), and the drums sound like garbage cans (even the bass-drums sound like click-pads were taped up to one). Vocals are inaudible and you can't understand one word of what Chris Barnes says anyway, though when he does the scream near the track's end you can hear it perfectly (learn how to mix vocals Mr. Burns)!!! The guitar sound is weak with a very poor quality (sounds like they used practice amps!!). The riffs and music are OK but nothing too special, I might've enjoyed this song if the instruments and production were better. The second and third tracks are cover songs, and they're TERRIBLE. At least the production is light years better (you can actually hear the vocals without turning the volume up to the maximum). First, they cover "The Exorcist" by POSSESSED, and butcher it beyond belief!!! I honestly must say they made the single worst cover song in history. Even the evil riff sounds GAY in this version!! The second cover is some BLACK SABBATH cover and it sounds utterly lame to say the last, almost like cock-rock!!!
It's no wonder I never liked CANNIBAL CORPSE, after hearing this drivel I found it hard to ever listen to anything by them...
Hammer Smashed Face - This is like the Freebird for Cannibal Corpse. If they don't play it live, the crowd is very disappointed. I can hear why -- it manages to be very brutal, but somewhat catchy at the same time. The song runs over you like a tank, and makes you headbang. At 2.50 we have a breakdown, and it's very metal. A thrash break at 3.20. Pretty good stuff. This is still when Barnes had a good growl.
The Exorcist - Cover of the Possessed song. It's a pretty nice rendition. It will have you thrashing around for sure.
Zero The Hero - another cover, this time it is of Black Sabbath. It's kind of bizarre that Cannibal Corpse would record this kind of song, but I think they did a pretty good job. Barnes does not sing, he uses his growl, of course. This a pretty enjoyable cover song. Nothing spectacular, but then again, neither was Black Sabbath.
If you find this EP for 3 bucks or cheaper, you should get it. It's enjoyable.