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In the world of traditional death metal, where brutality is king, few bands are as important and well-known as Cannibal Corpse. Whether it be their over the top, gore-splattered album covers, or song titles such as “I Cum Blood” and “Fucked With a Knife” and lyrics that have had them banned in some countries, Cannibal Corpse have always attracted controversy and interest. What is often overlooked however is the actual music. Cannibal Corpse are one of the most consistent bands in metal, especially in death metal. Never a band to go off and do an experimental album like Morbid Angel or even a band to make an average album, Cannibal Corpse simply sledgehammer their way into your brain release after release after release, like death metal’s own Motorhead.
Is their latest album “Torture” any different? From the first second of opener “Demented Aggression” the answer is a resounding no. A major factor in Cannibal Corpse’s continued success is their ability to not just be consistently brutal and relentless, but also to make actual memorable songs rather than just a mess of blast beats and incoherent vocals. This album, like every other Corpse album, is packed full of hooks and riffs that grab your attention before throttling you. Various changes in tempo fill this album too. From frenzied speed on songs such as “Demented Aggression” and “Rabid” to slower, more groove orientated songs such as “Scourge of Iron”, to songs where the two combine to absolutely devastating effect like “Encased In Concrete”, this is an album that not only makes your head bang solidly for an hour, but mixes things up a bit too.
The groove on this album is a huge part, songs crawling along at a slower, far more sinister pace for the majority of the time. “Sinister” is a word that sums up a lot of this album. Whether it be the eerie intro to ”Followed Home Then Killed” before it begins its slow march towards you, or the slower section of “Demented Aggression” that surfaces about halfway through, one thing becomes clear. This is not ultra-technical death metal full of blast beats, sweeping guitar solos and high-tech production. This is death metal as it was originally meant to be: dirty, organic, and ridiculously heavy. Alongside bands such as Autopsy and Grave, Cannibal Corpse helped to pioneer this sound and are doing a tremendous job of keeping it alive today in 2012. “Torture” sounds like an actual band playing, pulsating like an organic mound of pulsing flesh rather than a computerized robot like some modern death metal bands.
Not to say Cannibal Corpse aren’t technical however. The musicianship on this album is superb, as it always has been, especially from bassist Alex Webster. While Cannibal Corpse have been subject to a revolving line-up, their rhythm section has stayed constant, and Webster and drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz are as solid as ever. Webster once again makes it his mission to make his bass parts as complex as possible while still flowing and sounding like an actual person, for example the bass solo on “The Strangulation Chair”. The fact that the bass is not only audible in the mix, but is often the central focus of a song, is just one of many little factors that lift this album up above so many others. Others are Mazurkiewicz’s relentless and creative drumming, George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher’s frantic vocal delivery, and of course crushing riffs that once again make Cannibal Corpse a band with songs that are simply enjoyable. This is not pushing any boundaries or doing something creatively unique, it is simply creating 45 minutes of classic, superbly enjoyable death metal. Long may it continue.
A review of this album is almost unnecessary, in my opinion. It’s 2012 now, and Cannibal Corpse has been Cannibal Corpse for two decades. I’ll keep it short and sweet. They have developed a sound that’s obviously all their own, and they’ve forged an unmistakably solid reputation en route to becoming the world’s most notorious and popular death metal band. The bottom line is that with 2012’s “Torture”, Cannibal have never sounded or played better.
You may be wondering what “Torture” may bring to the table that the band’s countless other releases may not have, and the answer is quite simply not a whole lot. This is as pure of a relentless Cannibal Corpse musical onslaught as they’ve ever released. You know from the opening seconds that it is indeed Cannibal Corpse, and they have absolutely no intentions whatsoever of experimenting or trying new things to attract new fans. For that, I commend them.
Separating “Torture” from the numerous other Cannibal classics that are out there might seem somewhat tricky at first, but after a few listens, you really begin to notice all the things that this offering do better than any other. The first thing I noticed was the pristine production courtesy of Erik Rutan. Every single note on the guitar sounds immense. Every drum hit is clear and precise. The bass guitar has never sounded better. This is one of the finest sounding albums I’ve heard in a long while.
The band has also never been this tight before. After listening to their work on their first handful of albums, it’s hard to believe that this is where this band has arrived technically. They are light years beyond anything I could have ever expected on “Torture”. That being said, it’s still one of the grooviest albums Cannibal has ever recorded as well. There are twelve tracks on this album, and I honestly have no inclinations whatsoever to skip a single one.
I love the fist-in-the-face brutality of “Demented Aggression”, the opener. I love the blazing speed of the picking in “Encased in Concrete”. I love the surprisingly almost-clean opening of “Followed Home Then Killed”. I love the insane bass solo fill in “The Strangulation Chair”. I love getting my face hammer-smashed one last time with “Torn Through”. I love this band. And this is undoubtedly the best album they’ve released in a very long time.
Written for globaldomination.se
I’ve never been as confused by the vague criticisms of the metal nerd masses as the inevitable shit-spray surrounding each new release by venerated death metal veterans Cannibal Corpse. They have never relented from the path of brutality that they themselves helped create, with energy, drive, and consistency that puts to shame bands less than half their age. The loud, prevalent condemnations of dullness and repetition are downright laughable, as if the band have stagnated in their consistent quest of refinement. Lest we forget, this band you refer to as generic actually helped form this scene. Indeed, there is admittedly an overwhelming familiarity to the proceedings here on Torture, but only in that it continues to pound your face into the dust with trademark semi-technical precision and strong, evil riffing patterns. It’s a Cannibal Corpse album. Did you misread the label?
Another fun, and popular, opinion, which I see every time a new Corpse album is birthed, is that “They’re finally back!” That’s great, except, they never left. You obviously haven’t been listening. Every album the band has put out since Gallery of Suicide has been a clinic in how to write solid death metal. In fact, Torture is verily no different than Evisceration Plague or Kill in overall sound and effect, in that it’s a well-produced onslaught of pestilent, powerful songs, grinding and slamming along with practiced and professional force. Yes, Cannibal Corpse continues to write Cannibal Corpse songs, how about that? If you’re somehow expecting something different, then that’s your fault, and hardly that of the band. I can see how the continued similarities can fuel the above argument concerning stagnation, but I come to Cannibal Corpse to get my ass handed to me by fun, brutal songs that act like short stories in the career of a serial murderer, and in that respect, Torture more than delivers. All of the songs here are unerringly good. I also enjoy the ‘they haven’t been good since Barnes’ argument. Have you heard the first few Cannibal Corpse albums? Yes, indeed, they are quite brutal, but the songwriting and riffing are nowhere near as strong as anything the band has done post-Vile, and Corpsegrinder continues to add a nice rhythmic punch with his trademark grunts.
As you’d expect, Torture is a mid to fast paced clinic of roiling, savage, lightly technical death metal, never showing off, but always impressing. The songs are always built around a veritable army of excellent riffs, courtesy of Rob Barrett and Pat O’Brien, from choppy mutes to fibrous, spindly fret-work to sheering waves of tremolo carnage. Alex Webster is his typically mind-blowing self, reprising his role as one of the best (read: only) lead bass players in death metal, spiraling off away from the riffs on his own spidery, virtuosic tangents, always adding another delicious layer to the songs. He’s particularly out there on The Strangulation Chair, with a short tapping solo that had my jaw resting on the keyboard. Paul Mazurkiewicz is just as solid as ever, an unyielding backbone that stays straight and true no matter how twisted the riffing metamorphosis becomes. Lyrics are as fun as usual, tales of, well, torture, rage and psychosis, simple and animalistic, a perfect companion to the songs.
As previously stated, this is as strong a collection of tracks as we could have asked for, especially wowing considering how deep into the Corpse career we currently are, this being album number 12. The fiery, desecrating grooves of As Deep As The Knife Will Go, the lumbering zombie rhythms that dominate the mid-paced Scourge of Iron, the cyclical, pounding carnage of Crucifier Avenged, the cold mechanical boring of Intestinal Crank, the measured, threatening gallop of Torn Through… there isn’t a single chink the armor here, and even though the overall impact is not quite as strong as a number of their past records, there is nothing to all to scoff at, and indeed, you could easily dislocate your neck headbanging to these ferocious summonings.
There isn’t a whole lot else to say concerning how Torture sounds, because you know how it sounds, a smattering of decrepit evil across a variety of tempos and riffing backdrops. Overall, I think it’s just a hair less compelling than it’s direct predecessor, Evisceration Plague, and it’s certainly not a reinvention for the band, so stop pretending it is. Or, if the fact that Corpse are still unerringly Corpse frustrates you, if you require the band to meaningfully evolve, I must humbly suggest you get the fuck away from me, because you’re an asshole, and your head likely smells similar to those boxers you’ve been wearing for 4 days. This is indeed business as usual, but that roughly translates to another dose of balls-out, belligerent, measured, fantastically talented death metal, and that’s all it strives to be. That’s all that it has ever strived to be, and there’s a very good reason Corpse are one of the most appreciated death metal bands on the planet, with legions of ravenous fans. Where you see complacency, exists only consistency, and anyone seeking straight-forward, throat-ripping death metal need look no further. Cannibal Corpse are at the point where they have nothing to prove to anyone, but that isn’t stopping them from releasing some of their strongest material to date, an album that stands shoulder to shoulder with anyone else in the genre. So go on, relax that sphincter, pull the broom out, and let your no doubt pre-conceived opinion wash away in a satisfying flood of classic brutality.
-Left Hand of Dog
What's there to say about this recent instalment that the legendary Cannibal Corpse has brought to the table? Considering this is their 11th release, I can honestly say after all these years that these metal dinosaurs can really conjure something here unlike other bands, and I'm not giving out any names (Metallica). Is it anything new, however? That's where I draw the line in the sand. It's something we've already heard before, to me this feels like "Evisceration Plague II", sure the sound is louder, powerful and there are some good riffs here and there, but putting that aside everything sounds the same.
I'm not kidding when everything feels and sounds the same: the guitars have that "drop D" tuning and that melancholic distortion, the drums play the same blast beats and Corpsegrinder... well he's just being himself. Everything lacks originality to the point where the song titles even start to suck, "Followed Home, Then Killed." I rest my case. Alex Webster is probably the only skilled musician on this album in my books, executes some awesome bass solos and whatnot. He has stepped his game up, why can't the rest of the band? There's no diversity. It's actually hard for Cannibal Corpse to BE diverse because everyone expects them to write the same ol' song and dance, you don't see them writing about life struggles or anything like that do you? This album is like a 12 year old that keeps repeating the same sentence over and over again to you until you answer it, "shut the fuck up! We get it already!"
I mean no disrespect to Pat O'Brien, for he is an excellent guitarist, but I must confess that he has disappointed me to the utmost extreme. You can't even comprehend what's being played, by both guitarists even! That (poorly executed) guitar wankery followed by the drum blast beats being played at the speed of light result in this failed abortion known as "Torture"...and rightfully so. The title alone describes what my ears (which endure a lot of metal music) have gone through and has wasted probably 40 minutes of my life. I give CC respect for conjuring up something good within these troubled times in the metal world (again, Metallica and their shit creativity) but this is just unbelievable and not in a good way. I recommend you invest your cash into their older work and if you see this just don't even think about buying it... unless you want your ears raped repeatedly.
When knowledgeable people begin to talk about death metal, Cannibal Corpse are always one of the first bands to be spoken of. Do you know why that is? Because they are unequivocally one of the greatest bands in the world when it comes to death metal. Having been at the game of disgusting and vomit-inducing carnage for 24 years, Cannibal Corpse has consistently been one of the premier acts in all of the music world, in both the studio and in a live setting. Everybody reading this already knows the extensive history of the legendary Cannibal Corpse, so I am not even going to waste our time explaining it all. But, what I will say is that after the 2009 release of “Evisceration Plague,” they are back with 12 new tracks of visceral death metal just simply titled “Torture.” I love that album title so damn much for the exact same reason why I loved “Kill,” because there was no deception behind it. You cannot get anymore truthful with an album title as either “Kill” or “Torture,” creativity be damned. With two weeks from the world-wide release of “Torture,” I feel it is was my duty to dissect and digest the guts of this album many, many times, and now I will share my tale of gore-and-mutilation-laden pornographic adventures.
A little more than a month ago Cannibal Corpse were happy enough to release the tracks ‘Demented Aggression’ and ‘Scourge Of Iron’ to the masses as a tease for what was to come on “Torture.” When I had originally heard ‘Demented Aggression,’ I immediately thought of the Cephalectomy track ‘Espousing The Lore Of Ancient Mythos,’ and while I’m positive it was just a coincidence, anything that can conjure a song from “Eclipsing The Dawn” is going to get my attention. Plus, the second riff of ‘Demented Aggression’ is absolutely vicious, and with George “Tree Trunk Neck/Corpsegrinder” Fisher quickly belting his violent lyrics over it is the perfect combination for fans of their more recent work, such as “Kill.”
I quickly mentioned “Kill” above, and it will not be the last time I do so, because “Torture” feels like the little brother to it. The reason I say this is that musically it feels very similar to that of “Kill.” For instance, ‘Sarcophagic Frenzy’ seems like a direct descendent of ‘Five Nails Through The Neck’ at times, and ‘Encased In Concrete’ is the conjoined siamese twin to ‘Purification By Fire,’ which there is absolutely nothing wrong with that since those two tracks were among my favorites from “Kill.” We are only four tracks into “Torture,” so this is going exceptionally well so far. “Kill” isn’t the only album that Cannibal Corpse are trying to conjure on this album, but the guitar tone seems to be a mixture of “Gallery Of Suicide” and “Bloodthirst.” It’s almost as if the band is trying to give you the best of the “Corpsegrinder”-era, and I am perfectly okay with that.
Even though there is a lot of great material that harkens back to some older albums, I don’t want to give the impression that Cannibal Corpse was incapable of creating new music when it came to “Torture.” On the contrary; they do quite a bit of things that are specifically unique to them. Sure, you have the frantic and visceral attack of tracks like ‘As Deep As The Knife Will Go,’ ‘Caged…Contorted,’ and ‘Crucifier Avenged,’ but there is a lot of excellent material that really made me fall in love with “Torture.”
For instance, there is a lot of charm in the aforementioned track ‘Encased In Concrete’ because of its speedy and visceral nature. Even the off-kilter beat of ‘Intestinal Crank’ is enough to get you scratching your head and addicted to “Torture.” The things that the band did on ‘Followed Home Then Killed,’ ‘The Strangulation Chair,’ ‘Rabid,’ and ‘Torn Through’ really make this album stand out. Everything about those tracks is absolutely genius from beginning to end. There are enough catchy hooks and choruses to get your feet tappin’ while strangling the life out of a hooker you just paid for a handjob with a toothless grin on your face. ‘Followed Home Then Killed’ has an absolutely haunting riff, then going straight into bulldozing mid-paced death metal. ‘Rabid’ may be my favorite track on this album because the chorus is so god damn good. It is something I keep replaying in my head over and over again, and you know you always have something great when Alex Webster is able to play you out with his five-string bass. I don’t want to spoil anything on the ending track, ‘Torn Through,’ but just trust me when I say it is absolutely brutal and very fitting to end an album. In my eyes, those six tracks are the real stars of “Torture.”
Let me speak about the instrumentation and production of “Torture” for a moment. Cannibal Corpse really stepped up their game in my eyes, and the guy that I think made the most improvements is Paul Mazurkiewicz. Paul was never known as one of the premier death metal drummers in our time, as he was normally around just to keep the beat, but that was not the only thing he did on “Torture.” He actually did some pretty neat and groovy things, particularly on ‘Sarcophagy Frenzy,’ ‘Encased In Concrete,’ ‘The Strangulation Chair,’ and ‘Caged…Contorted.’ I thought his drums were a bit over-powering on “Evisceration Plague,” and here he sounds just perfect. Alex Webster is always on-top of his game, but I found it to be an added bonus when he had a few breaks all to himself in ‘The Strangulation Chair’ and ‘Rabid’ to give us fans some real meaty bass-lines. One thing I did find surprising is that George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher seems to be a little lower in the mix, and his vocals aren’t as intelligible as on previous records, but he sounds really good on this album. I’m not sure if it’s due to him having a ton of lyrics to spit out, but his cadences and delivery are top-notch as they always are.
With my disappointment in what was to be known as “Evisceration Plague,” the mighty death metal stalwarts that is Cannibal Corpse knew they had to come with something that would put every single fan on their collective asses, and that is how “Torture” came to be. From beginning to end you are inundated with the skull-crushing sound of Cannibal Corpse that we all know and love, with even some very interesting ideas thrown into the mix. As I mentioned before, I see a lot of these songs being incredible in a live setting, so that just speaks for how good Cannibal Corpse can be when they are at the top of their game, and by god, they are back with a vengeance. Their groovy and catchy brand of death metal has really taken itself to new heights, and I really hope this is the direction the band continues to go in. “Torture” is definitely for fans of all the “Corpsegrinder”-era material, and I’m sure it will also be able to gain some new fans with how well everything on this album is orchestrated. “Torture” was one of my most anticipated albums of 2012, and after digging through every nook and cranny I could find, I was absolutely justified in feeling that way.
Originally written for Metal Blast: http://www.metalblast.net/2012/02/cannibal-corpse-torture/
I recently saw Cannibal Corpse live for the very first time after having listened to them since high school; like most metalheads my age, I discovered the band around the time of The Bleeding and their infamous cameo in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, and was blown away by their ability to mix over-the-top lyrical and visual gore with utterly eviscerating riffage. Finally seeing them live took me back to that time, those first sticky fumblings with death metal, loving it and being repulsed by it at the same time and loving that bizarre mixed feeling, wondering what people would think if I told them I was heavily into a band that had songs called “Fucked with a Knife” and “Stripped, Raped and Strangled.” But seeing them live wasn’t all misty-eyed headbanging nostalgia, it re-affirmed that Cannibal Corpse are still a force to be reckoned with; titans of death metal who have made a career out of pumping out some of the most quality-consistent, full-on brutal music the genre has to offer.
Such is the case with Torture; album number twelve finds Cannibal Corpse being Cannibal Corpse, nothing more, nothing less and I am totally satisfied with that. In fact it amazes me when people criticize Cannibal Corpse (as well as other veteran bands) calling their new albums “just more of the same” and such… well yes, of course it’s more of the same, were you expecting a rock opera about the life of Christ?! I’m not saying they are above criticism, but I do think it’s a tad silly to expect a band that’s had their feet firmly rooted in gruesome death metal to suddenly evolve out of that after over two decades in the game. Besides, I think by now everyone knows that when a respected metal band takes an unexpected stylistic left turn, it usually isn’t pretty; call it “The Metallica Syndrome.”
It took Cannibal Corpse a few albums to find their footing after ditching Chris Barnes for George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher, but the band have been on a remarkably solid streak since 2004′s The Wretched Spawn; the quintet have upped both their technical wizardy and production values while maintaining a knack for memorable riffs and structures. In this respect Torture can be viewed as the culmination of Cannibal Corpse’s post-Barnes musical and aesthetic journey; it’s probably the most varied album in the band’s catalogue and certainly ranks among the catchiest. They aren’t bringing anything new to the table here (who the hell would want them to?), but they continue to refine and improve upon their sound without losing sight of what makes Cannibal Corpse special. Songs such as “Intestinal Crank” “As Deep As the Knife Will Go” and “Followed Home then Killed” bring the bloodthirsty ultra-violence in a way that only these guys can; frenzied yet painstakingly contructed and played.
Overall, Torture is exactly what you’d expect from Cannibal Corpse, no alarms and no surprises, and yet there’s something about it that still manages to sound exciting and fresh. Perhaps it’s the thick ‘n’ chunky Erik Rutan production job, or the band’s increased emphasis on shaking things up in the tempo department; Cannibal Corpse seem more willing than ever to let off the gas here, giving the songs more of a chance to sink in like red-hot blades through tender, trembling flesh. It could simply be the fact that they’ve lost none of the maniacal, grisly energy and enthusiasm that has possessed them since day one. Whatever the case, I take comfort in the fact that Cannibal Corpse is still out there after all these years, doing what they do best.
Originall written for That's How Kids Die
Cannibal Corpse has been one of my favorite death metal bands because of their classic sound. They are the perfect example of what death metal is: brutality, gore, killer music, and deadly vocals. Across the years, Cannibal Corpse has shown their talent to compose excellent death metal, and now in 2012 they come back with their twelfth album, Torture.
I was really excited when I got the news of their new upcoming album, but at the same time I was really worried about it. After so many years and so many albums, I didn't really thought that Torture was going to be a true highlight, but it was a good time for some new material, so ok, let's check it out when it comes out. The question was: could they provide us with a good death metal album... again? And the answer was FUCK YEAH!
I'm going to be quick with this; Torture is totally a "must have" record. It's full of brutality, the guitars are simply perfect and are deadly in that they fits perfectly with the theme. You can feel the violence gushing from the heart of the songs and the bass is such bad-assery that's perfectly played and present in the music. Alex Webster really gave an excellent performance (just like on every Cannibal Corpse album) where we can listen to some amazingly bass solos that really bring orgasms to the ears.
The next part are the vocals. George Fisher is one of the best death metal vocalist out there and we can see why. Just like the past albums, Corpsegrinder brings the brutality to the music, spreading the message of blood and violence that we all love about Cannibal Corpse (at least for the fans of Cannibal Corpse). The vocals are full of hate and violence. I really thought that he wouldn't get the vocal level he performed in the last albums. I don't know why, I only thought it, but I'm really sorry about it. Corpsegrinder is one of my favorite death metal vocalist, and I'm ashamed of that, really. Literally, he kicked ass in this album. Totally one of his best efforts with Cannibal Corpse.
The lyrics are one of my favorite parts of metal. The lyrics on the album are about... torture. About the different ways to make any person suffer and kill 'em. It's as simple as that, nothing more, nothing less. They're really good for me, but totally not their best as they've made better efforts on the lyrics before. Just like the latest albums, the lyrics are killer, bloody, gory, and violent, but with less ideas than the past albums. But anyway, they're quite good for what they're supposed to express, and hey, it's Cannibal Corpse! Let's kill no matter what!
And after all the bullshit you just read above, please go ahead and buy the album. Really, it's a great comeback after the work they did on Evisceration Plague, and I'm pretty sure you'll hear a huge progression on this album that you're gonna like. Keep it brutal!
First thing that needs to be said: Torture is one of the best Cannibal Corpse releases, if not the best. While most people like their more chaotic and crazy songs, this album is heavier and more streamlined. There is some groove on this album and the band even shows some linear song structure. It seems as though they lean more and more away from their grindcore past and are starting to go towards a full death metal sound.
The first track, “Demented Aggression,” is a sonic blast of bass-driven grind/death and shrieking vocals. It almost seems like vocalist George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher is rapping the lyrics, and he seems to fall just a tad flat on this song. Overall it’s not really anything groundbreaking, but will definitely please any Corpse fan.
“Sarcophagic Frenzy,” on the other hand, is a standout track in their extensive song list. Going full-on death metal, “Sarcophagic Frenzy” is one of their slower-paced songs, which doesn’t say much because by death metal standards it’s still a faster track. In comparison, it’s got a Deicide type of guitar and drum structure.
Already one of my all time favorite CC songs ever, “Scourge of Iron” is a brutal track even by their standards. Intense and chunky guitar riffs that stop on a dime to a sludge metal crawl without a second’s notice are always welcome. There is a lot of progression in between the sludge and death metal sections of the song, along with a sick guitar solo that is menacing enough to match perfectly with the rest of the track. The bridges consist of slight chord differences and don’t follow a specific time signature, making this one of their most complex tracks as well.
Later into the album, “Intestinal Crank” hosts a blend of the old school grind (The Bleeding-era) and their more modern death metal (from Kill and up) into a perfect package. It’s noteworthy that it’s not blended together, but that each influence stands on its own collective legs when presented. It’s also not as polished as the other tracks, which brings out that grind influence even more than the death sections. The death metal sections have a wall of sound that can actually make a person claustrophobic (this should be taken in a good way). It’s the perfect example of how much Cannibal Corpse has matured and developed their sound over their almost two-and-a-half decades of bringing the gore to the masses.
Further establishing how Cannibal Corpse has grown over the years, they bring in some technical death metal influences in the song “Followed Home Then Killed.” Corpsegrinder’s vocals are more polished than on some of the earlier songs, but the most noticeable aspects are the insane riffs and the jaw-dropping guitar solo that is sure to be in the running for best death metal song of 2012.
This release should not be treated as just another Cannibal Corpse album. It is by far one of their best and is certainly the most adventurous and complex album of their illustrious career. This is one album you will not have to test listen to before buying.
Wow, their twelfth full length album. If you haven’t given it up for Cannibal Corpse by this point you’re probably being a stuck up prick. They’ve been doing their thing for over twenty years now and Torture is more proof that they’re, whether you like it or not, here to stay. Yup, this album offers nothing but the tried and true Cannibal Corpse promise, and in a very focused way at that.
Basically everything about Torture is a little bit better than the past few albums, and that’s not to discredit them. It seems the goal here was to give each song its own identity; instead of having ‘that fast song’ and then ‘that slow song’, most tracks on the album vary in pace and the foundation of their brutality is in their contrasts. There are no very short songs like usual (all of them over three minutes) and perhaps this has something to do with the overall developed sound of the album. Demented Aggression seems like the most logical starting point when talking about the music, since it’s the opener and does well to exemplify the general approach of the album. Starting at characteristic breakneck speed, we’re soon treated to some of Corpsegrinder’s fastest verses (which is obviously saying a lot), but it isn’t until the “I don’t think you’ll live” breakdown until we realize the jarring heaviness at hand. By now you’ve also probably noted the prominent bass sound. This is something I especially rejoiced in, since I was somewhat dismayed that it was all but lost in the mix of Evisceration Plague, and Alex Webster is definitely one of my favourite extreme metal bassists. Rarely does it take the spotlight (the huge bass fill in The Strangulation Chair being a noted exception. Seriously, this sounds as if Geddy Lee just snorted a fat line of coke), but just listen to how much more of an edge it gives to ultra-heavy moments like the recurring break in Sarcophagic Frenzy, or the monolithically heavy Scourge of Iron.
This is the first Cannibal Corpse album since probably The Wretched Spawn in which I love every single song. It’s got to be one of their most consistent albums, but that isn’t to say it doesn’t have standout moments. If I had to pick a favourite, I’d probably go with Encased in Concrete, a Rob Barrett song, because everything about it is purely classic Cannibal Corpse. Ripping into a sick riff, we’re immediately flung into a frenzy of Slayer guitar leads. Equipped with fast verses, the best chorus on the album, and a repeated bass-heavy breakdown, I’m sure this one will be a live staple for years to come. It’s also such a pleasure to still hear Corpsegrinder repeatedly shrieking the song title after all these years.
Of course it’s ludicrous to suggest that pace is the only thing that distinguishes this album amongst others, but frankly I don’t find it very important to distinguish Cannibal Corpse albums. Everyone knows what to expect and Torture is certainly no exception to this rule. That said, I can’t see this album selling you to the band if you’ve already dismissed them years ago. Conversely, I don’t see how this could possibly disappoint ardent and passive fans alike. I don’t think it could be justly argued that the musicianship has taken any dip whatsoever in quality. O’Brien’s technicality and precision is still scary good (best showcased on his songs Demented Aggression and Torn Through), Alex Webster has long been my favourite songwriter of the band, and he’s produced some really great ones here like Scourge of Iron and Intestinal Crank, the latter somehow reminds me of Butchered at Birth. There’s no sign of Corpsegrinder’s vocals declining at all, and while there’s strangely no prolonged high shrieks on the album, his performance is completely solid throughout.
It’s reassuring to see Cannibal Corpse in such top notch shape. While 2011 regrettably saw the fall of Morbid Angel, I’m glad that we can still rely on some of the forefathers. There’s really no sign of them letting up, in fact Scourge of Iron has to be among the heaviest songs they’ve ever mustered. People talk about Cannibal’s unchanging approach to death metal as if it’s detrimental to their enjoyment. When the result is an album like this, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I find it astonishing that Cannibal Corpse can continue to release records of new material after all this time. Really, one would think that they had done it all, and in some ways I suppose they have. Their saving grace, however, comes in the form of a seemingly endless supply of ideas of how to torture and murder people, and the ability to expand upon their already well-established sound. Oddly, coming with their longevity is the ability to derive influences from their previous work. Musically, the content of Torture is something like a fusion of the likes of Kill and Evisceration Plague with their releases from Gallery of Suicide through Gore Obsessed.
I have no doubt that the above description sounds downright strange to many. Honestly, I think it sounds strange, too. Although the sound you get out of this record is signature Cannibal Corpse, the blend of styles is like nothing they've done before. Whereas Kill and Evisceration Plague seemed to be more focused on aggression and technicality, the band's releases at the end of the last millennium showcased their ability to sound creepy and sickening while remaining firmly in their death metal roots. Torture seems to be the result of combining the sounds of those two eras. The instrumental passages vary between blistering and crawling in pace, and between violent and foreboding in tone. Lyrically and aesthetically, this is the most disgusting album the band has released since The Wretched Spawn, but features a tactfully restrained vocal performance so as to put more emphasis on the instrumentation.
The production quality is also unlike anything the band has done before, featuring an extraordinarily heavy dose of bass and a bizarre, distant buzz for the guitars. The production is not as clean and sterile as, say, Kill, but it works in the band's benefit by making them sound less like a threshing machine and more like an actual band. The change in production style is evident from the very beginning. Demented Aggression leads off the album by getting directly to the the point in demonstrating the changes in style and tone, yet still maintaining death metal brutality throughout.
Interestingly, the band opted against having the usual crusher as the second track on the album, and instead the opener is followed by two slower, mid-paced tracks, both heavy on groove. Sarcophagic Frenzy is the faster of the two, featuring classic lyrics about eating people and steady, churning riffs. Scourge of Iron, the latter and slower of the two, is the song that most fully demonstrates the tonal focus of the album. The slow, chugging main riff of the song is highly atypical of the band, reminiscent of the odd title track from the previous album and the excellent instrumental From Skin to Liquid, released more than a decade prior. The similarities between this album and Gallery of Suicide can really be heard here, with Scourge of Iron producing the same sickening and unsettling overtones as did many of the tracks on Gallery. I, for one, really like it.
The mandatory crushing track on this album is Encased in Concrete, and to be blunt, it's outstanding. The lead that opens the song is phenomenal. The pace is unrelenting, the riffs make you want to bang your head until it falls off, but most importantly, the song doesn't drown in its own technicality like many Cannibal Corpse songs in recent years. The chorus is memorable, and riff underlying it is effective but simple enough that one can easily recall it, in many ways the antithesis of songs such as Frantic Disembowelment. Of what remains on the album, the track which stands out to me the most is Intestinal Crank, which in my opinion wins the title for the most sickening song Cannibal Corpse has produced in nearly ten years. Again, this song features the same sickly overtones characteristic of Gallery of Suicide, but mixed with outright brutality. The result is simply glorious.
The album has few downsides, the only one immediately coming to mind being the inanity of some of the lyrics. Torn Through is the biggest offender, which unfortunately concludes the album on a bad note with the ridiculous kill countdown lyrics. If what we received here was the best that the band could do, I would much rather have simply had the remainder of the song be instrumental and maybe feature a solo or two. The other notable offender is As Deep As the Knife Will Go, which has a less-than-compelling chorus tracked over a rather dull tremolo riff.
Ultimately, Torture is a good album. I might even go as far to say that it's a very good album, but I think that might be slightly overkill. It's not an all-time great, but it is completely solid and respectable. Most notably, it features a minor shift in sound for the band, one that was much-needed and executed exceptionally well. I certainly hope that these guys have another record or two left in them, and until then, I'll enjoy my nightmares about having my intestines ripped out with a winch.
I fucking love Cannibal Corpse, and it pisses me off when people shun them due to their popularity. Mini outburst aside, Torture is Cannibal Corpse's bloody twelfth full-length. As with the last two or three albums the band haven't really added anything new to their sound, but as far as I'm concerned they don't really need to. Corpsegrinder and the boys have continued to hone in and refine their sound, to the point now where it's business as usual, it's just very fortunate business as usual results in complete massacre. Time to ready the neck-brace...
Gut-busting riffing, Slayer-style breakdowns, lunatic trem riffs, powerful growls, chest-smashing drumming, and spleen-rupturing bass guitars; everything you would want from a Cannibal Corpse album is here in spades. Tracks such as "Sarcophagic Frenzy" and "Encased in Concrete" are perfect examples of the modern day Cannibal Corpse sound, and both smashing examples of US death metal, and to an extent the brutal strand of the genre. There's a nigh on surprise in "Followed Home Then Killed" that merges a creepy atmosphere with some This Godless Endeavor style bad-assery, making for an undoubted highlight. The following "The Strangulation Chair" stands as another highlight, with some mind-ruining guitar riffs, and is generally just an awesome cut.
The album isn't without flaw, with "Scourge of Iron" being a little too heavy on the groove, which does disrupt the flow early on. I also think they could have snipped a couple of minutes here and there, maybe down to a nice 35-40 minute affair, although that really is nit-picking. All in all, Torture is an ace album by one of the genre's masters. Fans of the band are going to love this, and most level-headed death metal fans will get a fair amount of mileage here. If you're the type to focus all your efforts on finding the most obscure, underground death metal which really just sounds like a poor man's version of this band then you know where the door is. Recommended!
Originally written for http://www.metalcrypt.com
There was a time when listening to a Cannibal Corpse album was exciting. There was a time when every song these guys recorded epitomized brutality and everything death metal was supposed to be about. But those days are long gone.
I don't doubt their musicianship. I don't doubt their ability to write riffs and play fast, but this album feels like another missed opportunity.
After listening to it, you can't help but feel that you just listened to pretty much the same song played 12 different times. There is barely anything that stands out. Torture simply lacks truly memorable tunes. It feels as if the band is merely going through the motions (again) and reusing the same tempos and riffs and lyrics over and over and over again.
It's all way too predictable. If you're an old school Cannibal Corpse fan and have listened to every single album they've made, you will find yourself wondering whatever happened to this band.
At some point in their careers, they just lost whatever it is they had that helped them write amazing and brutal albums such as Tomb of the Mutilated and Butchered at Birth.
Now, I know there are only so many ways you can write about killing people in horrible ways, raping corpses and eating their brains. That is why I've always thought that it must be really hard keeping your music sounding fresh after so many years of recording albums. But Cannibal Corpse lyrics have lacked originality and freshness for way too long. And that is one of the biggest pet peeves I have with their recent efforts. It's as if they only dedicated 10 minutes to the lyrics and were happy with saying the same thing over and over again. Yes, yes. We know, you kill your victim, then rape her, and then eat her guts. We've heard those songs before. It's no longer interesting. When most of your songs are about killing people in disgusting ways, you no longer achieve what you originally set out to do. You no longer scare anyone. (Yawn).
The music in the album is also a huge problem, because they're playing in automatic pilot. You don't feel they believe in what they're playing anymore. You don't feel they're really excited about being in a death metal band. You get the impression they're just doing the job they were hired to do and that's it. You don't feel they want to kick your ass anymore.
This album just feels like Cannibal Corpse minus the spirit, minus evilness.
"Torture" marks Cannibal Corpse’s 12th album of relentless, pounding death metal. It is also their third album with the same lineup and the third album with Hate Eternal mastermind, Erik Rutan, handling the production. In fact, before I can get to the songs, I have to mention how great this record sounds. This is easily the best production I’ve heard on any death metal record. Every instrument is clear, and I don’t think Alex Webster’s bass has ever sounded so good. The bass drums are thunderous, and the snare doesn’t overpower the rest of the band. As much as I love the work Scott Burns has done for this band, I think Erik Rutan is the better choice.
The easiest way to describe this album is that it’s a cross between the last two albums and Vile: heavy, punishing, and extremely technical. There really aren’t any major differences between the last few albums except for the increased technicality. This is most obvious in one of my favorite tracks, “The Strangulation Chair”. The first half of the song plays out like a normal Cannibal Corpse song, until Alex Webster decides to unleash one of the mightiest bass interludes in existence. After this, you can hear him noodling around for the rest of the track. Another standout is “Scourge of Iron”, which is reminiscent of Gallery of Suicide: slow and crushing, except with good production this time. “As Deep As The Knife Will Go” might just be Cannibal Corpse’s catchiest song ever and is one track I expect to be in their live set for a long time to come. Likewise, “Intestinal Crank” has an awesome chorus and is another track that shouldn’t be overlooked. The rest of the tracks range from amazing (“Rabid, “Demented Aggression”, and “Encased in Concrete”) to enjoyable but not mindblowing. This band really can’t write a bad song, and this album is yet another testament to that fact.
As you might expect with a Cannibal record, every musician does a great job. Corpsegrinder sounds as brutal as ever, although he doesn’t seem to do as many high screams as he used to. Both guitarists do a great job with handling the ridiculous galloping rhythms (see: “Rabid”) and relentless tremolo picking. I was a little let down by the lead playing because it seems a little predictable, but it doesn't really hurt the album. Alex Webster’s greatness doesn’t need to be re-iterated, but I’ll say it again anyways: he is a god, especially on this album. As for drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz, I’ve always enjoyed his drumming, and this album isn’t an exception. There isn’t a ton of blasting, but there’s an endless amount of double bass, and certainly more fills than in the past.
Ultimately, Cannibal Corpse has delivered another album worthy of purchasing. The band seems to be on a pretty good streak of albums, and "Torture" is the best of the last three. It is a bit more distinct because of its technicality, but it is another solid record.
“As Deep As The Knife Will Go”
“The Strangulation Chair”
Originally written for http://skullfracturingmetal.blogspot.com/
Having recently seen Cannibal Corpse live (and not died), you might be tempted to claim that I'm biased to the first death metal band I ever did hear (and survived). And you'd be right. I was that guy who ran to HMV before school to buy this album and collecting some points on my PureHMV card. But that doesn't stop this album being amazing. For one thing, Rob Barrett wrote more than one song this time around. That's right, he contributed both music and lyrics to 2 songs and wrote the music to a third with lyrics penned by Paul with the unspellable last name. Why is this a good thing? Because I like his songs, that's why.
Corpsegrinder doesn't actually do one of his trademark long-assed screams on this album. Not one. Oh sure, he holds a couple of words for a few seconds but don't expect another 'Priests of Sodom'. He stays pretty much in his raspy midrange for the duration, which is just about comprehendable without lyrics, expect when he ingests some speed and powers through the lyrics, which are pretty much standard Corpse gore lyrics. There are a few examples of catchy vocal hooks and memorable lines, such as 'Torn Through' and 'As Deep as the Knife Will Go.' George also layers the vocals Glen Benton-style on 'Crucifier Avenger' and 'Rabid' for a demonic assualt, which are very enjoyable.
Alex Webster has always been a brilliant bassist. Any first-time listener of 'Hammer Smashed Face' will be forced to change their underwear everytime they rave to you, the hardened fan, of that bass interlude. And Alex also sticks another one of his unaided crawly basslines on 'The Strangulation Chair,' which he wrote himself. A case of ego-stroking? At any rate, the bass has an undeniable presence on the album, as with most of CC's output. The bass has a clear pop when it plays by itself, but is the sonic anchor when the guitars are on the go.
The guitars are expertly handled by Rob and Pat, who appear to have access to Satan's endless sack of riffs. There are a lot of thrashy grooves on the album, which play havoc with the neck, as well as the faster, more technical riffing that has become the band's trademark since 'Frantic Disembowlment.' And then there is 'Scourge of Iron.' The intro of the song is deceptively fast before cutting short and a slow chug begins. At this point, you gain the ability to windmill like Corpsegrinder as the guitars continue with the crushing riff. The solos have also become a lot more coherent, although they still retain the chaotic feel that are Cannibal Corpse's calling card. Interestingly, Rob solos a lot more on this album, which are a different style to Pat's more technical approach. There is also another little guitar duel on 'Intestinal Crank,' which doesn't happen often on CC albums. And to round off on examples of some new developments, 'Followed Home Then Killed' features some clean arpeggiated chords in the intro, over the top of heavy chord strikes, which harks back to 'Ecstasy in Decay.'
Ah, the drums. Paul keeps the beat, death metal style. I won't fully address the endless cries of his stubborness to try anything new, because frankly, no one cares. They don't detract from the listening experience. There are some bouncy tom rolls in certain songs that have a happy gallop to it, but for the most part, it is blast beats away, with fills sometimes taking place to stop the song rotting. On 'Scourge of Iron,' there is even a slow snare-bass stomp to keep the song going, which may frighten listeners if they've never heard of rock n roll.
Erik Rutan once again lends his production skills to produce this albunm. Like Cameron Webb did to Motorhead, the sound of 'Torture' is less unique, because it is 'Evisceration Plague Mk 2' in terms of production. Personally, I don't think that is a bad thing because the band sounds as though they will tie you up and pour concrete on you (and you won't survive).
In conclusion, Cannibal Corpse strikes again. I welcome our rotting overlords. I would normally have prepared a witty metaphor to round off this review but I've been too busy surviving.
(I bet you regret that).
I count myself among a number of people who were skeptical of this album based off the derivative and pretty flawed single that was marched out about a month or so ago in “Demented Aggression”. Self-plagiarism has been Cannibal Corpse’s stock and trade for several years now, but they’d always carried it fairly well by delivering a largely consistent quality of produce. But what greeted my ears a short while back that also happens to be the lead off song of this 12th album was a haggard, lackluster, almost outright clumsy attempt to turn the clock back a few years. The production was off, Corpsegrinder’s vocals came off tired and hoarse, and staleness was the basic order of the 3 minute duration.
However, the bulk of “Torture” is a bit of a grower, and despite some pretty glaring flaws still manages to deliver in spite of itself. The most difficult thing to get past is the guitar sound, which goes way overboard on the compressed distortion and sludgy bass tone and actually manages to accomplish the exact opposite extreme of what plagued “Butchered At Birth”, namely a sharp collection of metallic tin. A good analogy would be to the villain of the popular “Hatchet” movies Victor Crowley, being all meat and muscles and little else. Granted, this band is not really known for being much more than a one-trick pony, but here the auditory results lack any sense of tact or buildup in terror.
Amid the sea of non-metaphorical references of blood-drenched mayhem out of a slasher-flick minus the character development is actually an impressive collection of riffs and solos which salvages a weak exterior. “Intestinal Crank” and “Encased In Concrete” are early examples in this collection to play the chaotic chromatic game, firing forth a mess of dissonant tones , strung together like a monument of cadaver parts and cauterized with a blast of combusting lead guitar lines that reach all the way back to “Eaten Back To Life”. There’s also a heavy amount of gallop happy riffing on here, as heard on “The Strangulation Chair” and some all out speed thrashing as on “Rabid” that actually lean back musically to the finer moments of Chris Barnes’ tenure with the band.
The final impression left by this album is somewhat confuted, as if they wanted to get back to their roots yet still be overtly modern. If the guitar sound had been a bit less obnoxiously low end and the vocals a bit less throaty and scratchy, this album might have edged out “Kill” and been the best thing put out in about 12 years. The good definitely outweighs the bad and the cadavers are clearly convulsing in their usually grim fashion. But much like the latter sequels in the “Saw” series, it gets a bit too predictable for its own good and comparisons to past work become inescapably linked to the first impression it leaves. Another great album is definitely not outside the realm of possibility for this band, but they’ve come up just a tad bit short of that here.
Some people like to complain about Cannibal Corpse being stale and releasing the same album repeatedly. Yet every genre has these bands, and needs them I might add. They're the bands you can count on. The same people who complain about Cannibal Corpse's reliable style would probably complain just as much if the band did change its sound. Having said that, I don't believe that the band is infallible. While the band's style remains the same, the quality of its albums does not. Cannibal Corpse definitely slipped during the early 2000's. After phoning it in for a while, Kill came along and started to set things straight in 2006. Then in 2009, Evisceration Plague restored more of the band's former glory. Cannibal Corpse's latest exercise in brutality, Torture, continues this path of improvement and even throws us a few curve balls here and there.
On Torture the band seems as if it is trying to expand its style while staying within the confines of the classic Cannibal Corpse sound. This is not an easy task, but Cannibal pulls it off on Torture. One of the most immediately noticeable improvements is in the quality of the songs. Each track is well-written and feels more thought-out than other recent Cannibal albums. There's not a throwaway track in the bunch. While Torture has plenty of fast tunes ("Demented Aggression" and "Encased in Concrete" for example), the band takes the tempo to a new level of slowness in some instances. "Scourge of Iron" is the prime example of this. The song's slow grooves are a refreshing change that is sure to get fans' heads nodding along while their faces contort into grimaces of the "fuck yeah, this rules" persuasion. Like the songs themselves, the guitar solos on Torture sound more composed and thought-out this time around. As a result, the leads are more memorable than usual. Several are downright catchy. The rhythm guitar work has plenty of noteworthy moments too. While the guitar riffs are mostly what we've come to expect from Cannibal, there are some more technical than expected moments in songs like "Intestinal Crank." There are also some other uncharacteristic occurrences like the clean, watery guitar chords in "Followed Home Then Killed." Some of these differences are minute, but they are there for those who look closely. Of course, Corpsegrinder sticks to his usual vocal style, and Alex Webster's bass playing is impressive as always. Although, there is probably a larger quantity of awesome bass noodling on this album than we are accustomed to. The drumming is also what one would expect to hear on a Corpse album, but Mazurkiewicz has certainly tightened up his playing. There are some nice drum fills throughout the album that show he has been honing his skills.
With its solid, memorable songs and a little welcome variety, Torture just might be the best Corpsegrinder era album since 1996's Vile. If not, it's certainly the band's best album in a decade. Every Cannibal Corpse album features at least one or two songs that are destined to be concert favorites, but Torture is a winner from start to finish. I have to say I never would have guessed that I would be rating a new Cannibal Corpse album so highly. Fans who have stuck by the band all of these years will love Torture. This album may even win over a few doubters. As the killing spree enters its twenty-third year, it's great to see that the guys in Cannibal Corpse still have an album like Torture in them.
Originally written for http://www.metalpsalter.com
Still not convinced Cannibal Corpse is one of the most relevant and powerful veterans in death metal? Well then, here's "Torture." Alex Webster said the band always tries to give each tune its own unique identity. And you know, a lot of critics tend to attack the songwriting and originality of Cannibal Corpse because a voluminous amount of their themes usually overlap, which I never thought was a bad thing; they still pumped out unfailing, rich material that appealed to some degree of individualism. With "Torture," Cannibal Corpse has penned probably the most attractive collection of hacking madness since George Fisher joined the squad. Not only do the songs ride a wider spectrum of originality, the technicality and prose have been upgraded into a psychotic feat of ravenous death metal chewing and gnawing on the severed limbs of the weak.
I guess the best thing about Cannibal Corpse is that you always know what the band has up its undead sleeves, and there's really no deviation from the creed they've been flexing since Fisher joined the band here. The main staples of the group are still connected—Paul Mazurkiewicz's stylish percussion, Fisher's low growls and high shrieks, Webster's technical bass playing, etc.—with little altered from "Evisceration Plague." A proper continuation of this brand of modern death metal, if there ever was one. However, the riffs, grooves, and overall ideas demonstrated throughout "Torture" are dazzlingly memorable, and every tune truly stands alone. Why? Well, the dozen acts of depravity smash your head in the concrete and walk away; quick and fierce scalpers pumping bloodthirsty riffs and savage rhythms like any acceptable death metal offering should. More importantly, the overall songwriting is simply outstanding. The amount of riffs and patterns stuffed into "Torture" makes the record almost hard to follow at times because there's so many noteworthy sections, but it never rots and the maniacal listener will undoubtedly enjoy the band's arsenal of hooks and castrating heaviness.
In sum, "Torture" is just like "Kill," "Bloodthirst," and "Evisceration Plague" in terms of its style and the members' unique performances, but there's simply so much more intensity and dynamic qualities than really any of their previous works. For example, "The Strangulation Chair" features some well-timed transitions and a bass lead lurching somewhere in its chambers; not a foreign purge by Cannibal Corpse standards. However, the way the bass lead is executed (along with the other Cannibal Corpse qualities in general) is incredibly memorable and durable. "Demented Aggression" and "Scourge of Iron" together represent the finest facets of this timeless band with their sinister riffs and beating rhythms, and I'd proudly call these two some of the finest Cannibal Corpse cuts ever. They get a little thrashy during "Crucifer Avenged," another keeper, and make the relentless grooves throughout "Cage...Contorted" bulge like fragments of a shattered clavicle protruding through flesh. Intense and frenzied, torture has never been so entertaining!
Needless to say, "Torture" is probably the finest Cannibal Corpse album released with Corpsegrinder on vocals and debatably the most consistent and relevant record produced during their cannibalistic killing spree. Every tendon is tweaked beyond the power of the group's material preceding this monumental display of butchery; Cannibal Corpse is more ambitious than ever here. There'll be some detractors trying to feed the masses with some bull about "Torture" sounding like every other Corpsegrinder-era release or whatever, but these hecklers are clueless and probably think Six Feet Under is the "most bestest" death metal group ever. Far from the case, I'm afraid. Grab your intestinal crank and get ready for some old-fashioned carnage straight from the masters of gore-themed death metal!
This review was written for: www.Thrashpit.com
There's a strange cycle I often see in metal press, especially reviews and promotions in which the stars will align and suddenly everyone will greet some new release with exclamations like 'This is the best (insert popular band name) album since (insert the name of some high profile cult classic)' or 'Finally, a return to form!', when in truth many of those same people were never paying attention to what was happening in the meantime, dismissing a lot of what might be great music they would have enjoyed in blissful, willful ignorance. This is very often the case for a band who have an important lineup change at some point, probably the singer, and I feel it's true for the mighty Cannibal Corpse, who have endured enormous resistance on the brutal fishing rod since Corpsegrinder took over from the divisive Chris Barnes.
So it's no surprise that lately I've seen the new Corpse album Torture touted with such a huge swath of misinformed praise. It's the greatest thing they've written since The Bleeding! It's the first Cannibal Corpse album with George that doesn't suck! It's a return to the fundamentals that made them such a great band in the first place! Bullshit, maggots. It must be lovely to selectively ignore reality. Have you had excess wax in your ears all this time? Are squirrels storing acorns in there? Maybe you left those plugs in after that loud gig in 1996, and they've become ingrown? Now, I'm not trying to knock Torture. It's a fine record, and a lot of damned fun in the Cannibal Corpse tradition, but there is nothing here that wasn't already present on the last 5-6 albums and in fact the songs themselves don't hold the same level of intense thrills for me that I found on Evisceration Plague (2009), Gallery of Suicide (1998) or the incredible and unforgettable Bloodthirst which I hold up today as one of my favorite USDM albums to date.
Torture is business as usual, no doubt, but it just happens that the business of Cannibal Corpse is to beat the everliving shit of you, and considering the band's age relative to the many younger acts constantly sprouting up in the brutal death or old school niches, it's impressive that they are still capable of so much boundless energy. The rhythm section here is incredible, Paul Mazurkiewicz battering away like he were a 19 year old who just snorted some a few lines before hitting the studio, and Alex Webster's bass-lines are as thick, acrobatic and uncompromising as ever: basically the blueprint for the low-end adept who doesn't wish to be known for serving as mere support for the guitars. Barrett and O'Brien carve out about a million riffs on this thing: whether they be old school tremolo bursts, thrashing palm muted frenzies, zombie grooves or grinding hybrids of the three, there is always something happening, and Corpsegrinder's blunt and percussive delivery binds it all into a vortex of pummeling force.
The production is comparable to the last two albums, only mildly more bassy, rounded and down to earth, less cutting in the lead sequences. Pacing is superb, with a pair of blitz abominations up front ("Demented Aggression" and "Sarcophagic Frenzy") that lead into the neanderthal groove and swagger of "Scourge of Iron". Favorites for me are definitely "Followed Home then Killed" which has an amazing, surgical thrashing flow to its guitar progressions that is among the best the band have written in the past decade, or "The Strangulation Choir" which plays with a lot of spiking dynamics and a level of measured complexity that proves once again these guys are one of the better semi-technical outfits in the genre who never go quite overboard in any crass attempt to impress anyone. Other meaty, meandering matrices of mosh include "Intestinal Crank", "Crucifier Avenged", "Caged...Contorted" and the spurious, psycho finale "Rabid".
If anything, I hope this album will finally silence the doubters who have for years been criticizing the band as some sort of faceless, generic death metal band. For fuck's sake, Cannibal Corpse helped to create and mold the entire scene, so it's to their absolute credit that they've never really allowed it to outpace them. Torture is quality, and consistency, and possesses the same level of personality as KILL or Evisceration Plague or any of their great albums. A few of the songs here will easily make it into their set list and remain there for years to come. About the worst I could say for the album would be that it was 'more of the same', but that really only serves as a detriment when the 'same' is not about to break my neck and then make me lie paralyzed and helpless while it devours my wife, children, neighbors, and mailman. And that's good enough for me.