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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