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Hey, let's compare this to everything else - 90%

Mr Ferocious, March 17th, 2012

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).