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extremely mediocre - 49%

Noktorn, January 15th, 2010

I suppose the most profound thing I can say about this album that isn't obvious is that I guess this is one of Cannibal Corpse's more outwardly technical albums; yeah, releases like 'Kill' have a lot of complex riffing, but not much of it is quite as spastic and in-your-face as this album. Coming off of the groove-oriented (to a fault) 'The Bleeding', this might be a little jarring when facing the albums back-to-back; I guess in an effort to distance themselves from Six Feet Under they decided to do the exact opposite and use new vocalist Corpsegrinder to that effect by putting him in a very rhythmically-minded position as far as vocal patterns go.

This is not the best Fisher-era album by a long shot; the songs tend to meander just about every way except interesting and memorable ones and while there are tons of riffs none of them really stick to your mind. The rather sporadic inclusion of tracks from this release in live sets from the band says a lot; apart from 'Devoured By Vermin' and maybe 'Puncture Wound Massacre' you don't see a lot of this release heralded as classic by even Cannibal Corpse die-hards, and even those two tracks seem to sort of win by default since they're the most focused. The pretty dry production doesn't help things either though I figure that's par for Cannibal Corpse until their later era; it just magnifies the stillness of the songs and doesn't really give anything the proper punch. Too many mids I think.

The album is absolutely listenable but it's hard for me to come up with a reason why I'd really want to listen to it; technical Cannibal Corpse is better executed later on in their career and the songwriting itself leaves a lot to be desired. There's not even a lot of throwaway memorable riffs; I guess 'Bloodlands' is the best song overall since it's a little more atmospheric and interesting than the others but of course that's like winning a least-fat Lifetime viewer contest. These tracks just lack something essential to Cannibal Corpse; they're kind of spiritless and grey which is the exact last thing you want from a death metal album.

I guess the cover art is more ridiculous than usual, with the penis and all. Maybe that counts for something.