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This was my first Cannibal Corpse album, though I had already purchased SFU's "Maximum Violence," so I was thoroughly enmeshed in the Barnes/Fisher debate already. The conclusion I come to now is that there is not a huge difference between the two, I mean, Jim Carrey could front Cannibal Corpse and it wouldn't matter. Oh wait, he did.
All that garbage aside, this album is fun to listen to. It is not exceptionally great, and there certainly are some skipworthy filler tracks, but hey, what would a Corpse album be without 'em? The guitars are fast as hell, the bass chugs along, the drums pummel the abovementioned instruments into the back of the mix, and Georgie rasps and growls along through the generally gore-obsessed lyrics.
I prefer Fisher's vocal stylings on "Gallery," where he seems to pick up some sort of rhythm, but they get the job done here. And it is nice to hear the band slow down a bit from time to time, like on my personal favorite 'Bloodlands," which has a plodding, atmospheric feel that fits well with the lyrics of being stranded in a mysterious desert. And it is quite entertaining to read along as the protagonist is sucked into a river of cadavers, and the music speeds up to accompany his drowning. Family fun if I've ever heard it.
Personal favorites are "Devoured by Vermin," a great way to open the album with blistering speed, "Disfigured,' which a strange melodic sense and good self - torture lyrics, the aforementioned "Bloodlands," the appropriate and excellent instrumental "Relentless Beating" (throw this one on, put on repeat, head to your local corporate chain store, do what comes naturally), and "Orgasm Through Torture," valuable if only for showing the lyrics to your friends, parents, local clergy, etc.
I could do without the racist leanings of "Absolute Hatred," and like I said, there is some filler, but check out the nasty cover art, crank up "Bloodlands," and enjoy this standard Cannibal Corpse release.