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About as plain as they get - 70%

Noktorn, February 20th, 2010

This is a notable Cannibal Corpse album because it's the only one where the censored cover is actually better than the original. I mean, which would you really prefer: another bit of standard Locke gore or the much more haunting and weirdly harrowing depiction of the album's symbolic creature on the censored version? There's no contest in my mind.

Above and beyond that, this is perhaps the most archetypal Corpsegrinder album out there. It pretty accurately sums up the latter part of Cannibal Corpse's career: fairly technical, pummeling death metal that doesn't completely excise its oldschool thrash influences and is in many ways more rocklike than your usual death metal band owing to its verse/chorus song structures. In a lot of ways, Corpsegrinder himself appears to be the leading instrument, his vocal rhythms clashing brutally with the guitars and drums, like he's singing a completely different song than the instrumental track he's over. This isn't a particularly unusual convention in Cannibal Corpse but it's more pronounced here; that's really the only thing that distinguishes this album from the others of the same era, apart from the fact that when you think of Corpsegrinder-era Cannibal Corpse, this is the music you hear in your head.

There's nothing really wrong with this album; the production is good, the songs are very listenable and accessible, it's not a slog like 'Vile' was. At the same time, 'Pounded Into Dust' is about the only song I can really remember after the CD is off, being a traditional pummeling Cannibal Corpse opener on par with most others. It's really as conventional as Cannibal Corpse gets; not really a problem, but certainly this is no match to the follow-up album, 'Gore Obsessed', possibly the band's most underrated release. A lot of dedicated Cannibal Corpse fans suggest that this is a fantastic, underrated album, but I don't really see it: it's as middle-of-the-road as the band gets and doesn't really offer a lot in repeated listens.

Still, if you like Cannibal Corpse's traditional style, there's no reason not to get this. The songs are solid if not particularly memorable and there's a thousand more known album which are worth much less than whatever you'll pay for this.