Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2019
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

It rules, you nerds - 88%

Acrobat, January 25th, 2018
Written based on this version: 1990, CD, Metal Blade Records

Cannibal Corpse aren't a band I've been into for a long time but I suppose it's of note that, of all the big name death metal bands, it was Cannibal who took me the longest to get into. In a weird way, for the genre's biggest band, their music is often strangely grim and non-catchy (see: the majority of their second and third albums) and, to an untrained ear, it sounds a lot more like later, crappier bands than, say, Morbid Angel or Obituary (I mean, surely Barnes's work on The Bleeding inspired a lot of the more comical approaches to extreme metal vocals and their music tends to be more typically death metal than a lot of the bands that preceeded them). I think that perhaps, had I been introduced to this album, Cannibal would have entered my musical diet much earlier.

There's something just downright depraved about Cannibal Corpse's Barnes era, though, (I still haven't got into any of the Corpsegrinder stuff, bite me); it's not the clinical surgical approach to death of, say, Carcass nor is it more otherworldly ala Suffocation or Morbid Angel; it's corporeal and sweaty. It's the bloody slab rather than the clean cut of a scalpel. The whole band sound like they're barely literate troglodytes with monobrows and hairy palms. It's sodden with blood and roughly hewn in the extreme - it rhymes "liver" with "dinner", for frigg's sake - and Eaten Back to Life, due to its thrashy nature, proves a little embryonic in its savagery even for some Cannibal Corpse fans.


C'mon, there's something gloriously stupid about this that appeals to the baser instincts of a death metal fan. It sounds like those horror films that are still valued for their horrid extremity rather than for subtle characterisation. Its grimy, papery production, churning rhythms married with doomy ominous chords and enthusiastic, simple percussion all just work brilliantly well in this context. Some might see these as flaws - Mazurkiewicz's drumming is not as technically complex as, say, Pete Sandoval's and Barnes is an acquired taste - but they're both highly appropriate for the style. Despite its status as Cannibal's "thrash" album I struggle to think of many more representative death metal albums. It's just the atmosphere, the stench, the sweat, the vile, inbred creature hacking through bone in the back room... It stinks, it stinks, it stinks.

Honestly, to call this thrash is to show a complete disregard for what thrash was and what death metal, in its earlier form, was. Sure, 'Scattered Remains Splattered Brains' starts with the kind of riff Dark Angel wished they wrote but its execution is so ferverently death-like that it makes me wish that people used genres in a more onomatopoeiac sense. It's sounds like death metal to me, damn. I mean, if you want to hear what a death-like thrash metal album sounds like listen to, say, the first Incubus album 'Serpent Temptation'. It's fun stuff, too, but there's no doubt that this belongs alongside the likes of, say, Deceased, Impetigo and Autopsy in terms of sickness rather than, say, Kreator, Sodom and Dark Angel.

I was thinking the other day "Are there any bad death metal debut albums?" and, to be honest, at least among the more well-known bands of the genre, I can't think of any. This is certainly my favourite Cannibal album. I really enjoy The Bleeding, too, but it tends to veer towards more of the "dodgy rape lyrics and Barnes sounding like a parody of himself", which limits my enjoyment somewhat. So, yes, this one is their finest moment in blood-sodden, ugly, tyrannical grim horror and all of those are things you want from death metal. Go forth, purchase, experience death metal.