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More fresh meat - 78%

gasmask_colostomy, November 6th, 2018

It’s likely that a fan of Cannibal Corpse could pick up any of the band’s albums, play any song from it, and end up being pretty satisfied with what they hear. That says a lot about the consistency of the Americans, as well as the tastes of most death metal fans, who will be sated as long as there is brutal, fast riffing with plenty of energy and roared lyrics telling gruesome tales. As far as that description goes, ‘Only One Will Die’ should be a very reassuring opening track for the hungry hordes, who will take to the fourteenth Cannibal Corpse album just as they did the others.

George ‘Corpsegrinder’ Fisher is his usual brutish self, roaring out the titles of ‘Heads Shoveled Off’ and ‘Shedding My Human Skin’ as point-blank hooks, while details about what happens to the “hideous ichor dripping from the coffin” and “decaying torn off penises” that he sings about shall be spared in case you read this at lunchtime. Old stages Paul Mazurkiewicz and Alex Webster ensure that the rhythms stay changing and challenging in the midst of savage blasting and low-tuned guitars, besides which the songs run from grimy mid-paced sluggers like ‘Code of the Slashers’ (not a hymn to public urination as the title suggests) to blitzkrieg riff-fests like the title track, as well as structurally morphous heaviness like ‘Scavenger Consuming Death’.

The surprising variety and energy of a band so long in the tooth (2018 marks 30 years of Cannibal Corpse) is the album’s best asset, since these 12 songs rarely repeat themselves, though this is certainly in the same ballpark as recent successes like Torture and A Skeletal Domain, perhaps even standing on the same third base. The five-piece have yet to hit it out of the park in the 21st century and, as such, Cannibal Corpse won’t be converting many new fans, nor are they leading death metal forwards, but Red Before Black shows high quality maintenance of a perennially popular style.

Originally written for Metalegion #3 -

They'll End Your Fucking Life! - 84%

Larry6990, December 19th, 2017
Written based on this version: 2017, CD, Metal Blade Records

Another year, another Cannibal Corpse record. Technically speaking, that’s all this review needs to be to inform any death metal fan of what to expect from Red Before Black. I mean, for God’s sake, since 1990 the East Coasters have been bringing the pain more consistently than a steamroller – and with twice the impact. I’m not entirely convinced there is such thing as a ‘bad’ Cannibal Corpse record; they’re all chunky slabs of brutal death metal with full-on gory imagery and a little technical wizardry sprinkled for taste. 2014’s A Skeletal Domain left us thoroughly satisfied, and 2017’s Red Before Black is going to prove troublesome in describing how exactly it holds its own among CC’s enormous discography. It’s definitely great – but how?

One thing I always give Cannibal Corpse credit for is being inexplicably catchy. Death metal is not a sub-genre renowned for its finger-clicking, hum-along tunes – yet somehow CC have provided us with such memorable numbers as “Kill Or Become” (‘FIRE UP THE CHAINSAAAWWW!’) and, on this new effort, “Code Of The Slashers”. It was an ingenious move releasing this third track as a single; the impactful lines like ‘next thing you know, cold steel on your face!’ and the incredibly satisfying ‘we’ll end your fucking life!’ are sure to go down a storm live, and live on in the CC hall of fame forever. This track also flows brilliantly in terms of music; its crushingly sludge-like opening and closing sections bookending the chaotic maelstrom within. Its precursor, and second single, the title-track, is nowhere near as effective with its songwriting, but possesses its own simplistic charm through the almost primitive vocal patterns.

Webster and co. thrive under the banner of both quality and quantity. Twelve tracks, all between three and five minutes, might seem a bit like overkill for this sub-genre – but as usual, Corpsegrinder’s crew make it a thoroughly pleasant 46 minute journey through a surprisingly varied collection of gory anecdotes. Having now covered almost every method of murder and death imaginable, we are treated to the delightful ‘Open neck holes fester, ravaged by the vultures’ in “Heads Shoveled Off”; and my personal favourite: ‘decaying torn off penises which the men were made to chew and swallow’ in the hilariously-titled “Remaimed”. All in the spirit of fun! The legendary George ‘Corpsegrinder’ Fisher delivers these gross analogies with his undying vocals which only seem to get stronger as the years fail to condemn. Check out the “UUAAGH!” at the start of “Shedding My Human Skin” – I’ll replay that moment ’til death.

Paul Mazurkiewicz’s 30-year performance behind the kit deserves serious kudos. Blasting and grooving his way through Red Before Black, contributing enormously to the chaotic atmosphere this album has over the others. Sometimes fills feel rushed, or blasts feel slightly off-kilter – it’s a rollercoaster at points. Sure, the rapid-fire gallops of “Only One Will Die” and “In The Midst Of Ruin” showcase the brutal tendencies to a tee. But the more groove-oriented “Corpus Delicti” and “Firestorm Vengeance” are where you’ll find that your head wants to involuntarily detach itself from your body due to the sheer weight of that slamming guitar tone and the hulking riffs. Vicious, headbangable, accessible (as far as death metal goes) and embodying that tongue-in-cheek horror that we all love so much, Red Before Black is another notch in the Cannibal Corpse coffin. You know what it’s going to sound like. Just listen, enjoy, and wait for the next one!

Like a well oiled machine - 78%

MrMetalpants, December 2nd, 2017
Written based on this version: 2017, CD, Metal Blade Records

The album art and the video for the first single ("Code of the Slashers") could use some work. The album art is goofy and I just generally don't like the art style. The video was cheaply done and a bit corny and the song itself was only a bit above average. Fortunately these early factors were not an indicator of the whole like I was initially fearing. Let's dig in.

The album itself rides along steadily at a medium pace, only occasionally breaking that speed. This produces a great flow and unity in the album. Unfortunately, it also produces the feeling of sameness. This is especially noticeable right in the middle of the album. From "Firestorm Vengeance" to "Scavenger Consuming Death", it just feels like one big composition in many parts. They are not outright bad songs, they just run together a bit too much to really enjoy that section. I have to point out that the lyrics are all what you'd expect from them, except for "Only One Will Die". Straight-up silly lyrics on that one. It's odd, but my favorite tracks are the 2nd and 3rd from the beginning and 2nd and 3rd from the end. Those songs have the most variation and sound the most unique, though "Code of the Slashers" took some time to grow on me.

The standout instrument of the album here for me is the lead guitar section. The solos specifically revitalize the bands lead guitar section. Be it part of Erik Rutan's producing or the guitarist himself messing with his tones, but the sound alone of a lot these lead parts is so unique in itself. The solos would still be interesting even with a standard guitar tone. It never gets overly noodley or rely too much on the whammy bar (Two things I think are often over-used in guitar solos). The downside is that my favorite solo on the album ended up being a contribution solo by Erik Rutan on "In the Midst of Ruin". The bass is powerful but doesn't get many opportunities to shine on it's own, unfortunately. Alex is amazing when he gets the spotlight but does well in the background. He helps insurmountably with bringing the heavy on "Remaimed". As a whole, this album is an extremely heavy CC release, regardless of the medium tempo. Normally they get heavy when it's slowed down but do so just fine here given the regularly faster tempos. The drums are standard CC fare with only a few tricks up Paul's sleeve. I should note here that the album sounds great. The quality and clarity of each instrument is noticeable, so if you have a great sound system/headphones then you should be in for a treat.

Overall this is 100% of CC's raw material at firing on all cylinders, for better or worse. If you liked the style they were cultivating on the past couple releases then you may be disappointed in a return to simplicity and relying to much on their signature sound. For the past decade or so of releases, it is my least favorite but not by a lot. Their previous release, Skeletal Domain, was my least favorite until this, so hopefully this does not signal a trend that they would produce something unlistenable. Granted, if they keep releasing what is essentially this album over and over, I'd be fine with that too.

Best tracks:
--In the Midst of Ruin
--Destroyed without a Trace
--Red Before Black
--Code of the Slashers

Technical skill: 72% Originality: 52% Song writing: 68% Album structure: 86% Production: 89%

Cannibal Corpse - Red Before Black - 90%

Daemonium_CC, November 22nd, 2017
Written based on this version: 2017, 2CD, Metal Blade Records (Digipak, Limited edition)

Cannibal Corpse are back with their fourteenth full length album, and unlike other bands who may still be struggling to find their own feet and sound, the boys from Buffalo have no problems whatsoever in this regard. Their sound is set in stone. Has been set in stone for ages. For the past five albums, Cannibal Corpse has merely been perfecting it.

I’m happy to report that there have not been any line up changes. The Corpse line up is one of the best in death metal; what I consider to be an all star line up. You have the mighty Corpsegrinder on vocals, Alex Webster on bass, Pat O’Brien and Rob Barrett on guitars, and Paul Mazurkiewicz on drums. While Paul really cannot compete with many of death metals finest drummers on the scene right now, he doesn’t really have to. Because like Cannibal, his style is set in stone as well. It would be hard to imagine a Corpse without him.

One thing I need to get off my chest is that I really dislike the album cover. I’ve seen better and I’ve also seen worse, but it just looks too cartoonish to me. I would have preferred something more brutal, as I don’t think it represents the sound or the songs on the album very well.

The band waste no time and get straight to the point with “Only One Will Die”, and first thing you will notice is that the album sounds superb, sound quality wise. Erik Rutan has done it again, getting everything heavy as fuck and also clear as glass. This was designed to melt the skin right off your bones.

The album is a good mix between slow, groovy Corpse (which I love) and also faster stuff, which I also love. Most of the album is around mid tempo though, which is perfectly fine, as it just makes everything sound so much heavier.

Speaking of heavy, one thing I need to make note of in regards to this album. Some of the songs are tuned down to G#. I don’t know if you know what that means, but basically it means that everything sounds heavy as fuck, to an almost ridiculous degree. Pat is using 14-56 string gauges on this thing for fucks sake. That is just downright mental. On songs like “Firestorm Vengeance” the guitar sound just kicks you right in the face. There’s not a lot that can prepare you for it, it just sounds absolutely sick and filthy.

Performances throughout the album are all top notch. I can tell that Pat has basically tracked almost all of the rhythm guitar parts on this, because they are air lock tight. Corpsegrinder gives another convincing and stellar performance, Alex is well, Alex - the dude is a legend, and he pulls out all stops on this album. Even Paul, who is usually regarded as being the least interesting member of the band, puts in quite a fine performance, changing it up with his drum parts as much as he can. It’s quite refreshing to hear what h does on some of these tracks.

Song writing, as one would expect, is solid. The album grooves, grinds and pummels you for a solid 46 minutes.

While I can and will always appreciate a new Corpse album, were fourteen albums into it now. A part of my brain is wishing that they would try something different. Not crazy different like changing their sound entirely, but perhaps different arrangements or concepts. That said though, there are some very creative lyrical ideas on this disc. “Heads Shoveled Off”? Hell yes. But music wise, after 3-4 songs everything just seems to kind of blend into each other, because there is not enough variety in here to keep you interested for a full 40 minutes. More tempo variations or fucking around with the general flow of the album, as opposed to concentrating on individual songs for example could be an idea. But that said, it’s not my band. But if it were, I’d be exploring some new territory by now.

All in all, this is probably their best offering since 2006’s “Kill”, and that album was an absolute monster. While it’s not as memorable, there are certainly some fine examples of death metal on here, as the mighty Corpse are not known to let down their fans, like ever. You just won’t see it happening.

Overall, this is definitely worth picking up. If you’re a die hard Corpse fan you have this already and love it, as its just really solid, no fucking about death metal. For newer fans, there are some real gems on here and should help convince you that yes, indeed Cannibal Corpse are still as badass as ever.

Just the way we like it! - 85%

grimwinter13, November 20th, 2017

Ahhh...good ol' Cannibal Corpse. If there's one thing about Cannibal Corpse that we love, it's that they've never really budged on their sound or lyrics. For many bands, that may be a bad thing. But Cannibal Corpse, a pioneer in the field of gory, blood-drenched, entrail-entangled death metal (and also a pioneer of brutal death) have been churning out the same skull-crushing shit since the early 90s, and it's worked in their favor. We know what to expect from Cannibal Corpse - they've very rarely disappointed and yet with each album, they still leave room for discussion. "Is it heavier? Is it faster? Are the lyrics gorier?" At this point, the only band who can possibly outdo Cannibal Corpse in this sense is...well, Cannibal Corpse. So really, here's the question we're asking: did Cannibal Corpse achieve yet another level of classic death metal insanity on their fourteenth go-around?

Right off the bat: the album art is FANTASTIC. It's unique in regards to Cannibal Corpse because usually we see the visual carnage from a third-person perspective. But here we have something different: we're seeing the carnage as if we're the victim of a maniac's rampage. 'Staring through the eyes of the dead'. (Haha, pun intended.) In fact, I think this style of album art is even scarier than their old albums. With this new perspective on blood and guts and murder, we get a new perspective of the music. Makes you feel more immersed in the carnage. Love it.

Like any Cannibal album, the first track "Only One Will Die" takes no time to set up. The raging, molten-hot guitar riffs and Mazurkeweicz's blast beats hit right away, shooting off right into the Cannibal Corpse we all know and love. Just from the first track alone, it's obvious that Cannibal Corpse has held nothing back in the brutality department, and this ends up being one of their heaviest albums yet since Kill. But we also get introduced to something fairly new (or fairly infrequent) for Cannibal Corpse: small hints of melody. Many off the riffs are a bit melodic, but not in the sense of a Swedish melodeath band. Think back to many of the choruses on Tomb of the Mutilated - that's exactly what it is! Dark and ominous melodic phrases keep the music brutal while still keeping the listener hooked.

The first two tracks are styled very similarly, and then "Code of the Slashers" kicks in with a slower intro. One thing I've liked about Cannibal Corpse in their Corpsegrinder era is the many influences from slower, sludgier death metal such as Obituary (think "Festering in the Crypt" back in 2004 on The Wretched Spawn). But "Code of the Slashers" doesn't stay this way for too long, because it eventually builds up into another rocket-fast blast beat which takes up most of the rest of the song until it calms down a little again and ends with that same, slow intro riff.

If there's any previous Cannibal album this is really comparable to, it's Kill. As I mentioned before, it's similar in guitar tone and heaviness, but also in the complexity of the riffs. Most of the guitar and bass riffs hold down the same technical-ness of "The Time to KIll Is Now" or "Make Them Suffer". They never stay in one place too long, always moving forward and maintaining a sense of unpredictability.

Corpsegrinder is amazing here as always. Lyrically, he seems to be writing things less specifically gore-based and more concept-based, but still fueled by rage and violence and all that other brutal shit. That's not a complaint though.

So, we got our faces smashed once again! It's awesome, 29 years later and they're still one of the heaviest fucking bands on the planet. They continue to show that they're the kings of death metal, and refuse to back down, slow down, or sell out.

Cannibal Corpse deliver once again - 85%

The Clansman 95, November 9th, 2017

There are only a few bands capable of remaining consistent after nearly 30 years of career. American death metallers Cannibal Corpse are definitely among them. Not only the band's members are some of the most skilled musicians in death metal as a whole (think to the amazing skills of bassist Alex Webster, or the bone-crushing, furious vocals of George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher, for example), they are also excellent songwriters. "Red Before Black" confirms Cannibal Corpse's status as one of the most relevant death metal bands of all time.

"Red Before Black" is nothing drastically different from Cannibal Corpse's previous works: the band just sticks to the same good old gory formula that made them famous, pleasing both fans and critics. This is the album everyone was expecting: downtuned, ominous and heavy riffs, thunderous growled vocals, gory lyrics, blast beats, the band's old-school, typical sound is perfectly recognizable, and although there is almost nothing really innovative or that we haven't heard before from the guys, the ingredients of the Cannibal Corpse recipe are so well-combined that the result is still fresh and tasty.

Most of the songs consist in fast-paced, relentless musical assaults that leave almost no rest to the listener; here and there, we have also slower and even heavier tracks (think to the first single extracted from the album, "Code of the Slashers"). The guitar duo O'Brien-Barret grinds riffs throughout the entire album, providing the typical Slayer-inspired solos all the fans of the band have come to love and appreciate; Corpsegrinder's performance is as consistent and powerful as ever; Paul Mazurkiewicz pounds the drums with the usual fury; there are also a couple of moments where Alex Webster's bass guitar shines too (think to "Scavenger Consuming Death" for example).

All in all, "Red Before Black" is nothing Cannibal Corpse hasn't done before; the fact is that the bands sounds so good and inspired even in 2017, that nobody will ever feel the need for something different than the same slaughterous, old school death metal they are famous for. Once again, Cannibal Corpse haven't failed the expectations, and have released another entertaining and consistent album.

#slashtag Consistency - 80%

autothrall, November 7th, 2017
Written based on this version: 2017, CD, Metal Blade Records

How much is too much of a good thing? For years I've wondered when Cannibal Corpse would finally strike my threshold for redundancy, since they don't exactly offer a lot of variation between studio releases in terms of production, presentation or songwriting. For many, I'd imagine they've already collided into such a barrier years ago, with people still touting their nostalgia for the 'classic' Chris Barnes era recordings, and very little chatter about much that they've put out over the last couple decades, despite a string of consistency and excellence that encompasses works like Gallery of Suicide, Bloodthirst, and several more recent efforts. After hearing the first advance track, "Code of the Slashers", watching the cheesy video and then catching a glimpse of the rather mediocre Vincent Locke artwork here, Corpse's most uninspired cover outside of Kill and Evisceration Plague (both of which I enjoyed a great deal anyway), I did not have high expectations for full-length #14.

As it turns out, I shouldn't have doubted them, because just about every song on this disc is another brutal and energetic exercise in what the band does best. Mid to fast-paced barbarity rooted firmly in the death/thrash of the group's origins, piled on with tireless proficiency by one of the most seasoned acts in the genre. That's not to say there's anything truly fresh or exciting anywhere to be had on Red Before Black, it's hardly an encyclopedia of their most memorable riffs, but once in awhile they'll pull off a few note progressions I can't recall them using before ("Shedding My Human Skin", etc) which fuse perfectly to the alternations between chugging grooves, sinister tremolo picked patterns and the roiling lead and bridge riff pairings that offer up all the album's most atmospheric and engrossing moments, which is how it should be since the mauling momentum of the verses builds up so well towards them. You've heard all these performance levels before from these five individuals, and they never exactly surpass themselves on any of the 12 tunes here, but for a band to be this far along in their career, limb advancing in natural atrophy, it's a marvel that they still hit so fucking hard, the thrashier rhythm guitars like punches to the mid-section, the quicker material evoking sheer carnage.

Nary a chink in the armor, with the exception of the aforementioned "Code of the Slashers", a rather dull piece until its own mid-section, and even some of the most simplistic progressions like the bite of the guitars that open "Firestorm Vengeance" just make you want to punt someone's head clean off their neck-stump. Red Before Black is every bit as pit-ready as their classics, without eschewing the slightly clinical technicality that musicians like Webster, Barrett and O'Brien seamlessly integrate so as not to bore themselves with too much repetition. Corpesgrinder's Target shopping excursions have certainly given him some focus and relaxation, so when it comes time to belch out the latest round of lyrics he still has the same level of flailing, ogreish presence that he's brought to the group since Vile. The violence invoked through the prose isn't highly distinct from a lot of Corpse past, but tunes like "Heads Shoveled Off" still conjure up some grisly amusement as they yet again expand their lexicon of serial killers, body horrors and other outcomes that are not exactly optimistic. In short, you know what this sounds like, and while it's hardly one of their best studio efforts, you are getting what you pay for, a pound for pound visceral onslaught by a guild of veteran executioners.