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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 -