Album Of The Week / Cannibal Corpse And The Ferociously Bruising Chaos Horrific

Few, if any, bands can stand alongside Death Metal Legends Cannibal Corpse. They have been at the forefront of blistering extremity since 1988 and have crafted a collection of work that has thrilled fans and appalled opposition throughout their career. Album 16 has duly arrived, and in Chaos Horrific, the band once more prove that plenty of life is left in these old dogs.

Cannibal Corpse – Chaos Horrific (Metal Blade Records)

Release Date: 22 September 2023

Words: Paul Hutchings

It only feels like yesterday that Violence Unimagined was released, right in the heart of the pandemic storm, and the band spent much of that pandemic downtime regrouping and working on demos for this latest release.

As bassist Alex Webster acknowledges, there are many echoes in Chaos Horrific from Violence Unimagined. “To me, this album feels like a continuation of Violence Unimagined. The style is quite similar, but individually, none of the songs on Chaos Horrific sound like songs on Violence Unimagined. It’s a full-on Death Metal album, Cannibal Corpse style.”

Indeed, many identifiers immediately make this album stand out as a Cannibal Corpse, not least the distinctive vocal delivery of the legendary Corpsegrinder, who is in fine fettle as he barks his way through the songs.

But this is a collective who are well versed in their art, and if you delve a little below the surface, you will find musicians who remain at the top of their game. The screaming lead breaks that sear through each track are as visceral as ever, whilst Webster’s unforgiving bass and Paul Mazurkiewicz’s relentless drumming are linked tight.

It’s no wonder that these guys sell out every time they cross the water. They are unstoppable.

Guitarist Erik Rutan is now a fully-fledged member of the band but has been in the producer’s chair since 2006’s Kill. He’s committed to expanding the band’s sound, and whilst there is everything that a fan could want from Cannibal Corpse, there is expansion, development, and technical brilliance evident throughout the album.

It’s definitely not 100mph from start to finish, although that is a format that they aren’t going to stray too far from. This is Death Metal, after all. Yet, as you ease your way through the opening salvo of Overlords Of Violence and Summoned For Sacrifice, subtle changes in the band’s delivery catch your attention.

The bruising picking style of the guitars presents challenges to Webster’s finger bass playing, something he manages to deliver with aplomb. “I believe that our songwriting has progressed in a manner where every song paves its own path,” guitarist Rob Barrett told us, “whether it’s a straightforward or technical song. Sometimes, it’s a mix of both, so there’s no preconceived idea that we want to be more technical. The music just sort of takes its own course.”

Rest assured, the savage aggression that is soaked into Cannibal Corpse’s very DNA remains front and centre. The punishing barrage, Corpsegrinder’s machine gun narrative, and the sheer weight of the band’s aural assault provide any reassurance needed.

Unsurprisingly, there are plenty of dark moments, as one would expect. With the album title provided by Mazurkiewicz and the band feeling it was a great representation of their style, there is the usual brutal imagery that has become such a trademark of the band.

Resetting humanity through mass mutilations on Blood Blind, invoking the revenge of the trafficked on human traffickers on the pounding Vengeful Invasion, or the chilling feral selection of a random individual to be dismembered and sacrificed on Summoned For Sacrifice, this is Cannibal Corpse once again breaking through any inhibitions.

The title track is about fighting off zombie hordes, something that most of us still believe we can do, having watched The Walking Dead!

A suitably graphic and gory cover is expected, and Vince Locke delivers once again, with his latest twisted artwork fitting neatly into the title track and providing plenty to pour over.

As Cannibal Corpse rolls into their 35th anniversary, there’s little sign of these five machines slowing down. Tours are already being planned to promote what is another ferociously bruising release.

Barrett has the last words. “I think it’s such an amazing feat. It speaks to the work ethic and dedication that everyone has put into Cannibal Corpse. When you think about how many bands never make it a decade, let alone three plus, it is such a testament to the creativity aspect and determination and loyalty towards what we do.”

To pre-order Chaos Horrific, visit Metal Blade Records.

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