Cannibal Corpse "Kill" CDPosted on Friday, March 31st, 2006 @ 2:15pm » permalink
The plain fact of the matter is that as the years go by, most death metal bands either tend to lose steam or simply stagnate and become less interesting. Most anyone who's listened to this genre for a significant amount of time has experienced this firsthand and knows it to be true. The point being that very few death metal bands actually continue to grow and improve over the course of time, especially when that course of time crosses into three decades over more than 15 years. But much to my surprise (and, quite frankly, my great pleasure), Cannibal Corpse has in fact done so. "Kill" is their impressive 10th full-length album on their longtime home of Metal Blade Records, and while I'm not sure that I have a personal favorite from their back catalog, this material easily stands side by side with what are commonly viewed as their "classics".
Now, part of the reason that I don't particularly have one favorite Cannibal Corpse album is because I don't own a good chunk of their work. I had their first three albums on cassette as a kid, but I never really only got into 'em until "Tomb of the Mutilated", and for some reason I pretty much wrote them off not much later after "The Bleeding" – which is weird, because I was never a huge Chris Barnes fan at all, and in those early days I always liked the band's music way more than the vocals. But the band came back and won me over in a major way a couple of years ago with "The Wretched Spawn", which I bought shortly after hearing a promo copy, and I liked it so much that I actually bought "Kill" a couple of days after it hit the streets without having heard even one track. I haven't done that with a straight up death metal album in fucking years!
So anyway, I'm still in the process of going back and revisiting the first half of the band's Corpsegrinder-era to see what I missed out on, but even having dwindled down to just two original members over the years, Cannibal Corpse has never altered their core approach in any way. The writing has become increasingly technical, but curiously enough it's also increasingly based on feel and energy. The songs tend to be relatively short by death metal standards (averaging around three-and-a-half minutes apiece), and they keep things pretty memorable – so they've basically just refined their delivery and honed in on their strengths, which is something that most bands simply fail to do.
Erik Rutan's production work seems to be improving as well, because this is a great sounding record, which certainly doesn't hurt. The guitar tone is meaty as shit, totally perfect for this material, and that's what always does the trick for me. Alex Webster is a complete badass so I can't help but feel like his basslines ought to be mixed a little higher (after all, the dude writes the vast majority of the music and his playing is sick), but the overall tone of the album is thick yet crisp, which really lets the intricacies of the riffs be heard (I wish I could say the same thing for "Tomb of the Mutilated"!).
I realize that I haven't really said anything very specific about the music on this thing, but I don't give a fuck. It's god damn Cannibal Corpse, what do you expect it to sound like, you know? But seriously, I commend these guys wholeheartedly for somehow managing to actually kick more ass now than they did during the death metal boom of the 90's. It's kind of funny to think about the fact that I'm pushing 30 and I'm a bigger Cannibal Corpse fan now than I was when I was 15, ha, ha. Who would've thought?
Those aren't my favorite tracks on the album, but they're two of the three that the label has pumped out for sampling purposes. It doesn't really matter though, because every song's a keeper and there are loads of sick riffs and solos all around, so I'm all for it. This thing sold something like 6,000 copies in its first week and I hope it sells just as many this week and the next. "Buy or die" or something "metal" like that. You should be able to find this one pretty much anywhere: