ALBUM REVIEW: CANNIBAL CORPSE - CHAOS HORRIFIC
ROYAL GORY GRANDADS OF DEATH METAL WILL NOT DIE
Everybody, even your granny and your bank manager, knows Cannibal Corpse. The cadaverous granddaddies of death metal have been going for decades. In the heyday of their legacy, the band’s name was synonymous with media outrage thanks to their provocatively explicit horror themes and egregiously graphic song titles. The band were in the dichotomous position of being banned and censored internationally while gaining a cult status in the vanguard of early 90s death metal that led them to a cameo performance on the Jim Carrey movie Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. The shock factor, however, fizzled out years ago and Chaos Horrific is the band’s sixteenth release. Yes, the butchery and torture aesthetic is a mainstay but the band don’t seem intent on drumming up controversy so conscientiously now and, in any case, society is more inclined to view this content as cartoonish rather than a serious subversion to civilised life.
The essence of a Cannibal Corpse album isn’t going to change. They stick to a blueprint that is tested, certified and reliable and so it is with Chaos Horrific, a conventional modern era Cannibal Corpse record that dovetails wholly expectedly with 2021’s Violence Unimagined. There is nothing here that you have not heard the band deliver, at least to some degree, in the past. It is deeply familiar but, crucially, they are one of the few acts that manage to execute the untrainable knack of relying on a cult legacy to sustain their career without diluting it with tired releases.
One of the most idiosyncratic elements of their sound is vocalist George ‘Corpsegrinder’ Fisher who is a hulking presence in every way. An immensely likeable and inimitable character, his rabid cellar-shaking guttural delivery is, as ever, totally indecipherable. His undead bear voice could be burping out his shopping list rather than the execrable horrors contained in the lyrics for all you can tell. His mighty jowly bellow rips indecipherably through the record like a frenzied zombified yeti. Also, given the unequivocal bludgeon for which Cannibal Corpse’s delivery is famed, some of the technical playing has perhaps been under-recognized. While the riffs do rest on piledriving for impact but there are also intricacies and interplay that would be too easy and lazy to write off as simplistic. Also, there are some violence-inciting time changes from breakneck velocity to brutal, pit-friendly breakdowns. Similarly, while the percussion of Paul Mazurkiewicz on drums is not overly technical it is entirely and competently in-keeping to optimise and enunciate the execution of the band’s specific sound.
Chaos Horrific isn’t a landmark release nor is it genre-defining (Cannibal Corpse have the patent for that a generation ago). While not a classic this release demonstrates a band still youthfully fixated by, and capable in, their craft. There are barnstorming tracks such as the stamping Overlords of Violence, the vicious velocity of Feeding Frenzy or the delightfully titled Pestilential Rictus. Chaos Horrific is a reliable, consistent 40 minute slab of macabre, characterful and partly daft death metal that is as heavy as a collapsed building.
Chaos Horrific is released via Metal Blade Records.