June Artist of the Month is...
Slayer - Seasons in the Abyss
Testament - Souls of Black,
Sodom - Better off Dead
Obituary - Cause of Death
Napalm Death - Harmony Corruption
Megadeth - Rust in Peace
Death - Spiritual Healing
Entombed - Left Hand
Annihilator - Never, Neverland
Judas Priest – Painkiller (their first album after a thirteen year hiatus)
Anthrax - Persistence of Time
… And that’s just to name but a few! *Takes a breath, and a brief rest for a tired digit, I only use one to type with after all!
Personally all I remember about that release was the album's artwork, it is colorful, bright, uncompromising and unapologetically in your face depicting a corpse feasting upon of all things... itself.
It's worth mentioning that the album was also released in a black jewel case to please censors (and most probably the P.M.R.C a subject of many an irate metal track around the time) and this wasn't to be the first time that Cannibal Corpse would be wafted under their collected noses either.
As a young gorehound I ate the artwork up as it reminded me of my favorite Romero film at the time, Day of the Dead, and the infamous, still widely considered FX masterpiece even by today's standards, Tom Savini's SPFX splatter scene 'Hallway Zombie Evisceration'.
Can you guess the reoccurring theme here?
This is a band that still to this day and even within their last release Torture (2012) relies heavily upon themes of shocking horror, brutality and gore for content (I can feel a myriad of stares aimed in my direction...like that's a bad thing).
In earlier releases they were part of only a handful that dealt primarily in such themes within their music, Autopsy were another band (Acts of the Unspeakable was released in 92').
It wasn't until the following year that people really started taking note.
In 1991 Butchered at Birth was released, suffice it to say the censors virtually came in their pants with excitement, quivering in orgasm brandishing sharpened shears of fuck you, you don't deserve to see this so we shall remove it in tight double fisted grips poised at the ready.
There was a lot to be excited about!
The cover depicts two skeletal corpses, one is yanking a fetus from a cadaver, the other is busy brutalizing the unlucky mother, a gallery of fresh fetuses hang, like fine art, from the ceiling via their uncut umbilical cords behind them. This all amounts to a heaping helping of gruesome imagery indeed. Folks...I'm finding it difficult to stop drooling.
Then, in September of 1992, a release, which I personally believe to be their finest, entitled Tomb of the Mutilated was unleashed. The cover art to this beast is truly disturbing it depicts a flayed and gutless corpse administering cunnilingus on a recently autopsied cadaver all within a halo of candlelight...who says 'romance' is dead?
It goes without mentioning that this was released censored and uncensored. Germany even went as far as to censor the cover artwork, showing only a hand resting on a sheet watched over by skeletal husks (an image not featured on the original release it was, I can only guess, a part of the original and uncropped piece d'art).
Here are the all important details:
Label: Metal Blade Records
Released: September 21st 1992
Hammer Smashed Face
I Cum Blood
Addicted to Vaginal Skin
Split Wide Open
The Cryptic Stench
Entrails Ripped from a Virgin's Cunt
Post Mortal Ejaculation
Beyond the Cemetery
Hammer Smashed Face has the accolade of appearing in the movie Ace Ventura (by now, doesn't everyone know this?) for only about two seconds but hey, it's all about 'representing'! Apparently Jim Carey the star of the movie is a huge fan (one of his best roles / films IMHO).
This track starts heavy with a combined drum and guitar attack then a powerful riff that proves within the first twenty seconds that the ‘Corpse have only become more technical and polished in between the space of the last release and this.
Admittedly this is one of my favorite tracks on this album; there isn't any track that disappoints so it's not the easiest of call to make!
The beat within the guitars and the melodies within this track pulverize (to quote a track from their follow up CD - The Bleeding) your senses, I'm finding it very hard to stop tapping my fingers, foot, damn near every limb. I'm surprised my keyboard isn't dented!
Chris Barnes’ growls and gurgles lyrics that you really have to concentrate in order to decipher, but really that's half the “fun” in this type of music, right?
Around the one minute, thirteen second mark (I had to double check that!) there's a sublime short bass solo that leads into a riff that can only be described as 'bouncy', mid paced it is fodder to send any worthy mosh pit into an uncontrollable frenzy.
Necropedophile is another of my favorite tracks on this spinning chunk of legendary death metal history. As the title suggests it deals in themes of a very unsavory nature, I didn't dwell too long on reading the lyric sheet but as you can expect there is a discernible theme here clotted thick in vileness and atrocity. The 'outro' is simple, nothing at all fancy but nevertheless a sound bite that is chilling to say the very least.
Post Mortem Ejaculation is another track I am fond of. About mid way through, the song changes tempo breaking for a few fleeting moments into a style made famous by another long time Metal Blade artist. Although not one of my favorite tracks on this album this aforementioned section alone shows the willingness of the band to deviate from the usual gallop of guitar riffs and pummeling drum tempo to introduce something quite unexpected.
Produced at Morrisound Studios in Florida (also famous for working on releases by Napalm Death, Obituary, Morbid Angel andDeicide to name but a few) the sound is flawless. Every instrument is crisp and there's never a moment in which one instrument overpowers another. An altogether impressive and heavy mix, that only adds to the unique Cannibal Corpse listening experience.
CC's next release was entitled The Bleeding (1994) and by that time the band had earned a huge following, due in huge part, (I wouldn't be too far wrong in guessing) to their vivid and grotesque artwork, over the top lyrical themes and lastly the more than addictive song structures. Bear in mind this was still a band within the death metal scene, I remember seeing CC shirts as often then as Slipknot shirts a little over ten years ago.
The CC team comprised of bassist Alex Webster, guitarists Rob Barrett and Jack Owen accompanied by the battery provided by Paul Mazurkiewicz (not the easiest of names to spell that!) have gone far and beyond anything displayed on Butchered at Birth. Rough edges have been sharpened (not smoothed), riffs have been finely honed, and song structures have been maniacally crafted, resulting in this...a masterpiece of early death (I would hasten even to say brutal death, all the components would suggest such) that without a doubt stands the test of time.
Who can guess at what the next twenty-five might bring?