Saturday, September 20, 2014

Cannibal Corpse - A Skeletal Domain

FIRE UP THE yeah you get it by now

Fucking hell I'm gonna keep this one short because god damn.  Really, there's only so much to be said about Cannibal Corpse at this point, this is just all in a days work for these guys.  I'm of the persuasion that they've been at their creative peak ever since Jack left and the lineup of Corpsegrinder, Pat, Rob, Alex, and Paul was solidified back around 2005, releasing the monumental Kill the next year.  Rolling on eight years with that lineup, they've given us their fourth offering to show what the chemistry between these five guys can produce.  And surprise, surprise, it's really god damned good.

Everybody knows what Cannibal sounds like nowadays, they've been pretty consistent since Butchered at Birth twenty three years ago, with only a few dips in songwriting here and there.  Their style itself has been steadfast in it's execution since then, primarily being described best as "bludgeoning".  The more I think about it, that term really does describe everything they do perfectly.  The fast thrashy songs that Rob writes like "Shatter Their Bones", the obscenely technical stuff that Pat lays down like "Frantic Disembowelment", the groovy crushers like "Decency Defied" and "Death Walking Terror", all of them are just brutish, neanderthalic clubbings to the dome.  No matter the tempo, no matter the angle, Cannibal just approaches with a sinister malice and a vicious intensity.

A Skeletal Domain changes none of that.  The album begins on a high note with the greatest CC song title of all time with "High Velocity Impact Spatter", and the song itself lives up to the standard the title sets for itself.  I wish I could sit here and tell you about how this is Cannibal Corpse stepping up to the next level and being more technical or more brutal than ever before, but really that'd be lying.  This is all exactly what you expect it to be, which makes it pretty much as great as you were expecting as well.  In all honesty, this is actually probably a small step down from Torture, considering the fact that it has far fewer clear highlights.  It's just a very solid slab of primitive-yet-technical death metal from start to finish, excepting one track.  "Kill or Become" is probably the best fucking song they've written since Bloodthirst.  It's one of those magical tracks that just reaches a perfect nexus between the prominent facets of their identity.  It's blisteringly fast, it's crazy technical, and it's infectiously groovy.  The vocal pattern in the chorus is so ear catching, I can't even think of a stupid analogy to describe it.  There's a reason so many reviewers and fans have been quoting it since the release, it really is far and away the best thing they've laid to tape in ages.


There are scattered high points like "Icepick Lobotomy" and "Bloodstained Cement" here and there, but I can't really tell you what sets them apart from the rest.  The album rests on a very high plateau for the whole runtime and the songs are all basically just indistinguishable but all awesome.  Actually, if there's any reason A Skeletal Domain deserves less acclaim than its predecessors, it's that it's actually the first time a Cannibal Corpse album is finally too homogenous.  I mean, there aren't any thrashmelting blastfests under two minutes like "Scalding Hail" or "Savage Butchery", nor are there any really obvious mid tempo stompy mosh numbers like "Evisceration Plague" or "Scourge of Iron", nor even the really slow, twisting eerie tracks they'd sometimes do like "From Skin to Liquid" or "Festering in the Crypt" (though admittedly "Funeral Cremation" does sort of flirt with the idea early on before going into the technical riff frenzy the band is known for).  This album instead is full of that standard song that noobs and idiots accuse them of writing a thousand times in a row, so in a way it's actually the first album of theirs where people can accurately make that criticism of how they have no variety and just rip themselves off.

But with that said, it doesn't bother this reviewer in the slightest because I've always loved what Cannibal Corpse does.  I think they do it brilliantly well and I wouldn't change a thing about them.  For once, it's a valid criticism (even though I could also turn around and say that this is also an album where Pat's writing is really obvious, as there are a lot of dissonant banging parts that don't sound too dissimilar from Nevermore's The Politics of Ecstacy, if you imagine the tone and context being different), but it's one that doesn't affect me at all, regardless of the fact that I acknowledge it.  This is just another in a steady stream of strong Cannibal Corpse albums and I really wouldn't ask for anything else.  It's still not as good as Kill, Torture, or Bloodthirst, but I'd feel confident at least putting it on par with Evisceration Plague.

RATING - 83%