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Cannibal Corpse | Torture

by Trevor Portz
Staff Writer —

Good ol’ Cannibal Corpse, perhaps the only death metal band that, according to Scott Ian, could be considered “classic” enough to be shown on VH1’s That Metal Show. Through vocalist and guitarist changes, Bob Dole-fronted criticism, continuous banning in various countries, and even an appearance in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, these guys just keep on pumping out good, old-fashion gory brutality the way mom used to make it. Seemingly frozen in time (yeah, a nod to Obituary there), core members Alex Webster and Paul Mazurkiewicz appear content to just keep on doing what they do best, with nary a concern for keeping up with those newer bands they helped influence. While this may be comforting to death metal fans opposed to change, it can also make the band look like a bunch of mangled old dogs afraid to learn anything new. Unfortunately, their latest album, Torture, is a bit too much of the latter—a [body] bag full of old tricks.

If Torture had come out in 1990, extreme metal fans would be drooling over its goretastic lyrics and detuned rumble. As is the general course of things, though, death metal has evolved a lot over the last 20+ years. The blasts have gotten faster, the riffs more complex, and the grunts even more guttural. Some older bands have done well to keep up—Suffocation and Nile come to mind—but others have stayed true to their original sound. Like Bolt Thrower, Benediction, and the aforementioned Obituary, Cannibal Corpse seems to have taken a more AC/DC-like path. Sure, no one expects a drummer in his mid-40s to compete with the high-speed lunacy of John Longstreth (Origin) and Tim Yeung (Hate Eternal, among others), but it’s the fact that virtually every riff and beat on Torture seems recycled from a previous Cannibal outing. Several listens will fail to leave any imprint, and if anything will only serve to make fans reach for their copies of The Bleeding, Vile, and Tomb of the Mutilated.

With that said, there’s not much to praise about the individual songs on Torture. There are no Beavis and Butthead-ready “hits” like “Staring Through the Eyes of the Dead,” no whiplash-inducing headbangers like “I Cum Blood,” and no wicked experimentation such as that seen on “From Skin to Liquid.” This is Cannibal Corpse by numbers.

Like the songs, the production and performances are equally mediocre. That’s not to say that either is bad. These guys are great technical musicians, and while the playing is solid, it feels a little uninspired. Erik Rutan’s production is also good, but also sounds a little too similar to everything else out there. There’s just nothing here to make this record stand out in any way.

The bottom line here is that, like the Saw movie franchise that they go so well with, Cannibal Corpse has made a few too many sequels copping the plot of the original. With the amount of talent and influence contained by the members, it’s quite a letdown to see them falling into monotony. This is the band that could officially become known the Rolling Stones of death metal, but they’ve got to up the game to hold the [extreme metal] world’s interest.

Genre: Death Metal

George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher (v)
Pat O’Brien (g)
Rob Barrett (g)
Alex Webster (b)
Paul Mazurkiewicz (d)

Track Listing:
1. Demented Aggression
2. Sarcophagic Frenzy
3. Scourge of Iron
4. Encased in Concrete
5. As Deep As the Knife Will Go
6. Intestinal Crank
7. Followed Home Then Killed
8. The Strangulation Chair
9. Caged… Contorted
10. Crucifier Avenged
11. Rabid
12. Torn Through

Label: Metal Blade


Hardrock Haven rating: 4.8/10


1 Comment on Cannibal Corpse | Torture

  1. to each his/her own. i rspect your review but i enjoyed this album a lot. it showed more progress from previous work(i will not get more into it) and the intensity is as strong as ever.

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