Cannibal Corpse – Violence Unimagined (Metal Blade)
Since Kill bludgeoned its way across the metal scene in 2006, Cannibal Corpse have been on something of a hot streak.
And across Evisceration Plague, Torture, A Skeletal Domain and 2017’s devastating Red Before Black, the death metal pioneers have shown more consistency and quality than many of their contemporaries.
Violence Unimagined, however, raises the bar even higher.
And we know that’s saying something for a band who, from Hammer Smashed Face to Only One Will Die, have helped to define death metal as we know it.
But Violence Unimagined’s status as an essential slab of ‘Corpse is well deserved.
Technically stunning and possessed by a lust for aural carnage, the US quintet’s 15th album is an unforgettable lesson in savage death metal – a masterclass which sees the band going into their fourth decade as a finely-engineered, planet-slaying war machine.
Necrogenic Resurrection, Murderous Rampage and Surround, Kill, Devour are startling in their focused ferocity, and bristle with addictive, skin-flaying riffs. They would take centre stage on any Cannibal Corpse record, and you can feel frontman George ‘Corpsegrinder’ Fisher flexing his inhuman neck muscles as he gives each track every ounce of his formidable vocal power.
But with Hate Eternal founder and all-round DM linchpin Erik Rutan now on board, the band have twisted their music into lethal new forms.
Rutan had already produced four ‘Corpse albums before joining as a replacement for guitarist Pat O’Brien in 2020, and the former Morbid Angel man has certainly made his presence felt.
His extraterrestrial fretwork flows across Violence Unimagined and the three Rutan-penned songs – Condemnation Contagion, Ritual Annihilation and the jaw-shattering Overtorture – bear the hallmarks of the New Jersey axeslinger’s warped imagination. Hyperspeed blasts merge into underworld grooves, mind-altering string-bends summon hell’s denizens, rhythms contort around incinerating riffery… drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz probably needed a lie down after recording these gory anthems.
It’s obvious, though, that Rutan ‘gets’ this band.
His contributions integrate seamlessly with fellow guitarist Rob Barrett and bassist Alex Webster’s terrifying assault, rather than jarring with the veteran outfit’s core sound.
And having taken the studio helm once again, his production ensures Cannibal Corpse’s nuclear fire pours unfettered through your speakers.
This band didn’t need any reanimating.
They hadn’t shown any signs of creative fatigue.
But with Rutan now embedded in their DNA, Violence Unimagined could be the start of a bloody new era for Cannibal Corpse.