IMAGINE being thrown into a gorilla enclosure. The gorilla is jacked up on steroids, has been on a three-day bender and has heard you’ve been talking shit. The only thing you have to defend yourself with is a plastic fork...
The resultant chaos of you being tossed around the place is the visual embodiment of ‘Red Before Black’, the new album by American death metal royalty Cannibal Corpse.
The opening track ‘Only One Will Die’ rips your head clean off and hurls it into a gory blender of sickeningly heavy riffs, insane basslines and drumming so heavy it’ll turn your bones to powder. The unmistakable bellowing roar of George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher cuts through the mix like a hot chainsaw through human flesh. The fretwork will have you swinging your head and the blasting drums will have you beating random strangers to a bloody pulp.
Pace yourself, the carnage has only just begun...
The title track ‘Red Before Black’ doesn’t let up either, with Rob Barrett and Pat O’Brien shredding up and down the fretboard at dizzying velocity. The basslines from Alex Webster are pulverising in every sense of the word and the supersonic skin work of human jackhammer Paul Mazurkiewicz will leave you gasping for air. Corpsegrinder’s guttural, heart attack inducing vocal assault only heightens the bloodlust. The solo will melt your face clean off.
The third track ‘Code of the Slashers’ starts of at a nasty grinding pace before death metal’s reigning kings hit the hyperdrive button and fire into a g-force flurry of demented guitar riffs, monstrous bass and drumming that will turn your insides into pink paste. Even at breakneck speed the nastiness is still retained. The vocals spew every dark impulse your dormant subconscious has ever had and the leadwork is absolutely frightening.
‘Shedding My Human Skin’ is up next and oh my... this is weapons grade riffing we’re talking about right here. The kind that would make North Korea more than a little nervous. It’s so unbelievably heavy and absolutely dripping in gore soaked groove you can’t help being sucked into a frenzy of headbanging. The drumming is decimating, the guitars ring with terrifying dissonance and the bass is like having ten tonnes of concrete poured into your early grave. The vocals are, again, sublime thanks to death metal’s most recognisable voice and the guitar solos just add to the maelstrom of chaos.
The fifth track ‘Remaimed’ is thunderous and ominous with big open riffs and a powerful bass sound. The drums rip through the vicious fretwork as Corpsegrinder screams out pure unrestrained malice. It is such a heavy track, more midpaced than the previous tracks but still prone to stabs of nausea causing speed at any given moment. The guitar solo is fantastic, fitting the pace of the song perfectly.
The sixth track ‘Firestorm Vengeance’ does exactly what the title suggests, wrapping you in a burning hurricane of razor sharp riffs, shattering bass and skull crushing drums. The vocal delivery is ferocious in the extreme and the leadwork just assaults you with twisted technical prowess. You will be wondering why you’re covered in blood and third degree burns after this one.
The next track ‘Heads Shovelled Off’ hits you with blastbeats and fretboard mayhem immediately and doesn’t slow down in any way, shape or form. It’s just pure eardrum pummelling madness from start to finish. Gruesome lyrics hurled out will turn you into a ravenous nutcase and the shredding leads will have you scouring your toolshed for implements of murder. Make sure you’ve got your alibi straight.
The eighth track ‘Corpus Delicti’ hammers you with earthquake causing drums and grinding, death metal fury. The riffs are inhuman in their heaviness and the leadwork is wild and unpredictable. The vocals are nothing short of monstrous, crushing you flat into the pavement. It’s just too heavy to describe. It is horrifying and glorious in equal measure.
The ninth track ‘Scavenger Consuming Death’ starts with a murky bassline that ushers in musical insanity. Pounding double kicks and filthy eviscerating guitars leave what was left of your mangled body in a broken heap. The leadwork is enough to turn your insides to jelly and the grim vocals depicting the consumption of human flesh will take your remaining shred of sanity and hurl it into the void.
The next track ‘In the Midst of Ruin’ will literally ruin you. Dominating in heaviness and ridiculous speed the song will hurl you through a woodchipper of chaotic riffs, abnormal bass and sickeningly brutal drums as Corpsegrinder roars bloody murder. Disgustingly awesome solos tear through your skin and right into your exposed grey matter with the force of a nuclear bomb.
The penultimate track ‘Destroyed Without a Trace’ much like the rest of the album, is brutal and unrelenting. Panicked, deranged riffing and machine gun drumming smash into each other with enormous force as the brain mashing vocals repeatedly batter you into a wall of destruction. The leadwork is completely mental. This is a track to send you to the nuthouse.
The final track ‘Hideous Ichor’ moves faster than the local alcho when last orders have been called. It is simply stunning in its speed and aggression. Every word hits you like a lead pipe and the drums shake you to your very core. The guitar work hits you with the force of a truck and the insidious leads snake through the track causing absolute devastation.
By the end of this album you’re going to need an ambulance, a therapist and a police officer to tape your sadistic confessions. ‘Red Before Black’ is a primal, visceral slab of extreme and totally unrelenting death metal that showcase why Cannibal Corpse have been the king’s of the death metal hill for nearly thirty years.
With truckloads of demonic riffs, frantic basslines, maniacal drumming and skull shattering vocals this album is a must have for fans of extreme music. Just make sure you have your straight jacket nice and tight and your padded cell locked before listening so you don’t hurt yourself... or anyone else for that matter.
Review by Phil Noonan.