Cannibal Corpse and their sound need no introduction to metal fans and in many ways nor does the band’s new slice of savagery, A Skeletal Domain. The thirteen studio album from the US death metallers feeds all the wants and expectations of the genre and fans yet also manages within its contagious surface turbulence, to explore new twists of endeavour and vehemence soaked adventure in the depths of songs. The distinctive fury is a fresh if not startling evolution in the onslaught we have all come to know and assume from the band; one providing the rich flavours the quintet is renowned for whilst providing a breath-taking rampage through the senses to again seriously ignite the passions.
A Skeletal Domain also sees the band move from the production of Erik Rutan who added certain richness to previous releases Kill, Evisceration Plague, and Torture. For the new album, Cannibal Corpse has recruited the talents of Mark Lewis at Audio Hammer Studios who has produced the recent albums of The Black Dahlia Murder and DevilDriver amongst many. His touch allows clarity to the emerging twists of ideation and sound within the violations posing as songs. The elements are arguably still not as vocal and instantly striking as maybe they could be but they are allowed a platform to increasingly tantalise from by a production which seems clearer and more conducive to the enterprise than on earlier encounters.
Lyrically there are no surprises; blood, gore, and violence providing aural ‘horror movies’ within the sonic and rhythmic severity as immediately shown by opener High Velocity Impact Spatter. From an intimidating waspish sonic mesh of sound, the track pounds ears with some of the heaviest swung beats heard this year, every swipe thunderous within the brewing assault of corrosive riffery and psychotic sonic endeavour. There is no escaping that recognisable Cannibal Corpse toxicity or the addictive web spun by the guitars of Rob Barrett and Pat O’Brien. It is an intensive and contagious furnace exploding within the ears, driven venomously by the thick caustic growls of George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher and the increasingly intrusive beats of Paul Mazurkiewicz. There is always a ready and waiting hunger for the band’s sound and its appetite is potently fed by the song with extra flavouring from the swirling invention cast by the guitarists.
Both Sadistic Embodiment and Kill or Become seduce and ravage the air as well as senses with skilled animosity, the first a barbarous torrent of rabid riffery and bone splintering rhythms bound in a merciless predation. The bass of Alex Webster growls spitefully from within the severe enticement, another aspect of the band given closer attention on the album compared to some earlier incitements. Its successor finds an even more bestial air to its prowling heavyweight presence, its muscles flexed through every hellacious swing from Mazurkiewicz and the venom unleashed through a horde of rapacious riffs and the increasingly contagious vocal suasion of Fisher. The track is a maelstrom of malicious enterprise, one threatening to become unravelled at times, especially around a senses searing solo, but always checks itself to parade a pestilential and irresistible scourge.
The title track tears through ears and imagination next, its intensive stomp flaring with malice and rhythmic sadism whilst vocally it sprays inhospitable emotion like a sand storm. A welcome variation in gait and intensity offers an intriguing turn whilst another potent solo flames excitingly across the track adding to the weighty fascination of the proposition. At first glance the following Headlong into Carnage is a close relation to its predecessor but eventually emerges with a distinctive tone and ruinous attitude which is as compelling as it is enjoyably oppressive.
The deranged and blackened suasion of The Murderer’s Pact is next, guitars crafting an addictive and destructive sonic trap to which vocals and rhythms make available their rewarding yet ruinous hues. It is an absorbing challenge, the band delving into tortured shadows with open relish and magnetic invention. The sonic ingenuity of the solo within its haunted climate is exceptional, not outstaying its potency but adding enough colour and radiance to light the cavernous malevolence of the song. Its triumph is matched by the pernicious lumbering atmosphere of Funeral Cremation, its increasingly expanding and toxic voice breeding an uncomfortable and invigorating onslaught of coarse sonic rabidity and rhythmic voracity. It is the winding groove of the song though which lights the passions most of all, its crawling temptation irresistible within the tempestuous climate around it.
The viciously chilling and tenaciously compelling Icepick Lobotomy and the enthrallingly inventive Vector of Cruelty ensure senses and emotions are ablaze with pleasure and breath-less satisfaction but it is after their outstanding efforts that the album hits its pinnacle, the final trio of tracks leaving the strongest lingering impression. Bloodstained Cement steps forward first and from its drama fuelled start unleashes an insatiable rampage of hypnotic rhythmic turmoil and contagion drenched riffery. There is a flowing addictiveness to the track which soaks every aspect of its unrelenting swarm of sound and ideation. The track is an exhaustive treat but soon surpassed by the brilliant Asphyxiate to Resuscitate. As expected there is no peace from its poisonous intent and rabid jaws, guttural growls and drums a finely honed and barbaric blitz on ears whilst guitars and bass combine to sculpt an impossibly infectious malignant gale.
The album closes with the hellacious creative fury of Hollowed Bodies, a last explosion of bad blood and ear seducing grooves within a back breaking intensity. It is a scintillating end to a mouth-watering release, seeing Cannibal Corpse at their best with very loud whispers of new exploits to tantalise within a recognisable presence and sound which fans will willingly embrace. The band’s best album can and will be debated but one of their most pleasing and enjoyable A Skeletal Domain definitely is.
A Skeletal Domain is available now via Metal Blade Records @ http://www.indiemerch.com/metalbladerecords/item/27304
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