Cannibal Corpse – A Skeletal Domain
Release Date: September 16, 2014
When it comes to harsh imagery, grotesque lyrical content, and downright gruesomeness, Cannibal Corpse bear the flag of having the most consistent catalog pertaining to these elements. Sure, there are some modern acts that serve the aforementioned subjects with justice but when it comes to longevity and dedication, Cannibal Corpse pretty much carry the torch.
With around 25 years under their belt you would think that these guys would have fizzled out or called it quits. Surprisingly enough, they don’t have a reason to do so, as they continuously prove that they are still relevant in the death metal scene and are able to bring something refreshing to the table. A Skeletal Domain is the newest addition to their discography, further proving the previous statement.
This 13th installment plays upon the concepts of previous albums, creating a death metal styled horror movie soundtrack fit for metalheads as well as gory movie enthusiasts. Although this theme has been played out for quite a long time, it seems that it hasn’t lost any momentum or charm over their career. This element never appealed to me in the slightest, which is probably why I never really dived into their work previously, but this release somehow piqued my interest. A Skeletal Domain ended up exceeding my expectations, much to my surprise.
As part of keeping the sinewy morass of bloody riffs and pulverizing rhythms fresh, the band tapped producer Mark Lewis (DevilDriver, Deicide, Whitechapel) for the new record after using Erik Rutan (Goatwhore, Nile, Belphegor) for the previous three affairs.
The first single to be released, “Sadistic Embodiment”, was the track that really caught my attention in the first place. The fast-paced drumming accompanying the frantic, almost panicky, guitars became an instant focal point, creating that sense of urgency found in the chase scenes of horror flicks. George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher’s vocal style fits well, as he’s able to mold perfectly alongside the guitar’s pace, adding even more fierce energy to the mix.
“Kill Or Become” changes things up with a more mid-paced death metal style while also adding in energetic sections similar to the previous song. Lead guitarist Patrick O’Brien is outstanding with his ability to change from one speed to another with a great sense of flow. Rhythm guitarist Rob Barrett and bassist Alex Webster are perfect accentuating elements, keeping the entire sound of the band grounded with a solid deathly grooved backbone. Drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz acts as the cohesive element of the band, laying down somewhat simplistic yet fierce assaults within the album.
Most death metal albums tend to start on a decline when the they reach a certain point in the record. This isn’t the case here, as the pace and aggression of the album transforms into an entirely different monster the further you dive into it. “Funeral Cremation” can be depicted as the harbinger of this event, with a crushing opening riff that sets a haunting, murderous tone for the rest of the tune. A tone much more menacing than previous pieces.
“Icepick Lobotomy” is my favorite track off of the album, as it blends the high intensity aspect of the previously showcased along with the slow, crawling evisceration of the old school variant. Even the flashy solo near the end of this piece fits in quite well as it differentiates the track even more without coming off as obnoxious. This overall vibe transfers over into “Vector Of Cruelty” but with a more direct approach.
As A Skeletal Domain ends, the hunger still continues and thus the repeat button is pushed. After listening to this record over and over for the past few weeks, I can safely say that Cannibal Corpse have come up with another murderous concoction that seeks to obliterate the masses. Even with a release that isn’t breaking the mold or changing the way the death metal game is played, these guys still have some unnatural way to keep things fresh and gory. New and old fans alike will love this album, no question about it.