Cannibal Corpse is a band I have had very little association with over the years. I did encounter their music occasionally through a friend and I also recall their memorable cameo in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective playing "Hammer Smashed Face." However, for all intents and purposes, Evisceration Plague is my first proper introduction to the band.
Prior to my getting the album, I did hear a couple tracks that were played as part of a Metal Blade podcast along with interviews with a couple of band members; I believe it was primarily George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher. The songs were "Carnivorous Swarm" and the title track. At that point I new I wanted to get my hands on the album.
Evisceration Plague is a very solid album and I feel better from the experience of listening to it, even if there may now be a little stagger in my step and a little dried blood in my ear. Something tells me this is a common reaction to their music, though. Twelve songs are packed into a running time just under 40 minutes and is packed with a steady stream of ferocious energy that is tight and finely focused in its delivery. This is a band that has honed their skills to a fine blade, wielding it with the surgical precision of a baseball bat.
The music offers a bit more subtlety and technique than I was expecting. While I anticipated the baseball bat, I did not expect the skill with which it was used. To use another baseball analogy, I expected a Mark McGuire-steroid-enhanced bashing and instead got an Albert Pujols work blast with class. And, sure, I realize it is a little odd to equate Cannibal Corpse with class. After all, this is the band that has drawn the ire of government officials and parents groups for years over the offensive nature of their lyrics and cover art.
Do not get me wrong. When the album is over you will feel battered and abused and you will likely need a shower. That said, while there is only one speed, it comes with surprising variety. The riffs are of the heavy-skull-crushing sort that makes you grit your teeth and go along with, but on such songs as "To Decompose," "Evisceration Plague," and "Skewered From Ear to Eye," they come with moments of clarity. The drums are pummeling, but occasionally break down into something better than the blast-beat pace they mostly keep. Perhaps most surprising, though, is the presence of the bass. In most cases I can never hear the bass in this style of music, but on this you can hear technically sound runs going trough the background on a number of occasions. Finally, Corpsegrinder is generally intelligible if you listen close enough. The man has a good growl to him!
I need to brush up on my Cannibal Corpse after this and I'm sad it took me this long to check them out. This is a solid album from the genre veterans. Up and comers take note: you do not need to copy this, but listen to what is accomplished here. Use that knowledge, go forth, and create! I know Evisceration Plague is not a game changer, but there is certainly something to be said for making a solid album that has its own voice.
Bottomline. If you like death metal and do not listen to Cannibal Corpse, do yourself a favor and pick this up. You will not be disappointed. This one may not be as controversial as prior releases, but it still has what I recognize as the Cannibal Corpse's uncompromising intensity.