Cannabis Corpse: Beneath Grow Lights Thou Shalt Rise

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Cannabis Corpse: Beneath Grow Lights Thou Shalt Rise
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Cannabis Corpse: Beneath Grow Lights Thou Shalt Rise
July 12th, 2011
Tankcrimes Records
July 12th, 2011
Release length: 36:14
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Cannabis Corpse formed back in 2006 in Richmond, Virginia. The somewhat newer Death Metal band has carved a strong and devout following with their more satyrical lyrical content and themes dealing with marijuana-related parodies of some of today’s more dominant Death Metal acts such as Cannibal Corpse, and even more on this recording like Deicide and some others. With the band issuing their third full-length effort, Beneath Grow Lights Thou Shalt Rise through Tankcrimes Records, they solidify that they are a group that is here to stay, but does this release show that the group will continue to remain relevant with each new release?

The introductory track “Visions from the Dank Side” is a composition that is a bit disturbing and kind of sets in with the marijuana themed horror aspect of the album, especially it’s title, having a heart monitor sound effect against some creepy Ambience that features some inhuman screaming going on in the background. With that the general vibe of the material is established, and the music hammers right in as “Visions from the Dank Side” bleeds into “Lunatic of Pot’s Creation”. The obvious Cannibal Corpse influence is pretty strong with the track, as well as others, but the material Cannabis Corpse plays on this release is missing that groove to it, and instead is more intense and fast paced. While the band has always had a somewhat comical, satyrical approach to including marijuana into the lyrics of the songs, this track, as well as plenty of others here don’t really seem to take up that practice either, and there’s a more serious to the album’s lyrical content, and even in the music this time around. For some, this may come off more as a drawback, but for songs like “Blame it on Bud”, it actually seems to work for the album’s advantage and really work to create a horrific marijuana monster-like atmosphere to the release.

As stated, this album feels like a monster then anything, and while that’s not really an uncommon thing for Cannabis Corpse, it’s definitely a more serious approach to their material this time around. The album sounds dark and ominous, really focusing on hammering away at the listener with bludgeoning music that is intense and traditionally of a much faster pace. There’s only a small handful of songs on here that seem to not really take on a faster pace throughout the track, such as “Dead by Bong” which starts out furious, though uses some passages that are the slowest on the whole recording, sticking primarily to the main verses of the song. The bass on Beneath Grow Lights Thou Shalt Rise is actually pretty strong and loud in the final product and really giving the music a stronger crushing feeling. against the deep, commanding gutteral vocals. The more modern sound really captures the overall brutality of the music, and shines through superbly. This is perhaps related to this release being mixed by Death Metal veteran Erik Rutan. Even if it isn’t, this is definitely a nice piece of information to give the fans of this style anyhow.

But, while “Dead by Bong” does feature some slower elements to it, it’s not the only one, and it does help to break up the monotony. These slower aspects are usually not the longest or most dominant parts of the songs. “Chapel of Bowls” had plenty fo slower parts as well, taking on a more mid-tempo vibe that seems to slow the album down from it’s non-stop pace of insanity and brutality that is laid out with “Lunatic of Pot’s Creation” and “Blame it on Bud”. The same can be said for the track “Sworn to the Bag”, which has a very slower and quite ominous introduction before demanding your attention between varying chaotic and groove influence Death Metal throughout the song, typically all still retaining that high speed fury, though other shorter segments to appear in the song. While the faster elements of the songs are never really repetitive, and the band offers up a great amount of variety to the music, this is perhaps where the band shines the most. The more groove-based Death Metal has always been where this band shined through, and this track is one of the important songs that captures the band’s abilities and talents well with the intensity that matched the earlier glory days of the style, as well as the band’s own roots of Cannibal Corpse influence. Luckily this approach doesn’t end here, as “Where the Kind Lives” sheds the band of that more chaotic sense, and brings on a full dark, yet somewhat stylish and brutal sounding groove-paced Death Metal song that simply crushes the listener with it’s commanding presence from start to finish, which is something many songs here have, but either lack all together, or is simply not strong enough against the speed and chaotic nature of the music that seems to take a more intense Kataklysm approach at times.

There’s never really a dull moment to the album. Beneath Grow Light Thou Shalt Rise is a rich recording that has plenty of great songs to it. The album starts off with plenty of intensity and energy, but the only complaint that can be said is that some of the starting songs just feel a bit too over-the-top serious, or just come off a little more generic, and these are mostly for the songs that have that more chaotic vibe like “Lunatic of Pot’s Creation”, just more earlier on in the recording like that song. This isn’t to say these songs are bad, they just can sometimes not be as appealing as “Dead by Bong” or “Where the Kind Lives” with a more dominating presence instead of just a “get in and start hammering away at your instruments” vibe. The only other issue to be had here is “Slaves to the Chron” with the cymbols, as they seem to just go a little too fast compared to the pace of the music, but really that’s about it, and none of these songs are awful to the point where after a few spins you will want nothing to do with them.

Overall, no matter what your view on drug-themed albums happens to be, Cannibas Corpse simply does not let the listener down with this release. Each song on Beneath Grow Lights Thou Shalt Rise is rather unique from one another, though some can feel a little too much or just come off a bit too generic at times, leading to some rocky moments that don’t hinder the album, but can leave the listener’s mind to wander a bit. Of all the tracks, the latter half of this release is where the band shines and shows off why they have become such a strong force in the underground, and prove why this odd mixture of commanding horror-like songs about the bud works so well with Death Metal, and has established the band as a prominant force in the underground that clearly is here to stay and brutalize listeners quite some time with well fitted satyrical ideas and performances.

01. Visions from the Dank Side – 1:00
02. Lunatic of Pot’s Creation – 3:46
03. Blame it on Bud – 2:55
04. Chapel of Bowls – 3:10
05. Dead by Bong – 2:44
06. Immortal Pipes – 3:21
07. Blaze of Torment – 2:50
08. Sworn to the Bag – 3:03
09. Where the Kind Lives – 3:12
10. Gateways to Inhalation – 3:40
11. Slave to the Chron – 3:21
12. Beneath Grow Lights Thou Shall Rise – 3:12
Overall Score: 8.5/10
Cannabis Corpse (Band)
Cannabis Corpse (Logo)
Digital review copy of this release provided by Tankcrimes Records.