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Cannibal Corpse: Torture

When you tease a new Cannibal Corpse album, you know all hell is going to break loose in the Death Metal community. Sure enough, it seems to have happened, and I was swept up in it. I’ll gladly admit that I love this band. I own just about all their material, including every full-length they put out. Over the past few weeks, Cannibal Corpse have put up an in studio video, as well as the song “Demented Aggression” on their Facebook page. While this song has some of the new fans assuming that it represents much of the album, anyone who has heard one of this band’s releases before will know that this is simply untrue. But, since then I found myself anxious awaiting the new album to hit my inbox, partially because of my love for this band’s music, but, honestly, it was largely in hopes that there was more to this album that the rather unimpressive aforementioned song. Yes, I’ll admit that I thought this song really was not a strong promotional tool, and just felt like left over, expanded material from Evisceration Plague. So, with the album hitting my inbox today while I slept, I put off listening as long as I could. With great caution, I unzipped the digital promo, loaded into the player, turned up my speakers, and braced myself for the impending Torture

“Demented Aggression” is actually the first song off the album, and given its placement, it makes for an alright start, but doesn’t change my opinion of it at all. I’m not saying the song is bad in any way, as I do like it for what it is, but these faster tracks are not really the reason I’m such a dedicated Cannibal Corpse. The title definitely captures the spirit of the song well, and I’m sure many of you reading this heard it and have your own opinion on it, so we’ll just move on from here, especially since “Sarcophagic Frenzy” literally whipped me into a frenzy as I was typing that section out. The second the chugging, groove filled aggressive riffs kicked in, I immediately wanted to run to the nearest group of people and start a circle pit. My head was banging along so hard, especially during the slower passages, that I actually wound up giving myself a headache. Eventually I tired myself out and let the aggression overwhelm me and the pain dead center of my forehead.

As you can imagine, I was quite happy when “Scourge of Iron” kicked in. Unlike the past two tracks, this one was just a slow paced song that focused on a commanding presence that just built up to maddening levels. The chugging chords worked really well to set a strong atmosphere at the start, but as this one continues, it slowly builds up with richer music through some slightly faster chords, and random neck breaking outbursts that last maybe a second as a bridge after the chorus. Around the halfway point it does stay for a longer time, and from here the pace just all around picks up to a crushing sound once more. The entire experience was like being lulled into a truly twisted, sinister trance you couldn’t escape from. All the subtle changes and how well they were implemented and shifted into worked to keep the entire four minutes and forty five seconds fresh the entire time. Considering this and “The Strangulation Chair” are both the longest tracks, I’m anxious to hear it and am even mulling over skipping ahead, but I can’t do that to you, or myself. I have four more songs to go before I get there…

And much like “Demented Aggression,” we find “Encased in Concrete” to be another faster track, though a little more restrained with plenty of mid-tempo groove-filled passages that will hold your attention instead of just utilizing one long blast beat with few changes like the album’s starting track essentially was. The bass shines through here so nice and really was what captured my attention, allowing the deep twanging buzz of the instrument to crush my soul against the pounding, well ranged music. I also got into the energetic vocals at the very end, and really wish there were more like them to be found, but outside this song I didn’t hear it. I also don’t expect it during “As Deep As the Knife Will Go.” This one kind of just screams generic Cannibal Corpse from the start, and honestly it doesn’t really impress me that much, though I am bobbing my head along to the rhythm, just nowhere near as hard as with “Sarcophagic Frenzy” or even “Encased in Concrete.” There are some higher pitched vocals that show up in the last quarter, but nowhere near as energetic, the solo was pretty short and sweet like usual, and the bass really comes through here again which I’m really into as well.

I close out my time with this album for this First Impression article with “Intestinal Crank,” and again I’m tensing up, finding the urge to find a group of people, not necessarily to encite a circle pit with them, but rather just downright bludgeon each and every single one of them. This was what I’ve been waiting for! The beginning is pretty good, but the intensity that quickly builds up with some faster paced material and simply pounding guitars that create a rich and highly energetic sound brought a smile to my face and nearly had me foaming at the mouth. If you needed a good example of what American Death Metal is, this is the perfect song to play for someone. I was sad to see the song go back to the slower pace, but the quicker tone that kicks in feels more like the soothing climax of a the near psychological break from the second major musical change of the song.

Torture isn’t quite the most spectacular Cannibal Corpse album from my time with it, but some of the songs really know how to stir things up in me. So far I’ve given myself a headache from head banging too hard (and nearly a possible concussion had I hit my head off the wall I was near like I came really close to doing), was lulled into a very unnerving trance, and found the music making me want to run to the nearest living thing and kill it. Yep, that about sums up my expectations with this band. Sure I didn’t really head bang along as much as I wanted to, and at times I found myself actually wishing the band had cut the track a little sooner, which was the case with “Demented Aggression,” “Encased in Concrete,” and “As Deep As the Knife Will Go,” but I still enjoyed my time with them and look forward to hearing them again… except maybe “As Deep As the Knife Will Go” as I’m still not too on board with that track, even less so than “Demented Aggression.” Either way though, these songs really have me anxious to hear the last half, and chances are good before I get that review posted, I’m going to have torn through the entirety of this a couple of times.

Article based on digital review material provided by Metal Blade Records.