If any band in death metal needs almost zero introduction (other than the genre’s namesake, Death); it would undoubtedly be Cannibal Corpse. With a nearly 30 year career the forefront of all that is heavy and extreme in music, the true d-beat riffmasters are once again here before us to unleash their first collection of new tunes in about four years since Red Before Black was offered up for our listening pleasure in 2017.
Call them natives of Buffalo, Tampa, or simply of their buses at your favorite venue (y’all remember shows?); George and his ever-merry band of Corpsegrinders are right back in your face and gripping your comparatively-puny neck better than ever with the aptly-named Violence Unimagined, a title ripped straight from the lyrics of the 43 minute-long album’s 2nd single “Murderous Rampage”, written in tandem (according to Spotify credits) by rhythm guitarist Rob Barrett and drummer (and one of two remaining original members) Paul Mazurkiewicz, whose playing on this record should not go without massive commendation. VU also features the return of Cannibal’s infamous illustrative counterpart and permanent “sixth man”, Vince Locke, whose artistry was pushed far beyond all acceptable limits, even in a post – “Forced Gender Reassignment” world—once again earning himself a censorship “consolation” in the form of a double-artwork feature (art for worldwide release pictured above; ***see the full, NSFW, and UNCENSORED Violence Unimagined artwork at the bottom of this page***).
Albeit coming with a semi-new face in the mix, Erik Rutan’s transition from founding member of Hate Eternal, to Cannibal’s producer/engineer, to live lead-guitarist, to a full-fledged member (even writing three whole songs on VU) has been nothing if not absolutely seamless. Having worked in the recording role directly with the band since Kill (2006) and following suit with each successive album (Evisceration Plague – 2009, Torture – 2012 , A Skeletal Domain – 2014, and Red Before Black – 2017), Rutan was all but a shoe-in for the gaping guitarist vacancy left by longtime member Pat O’Brien.
Rutan fully joined the ranks after fulfilling lead guitar duties on the band’s last full-US tour alongside the Aussie heavyweights Thy Art is Murder before writing and recording took place during COVID-19, which vocalist Corpsegrinder recently (and thankfully) said did not hinder the band’s creative drive nor their abilities to produce music and bounce ideas back and forth via internet, even despite some members having moved cross-country.
As for the other members known and loved by many, their music thoroughly speaks for itself. Violence Unimagined is — from start to finish — another auditory onslaught that beats the very eardrums of its audience into an unrecognizable pulp, all the while berating and pummeling any preconceived notions of heavy music into pavement saturated and discolored with their own blood.
Plain and simple, this album is a straight-up assbeater. Tracks like “Necrogenic Resurrection” (wait for THAT riff. You’ll know when you hear it), “Condemnation Contagion”, “Follow the Blood”, and “Cerements of the Flayed” have added such a unique spice and flavor to the band’s already chock-full rack of riffs; whereas the inclusion of some more traditional and expected pieces such as “Inhumane Harvest”, “Bound and Burned”, and “Overtorture” are sure to leave all core fans of Cannibal Corpse already begging for the next album (don’t look at me).
One would be very hard-pressed to find another band—across any genre, but particularly heavy music—with as long and as consistently punishing of a discography as Cannibal Corpse while still maintaining some sort of freshness and nuance album after album. From a comparative standpoint, Violence Unimagined sounds like the masochistic demonspawn of such classic predecessors as Gore Obsessed (2002), Bloodthirst (1999), and Gallery of Suicide (1998) all mixed together with the newfound rawness and aggression that can be found in the band’s most recent two albums.
Being able to create music in 2021 that is equally as fresh as it was up-to 30 years ago is no simple feat, and is a massive underlying factor in the band’s endless and well-deserved success, as well as their seemingly eternal lifespan. By the way that Violence Unimagined smacks the listener in the jaw from beginning to end, Cannibal Corpse sounds like they plan to sit pretty back atop their throne for many more years so come.
And rightfully so. Cheers, gentlemen.
For fans of: bands that put Cannibal Corpse in their FFO section
Review written by: David Neil Boughter III of Sustenance (Atlanta, GA)
***NSFW UNCENSORED ALBUM ART***