When Cannibal Corpse burst onto the scene with their seminal debut, Eaten Back To Life, in 1990, they seemed just as dangerous as the maniacs that featured in their gore-laden lyrics and artwork. Banned by numerous countries over the years, the Buffalo-born but Tampa-raised death metal band went on to become both the benchmark setters for their subgenre and the scourge of conservative America. While some of that unhinged menace is missing from the modern-day incarnation of Cannibal Corpse and the shock factor has admittedly grown a little stale, they still remain an explosive force of nature musically, and album number 14 is a brutal and unrelenting beast. With the ghost of former frontman Chris Barnes well and truly exorcised years ago, vocalist/human windmill George ‘Corpsegrinder’ Fisher’s 10th album leading the band is as rock-solid as ever as they deliver more tales of mayhem, murder and mutilated cadavers. Once again teaming up with producer Erik Rutan (who worked on 2006’s Kill, 2009’s Evisceration Plague and 2012’s Torture), Red Before Black is crammed full of dexterous, old-school death metal thrills such as Code Of The Slashers and Shedding My Human Skin. The title track is a massive moment, so vicious it should come with its own government health warning, while the bloodcurdling Corpus Delicti shows off the Floridians’ sometimes overlooked musical chops. Guitarists Pat O’Brien and Rob Barrett shred up a storm throughout and although the record runs out of steam near the end, it’s still a fun, if familiar romp.
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