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Cannibal Corpse’s Violence Unimagined: death metal legends gouge out a new classic

They may have been around since the dawn of time, but Cannibal Corpse’s new album Violence Unimagined is perilously addictive

Cannibal Corpse - Violence Unimagined
(Image: © Metal Blade)

You already wrote Fucked With A Knife. What violence is there left to imagine, lads? Album number 15 doesn’t detail any new, exciting ways to remove someone’s scrotum using just a fidget spinner and elbow grease. Instead, Florida’s death metal daddies have weaned one of their most wretched, brutal babies this side of the millennium.

At a glance, Cannibal Corpse aren’t doing much different here. Violence Unimagined spews forth 11 songs of stupidly guttural, low-end extremity. George ‘Corpsegrinder’ Fisher’s iconic barks tie everything down for the rhythm section that refuses to die, Alex Webster and Paul Mazurkiewicz flitting from militaristically precise blasts to mid-tempo stalking on Inhumane Harvest. It’s exhilarating stuff; Murderous Rampage’s intro fill is vintage Paul, and he doesn’t loosen his grip on the sticks until that final percussive push.

But wake up and smell the body. This isn’t any old Cannibal album. This is the catchiest they’ve sounded in ages. Surround, Kill, Devour packs a genuinely singalong chorus, whereas Bound And Burned’s initial riff is Southern-fried with a lingering Lamb Of God aftertaste. Nothing here is skippable, each track detailing a little more of the macabre menagerie until it climaxes with Cerements Of The Flayed, all splashing cymbals and spasmodic soloing.

Speaking of solos, the band’s long-serving producer, Erik Rutan, is now widdling alongside Rob Barrett full-time. He slips into the pocket immediately. Follow The Blood harbours one of the more melodious, guitar-hero moments in Cannibal Corpse’s entire catalogue. On the comically heavy Overtorture, which he penned by himself, Erik’s frantic riffing keeps this 30-plus-year-old band on their toes – and they’re loving it.

The old-school death metal revival has gained steam recently, but most of those newbies sound like piss down the pan compared to this. Potent and perilously addictive, Violence Unimagined is, without question, 2021’s bloody benchmark for the genre.