Death metal veterans Cannibal Corpse return with their 14th studio release, Red Before Black. If you’re familiar with the band you know exactly what you’re in for, and you won’t be disappointed.
Kicking things off and setting the tone for the album is ‘Only One Will Die’. No fancy instrumental introduction track to be found here, as with in ten seconds of starting the blast beats are driving the furious tremolo guitar riffs while Corpsegrinder fiercely bellows. While not a particularly adventurous song, it’s a solid opening track with all the Cannibal Corpse elements you would expect, rounded off with a manic guitar solo.
Third track, ‘Code of the Slashers’ is where we get our first change of pace. After two high-tempo songs we are greeted with a slow, sludgy riff which comes across as downright menacing. But don’t be fooled, as this is merely just one part of this multi-faced beast. It’s not long before the song takes a thrash metal turn, with more high tempo and highly aggressive riffing. Again, keeping you on your toes, it changes to a much more disjointed riff. This is definitely a track that takes a few listens to fully appreciate every aspect of.
All too often bands stay to one time signature, and subsequently fall victim to their songs merging into one. Cannibal Corpse is most defiantly not one of them. ‘Shedding My Human Skin’ continues mixing things up with a beautifully dissonant introduction riff, leading into a nice 6/8 musical idea with a strangely bouncy feel to it.
‘In The Midst of Ruin’ is an interesting track, again combing many different elements in a frantic mix. A bouncy 6/8 intro interspersed with guitar harmonics gives way to a much more thrash centred idea. The song then continues to ping pong back and forth with variations on these two idea but due to some great compositional skills all the ideas feel united.
‘Hideous Ichor’ rounds things off, again displaying great compositional skills from the band as well as the technical prowess of each musician showing why they are considered pioneers, and veterans of the death metal genre.
There are many twists and turns throughout the Red Before Black to keep things interesting, with songs always moving at a good pace and musical ideas not over staying there welcome or stagnating the song. The great production of the album, thanks to producer Erik Rutan, keeps the songs sounding polished but with a deliberate grit to them which add to the character and tone of each piece.
Red Before Black by Cannibal Corpse is available now via Metal Blade Records.