Cannibal Corpse are by far one of the most consistent and unrelenting metal bands working today. They are 100% deserving of their renowned success and continue to earn and heighten their rank in the metal world as the highest grossing death metal band of all time. They don’t do it by “selling out” or slanted marketing, but by consistently releasing great, forward-thinking, and brutal-as-all-fuck death metal. I’d even venture to claim that they are heavier and more creative now than they’ve ever been, and their 12th full length, Torture, is a motherfucking prime example of that.
For the most part, you always know what you’re getting into when you put on a Cannibal Corpse record. The band helped define modern death metal in the late eighties/early nineties and developed their own distinct sound and style not too long after that, and each successive record, while making a few minor rights and lefts along the way, has been a natural evolution of that unique sound. With Torture the band has made some serious strides yet again, opting for a much groovier and blisteringly heavy sound akin to Bloodthirst, The Bleeding, or Kill. It’s the first-person soundtrack to a severely fucked up horror story as you’re strapped to a chair and gagged, watching helplessly as your captor slowly and meticulously brings about your torturous demise.
As I mentioned before, this album has some serious groove on it. While the band have never been “tech-death” per se, they’ve always had just the right amount of twists and turns, odd time signatures, and jolting transitions to keep things interesting. These tactics are still very prevalent on this album (see “Intestinal Crank”), but they have taken a back seat to the murderous grooves and down-tuned riffs that Cannibal Corpse are known for. Songs like “Encased in Concrete”, “Demented Aggression”, and “Followed Home Then Killed” all stab you in the gut with their infectious grooves, surging forward at a breakneck pace and taking no prisoners along the way. Take the triplet-laced groove in “Followed Home Then Killed” for example; amid an onslaught of technically proficient and trademarked riffs, these nut jobs decide to straighten the path just long enough that you forgot your brain was ever scrambled from all the preceding insanity in the first place.
It’s not all up-tempo groove that Torture displays so well, though. Some of the stand out moments on the record are when the band decides to slow things down a bit and wields the sledgehammer grooves that their knack for capable and catchy songwriting really shines. “Scourge of Iron” is one of the simplest songs the band has written since “Stripped, Raped and Strangled” all those years ago and it’s just as effective. A slow, brooding open-picked riff that drags you along by the whites of your eyes and makes it impossible not to bang your head clean off.
It’s not just the stellar songwriting that makes this record so effective, but the near flawless production as well. Everything is perfectly balanced, each member shines through the mix and really showcases the individual talents of them all. It’s not too polished as to sound mechanical, but not so organic that it becomes messy; it’s the kind of production that is done so well you barely even think about it. This is how Cannibal Corpse is supposed to sound!
In short, Torture is one of those records that makes you wonder why anyone else even tries to play death metal when the veterans are still doing it so damn well. It’s the reason why death is still very much a relevant genre right now, despite all the bastardizations and progressions on the style that are permeating the musical landscape as of late. Cannibal Corpse are a band that can seemingly do no wrong, and regardless of their age or tenure are showing no signs of slowing or stopping anytime soon. Grab your hatchet, lace up your boots, and strap yourself in. This one’s a doozy.
Torture is out now on Metal Blade Records. Grab yours now and catch them on tour all throughout April with Exhumed, Abysmal Dawn, and Arkaik! Dates here. Also, Bloody-Disgusting just released the new video for “Encased In Concrete” directed by the outstanding David Brodsky. It’s not currently embeddable but you can watch it here.
Torture – 9.3/10
1. Demented Aggression
2. Sarcophagic Frenzy
3. Scourge Of Iron
4. Encased In Concrete
5. As Deep As The Knife Will Go
6. Intestinal Crank
7. Followed Home Then Killed
8. The Strangulation Chair
9. Caged… Contorted
10. Crucifier Avenged
12. Torn Through
Favorite Song: Followed Home Then Killed