Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Brain Removal Police

As a teenager, I used to consider Cannibal Corpse a band for people without the dedication or intellectual curiosity to delve deeper into the underground; the few CC "fans" I knew rarely listened to any extreme metal bands besides Corpse. [To show how much of a metal snob I was back then, I regarded "Slayer fans" with the same disdain.] Corpse weren't faster or more technical than anyone else, and despite the number of copycats they inspired, they weren't particularly innovative either. When it came to American death metal, Morbid Angel, Death, Suffocation, Obituary and Deicide were the bands that I deemed important; Cannibal Corpse were just a band that was popular.

Of course, American death metal wasn't really my thing back then anyways.  It was all about Sweden, Norway, Sweden, Brazil, Sweden, Poland, Sweden, Sweden, and Sweden.  With all the excitement going on in Scandinavia, South America, and Eastern Europe, Cannibal Corpse and the other US bands just seemed kind of...dumb.

And then something happened.  Around the time they were about to release Kill, I was cruising past my mid-20s.  Seeing Corpsegrinder on the cover of Decibel, ready to release another Tipper-sticker defying album...I realized that I had more in common with the old fat guys in Cannibal Corpse than ever. Alex Webster and company were lifers, like me. Almost every other metal band has broken up, reformed, slowed down or grown up... but not these guys. Cannibal Corpse kept releasing Cannibal Corpse albums for Cannibal Corpse fans. There's something laudable about that, something dependable, something comforting in a way that most metal fans will never understand, because they won't be metal fans in 5 years. In 2006 I cracked and purchased the entire Corpse discography, and since then, every album they've released has been top ten worthy for me.

Which brings me to their newest album, Torture, which has been getting great reviews. I can't say it's any better than Kill or Evisceration Plague; it's definitely more immediate, and has a thrashy intensity that recalls Darkness Descends in its precocious fury. Is it the metal album of the year? The one that will make converts out of cynics? Is it the best thing CC has ever done? I don't know. But it is a Cannibal Corpse album, and I love it just for that.