01. Demented Aggression
02. Sarcofagic Frenzy
03. Scourge Of Iron
04. Encased In Concrete
05. As Deep As The Knife Will Go
06. Intestinal Crank
07. Followed Home Then Killed
08. The Strangulation Chair
09. Caged… Contorted
10. Crucifier Avenged
12. Torn Through
[Metal Blade Records]
One thing that has always intrigued me about the Cannibal Corpse sound is the way people respond to it. Their importance is unquestionable; they’re one of the biggest selling death metal bands ever and after 22 years, there’s no sign of them stopping or even slacking — if I had to pick one band to represent death metal, it would probably be the Corpse. However, time and time again I hear from people who just don’t like it, the most common remark being ‘I like death metal, but not Cannibal Corpse’. Honestly, I don’t really get it. There’s definitely a distinct sound — groovy death metal with smatterings of technicality that doesn’t rely on constant blastbeats to be brutal, but there’s nothing present that’s particularly offensive.
The reason I brought all of this up is because Torture represents an interesting situation. Both previous releases Kill and Evisceration Plague revered by fans for being consistent and well thought out, and to some Torture will be seen as just a simple extension of that. Opener ‘Demented Aggression‘ forcefully imprints itself directly into your head as a memorable thrashing skullcrusher filled with twists and turns that mean it could easily be seen in the same light as other classic Cannibal Corpse openers like ‘The Time To Kill Is Now‘ and ‘Hammer Smashed Face‘. Those aforementioned people that find no solace in this specific brand of brutality won’t find anything in it that will change their mind, but for previous fans there’s an overarching atmosphere of accomplishment — Torture may not be perfect and it may not have to ‘classic’ status of Tomb Of The Mutilated but I don’t think it’s stretching the truth the say it could be the definitive Cannibal Corpse record.
There’s just song after song of blunt force trauma that hits in all the right places; ‘Scourge Of Iron‘ cuts an interesting niche for itself by sticking to a fairly mid-paced tempo and recalling the instant appeal of tracks like Morbid Angel‘s ‘Where The Slime Live‘ or Bloodbath‘s ‘Eaten‘; ‘As Deep As The Knife Will Go‘ is simply as brutal as the name suggests and ‘The Strangulation Chair‘ is a great example of how, after an entire career of working together, the rhythm section of Alex Webster and Paul Mazurkiewicz are completely in synch, feeding off each other parts seamlessly. Twelve tracks of incessant ‘wall-of-sound’ style death metal can become tiring, but the fascinating thing is even the songs tucked at the end of the album—a space normally reserved for filler—feel completely competent when you give them your full attention. For instance, take ‘Crucifier Avenged‘, a track that pays tribute to Kreator as much as it does Autopsy and Suffocation whilst still playing off their core sound — no allusion to deathcore intended.
Torture is a great death metal album with more than enough substance to keep fans happy – there’s nothing that will change anyone’s mind about them but the material here feels so refined and accomplished that it seems a shame to ignore it just based on your previous experience. Maybe Kill, Tomb Of The Mutilated and Butchered At Birth weren’t albums you enjoyed; maybe it’s a sound that’s just not for you, but I find it hard believe that anyone could listen to Torture and not understand why Cannibal Corpse are a corner stone of the genre and why so many people have latched onto their music.
Cannibal Corpse’s Torture gets…