Cannibal Corpse - Kill (2006)Release ID: 5103
You can rely on two things in life: taxes & Cannibal Corpse delivering a quality death metal product. We’re now thirty-five years & fifteen albums into their career & the Buffalo death metal legends are still going strong with their last album proving to be as popular as anything they’ve released in more than two decades. My experience with the band began right back at their debut album “Eaten Back To Life” & has taken me through the majority of my life. Back in the early-to-mid 1990’s I counted them as a major influence on me as a musician &, despite the fact that they’ve tended to steer away from delivering any surprises over the years & have subsequently earnt a reputation for being the AC/DC of death metal in that their albums sound predominantly the same, my respect for Cannibal Corpse as an artist has proven to be unwavering. I hold a lot of admiration for their undying commitment to never selling out, staying brutal & pushing themselves technically & 2006’s tenth album “Kill” is no exception. In fact, it may just be some of the band’s finest work.
Unlike the vast majority of the Cannibal Corpse back catalogue, “Kill” doesn’t come adorned with ultra-gory & cartoonish cover artwork. This time the band wanted to let their music do the talking & that’s backed up by a very serious & professional musical approach that sees the band pushing their techniques to their limits. The album marks the return of guitarist Rob Barrett (Solstice/Eulogy/Malevolent Creation) who had previously played on 1994’s “The Bleeding” & 1996’s “Vile”, a move that brought with it great promise for me personally as I consider myself a fan of both records. It also saw Hate Eternal/Morbid Angel/Ripping Corpse/Alas guitarist Erik Rutan taking on the production duties for the first time, a responsibility he’d continue to own for most of Cannibal Corpse’s subsequent releases. You can see why too as “Kill” sounds great with the heavily down-tuned guitars achieving perfect clarity & the drum kit punching through with precision. I regard this as quite an achievement given the band’s brand new super-low tuning of G#.
The thirteen song tracklisting offers a solid level of consistency throughout with no weak tracks included. The riff work is exceptionally angular & expansive & represents one of the highlights of the album with bassist & songwriter Alex Webster having come up with a truck-load of interesting spider-handed runs that keep me on my toes throughout. It’s a very technical album actually & I think the return of Barrett has helped to enable that along with the unquestionable skills of his partner in crime Pat O’Brien. The guitar solos are the other major talking point as they invariably represent the peak of each track. Some are spectacularly shreddy while the use of wah-pedal is employed to great effect in the more atmospheric moments. Webster’s performance is outstanding as usual & once again shows him to be one of the elite bass players in the extreme metal scene.
I don’t think there’ll be any surprises when I mention the albums limitations though. Front man George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher does what he does, nothing more, nothing less. You know exactly what to expect from George as he’s built a career on doing largely the same thing on every album. He’s no doubt a wonderful asset in a live environment with his ultra-masculine, metal-as-fuck persona dominating the show but in the studio he can sound a touch monotonous after a while & this does limit the levels that a modern Cannibal Corpse record can reach. The other (& more significant) limiter can be found in Paul Mazurkiewicz’s repetitive blast-beat style which sounds pretty tame by today’s standards. The rumours of him only possessing three beats in his repertoire are somewhat justified in my opinion & it’s been a long-time annoyance of mine. His strength though, lies in his contribution to the slow-to-mid-paced material where he utilizes double-time ride cymbal work to great effect & I don’t think it’s a coincidence that this also correlates with the band’s strength. Cannibal Corpse’s more up-tempo & brutal passages can sound a little unsophisticated & thuggish but when they slow things down a bit they achieve the complete opposite effect with slower tracks like “Death Walking Terror” & closing instrumental “Infinite Misery” (my personal favourite) representing some of the high points of Cannibal Corpse’s entire career.
“Kill” may not be a tier one death metal record but it is a damn solid one nonetheless & I can see very few fans of the genre complaining too much. It’s nice to have a band that can so regularly & so consistently deliver a product of invariable quality as the extreme metal scene seems to gravitate towards the more progressive & adventurous artists over the last decade or two. I probably wouldn’t have thought it possible many years ago but I do tend to favour a record like “Kill” slightly over childhood faves like “Butchered At Birth” & “Tomb Of The Mutilated” these days, perhaps due to the increased maturity, consistency & sophistication in the band’s sound. In fact, it may be one of Cannibal Corpse’s more successful ventures overall.
Death Metal (conventional)
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