Review by Ben for Cannibal Corpse - The Bleeding (1994)
More accessible than their previous releases, but still wickedly intense. One of their best!
Cannibal Corpse are one those bands that people love to hate. I heard recently that these guys have sold more albums than any other death metal outfit, which is partly due to their long career (11 full length studio albums and counting), but also due to the band having a huge fanbase. There are many out there that dislike the band solely for their rather disgusting lyrical content and imagery, and there are stacks that love them for the same reasons. Personally, I think death metal really isn't the sort of thing you should be playing to your family at gatherings. If you can't handle a bit of gory content, then perhaps this isn't the genre you should be subjecting yourself to. That being said, let's face it, Cannibal Corpse aren't really being serious when they suggest you pick up an axe and kill everyone you meet, and I'm fairly certain they don't practice penetrating their wives and girlfriends with sharp objects.
Anyway, the fact is that Cannibal Corpse know how to write intense death metal, filled with great hooks, brutal vocals and a level of excitement that many other similar bands could only dream of. The Bleeding was their last album that contained Chris Barnes on vocals, and it stands out as having a different approach than the preceding releases. Firstly, the riffs are a bit less chunky and take on a more thrashier style, but they're also a lot groovier and almost mesmerising at times due to their catchy yet crushing structures. Secondly, Chris' vocals are decipherable, which can't really be said for any previous material, which contained seriously guttural, low end growls. I think his performance on The Bleeding is the highlight of his career including anything he would produce for the shockingly awful Six Feet Under. The musicianship in general is damn good throughout, but it does pale a bit when compared to bands like Suffocation.
It's obvious from all the above that I think Cannibal Corpse (and this album) are more entertaining than a lot of people give them credit for, but I guess I still can't say that The Bleeding is a five-star type of album. There are some awesome tracks such as Staring Through the Eyes of the Dead, Fucked With a Knife, Stripped Raped and Strangled and the title track, but I'm not sure any of them reach the excellence of, for example, Hammer Smashed Face. Overall, The Bleeding is a consistent album that contains some great riffs and masses of intensity. It's more accessible than a lot of their other albums so if you're new to the band, this is probably not a bad place to start. Certainly one of their better albums!