Sound: If this is your first hearing of the Death Metal tribute quartet Cannabis Corpse, consider yourself unlucky. Now on their fourth effort since 2006, Cannabis Corpse has continually not only been a joy to laugh with (and for many fans, smoke with) but a band to genuinely enjoy. Beneath Grow Lights Thou Shalt Rise is just their latest installation in their now respectable discography, and further brings them to the forefront of new death metal acts bringing a much respected classic Cannibal Corpse style (go figure) to the table.
It should be noted that although this is a band that has songs like 'Bong of the Mutilated' and 'Blame it on Bud' (Tomb of the Mutilated and Blame it on God for those of you who have never listened to Cannibal Corpse or Deicide) Cannabis Corpse is absolutely NOT a cover band, so don't go thinking this is just a funny spin off of a bunch of already written Death Metal songs. Landphil - Bassist of Municipal Waste and of course Cannabis Corpse has created a fun Death Metal side project that at this point, sounds more like he puts all his time and songwriting ability in to.
The musicians on this album (complete with death metal/weed smoking nicknames) shine on this album and each one gets their moment of glory - and this no doubt includes Vocalist Andy "Weedgrinder" Horn (but we won't get into him, he gets his own section. Songs like 'Blame it on Bud' show off the speed and precision of Landphil, as well as his ability to not just follow the guitar like 90% of bassists in Death Metal, but rather innovating the riffs with an excellent handle of the instrument.
Songs like 'Dead by Bong' and 'Blaze of Torment' boast the drummer Josh "Hallhammer" Hall's tight and intense drumming ability, while also showing off the entire bands ability to play with agile form as a full band. Title track 'Beneath Grow Lights Thou Shalt Rise' is another achievement of their songwriting ability. Does it innovate the genre of Death Metal? Not in the least. Is it more than fun to listen to? You bet your stoned butt it does.
Great songwriting and skill means nothing unless you've got the right tools and the right Audio Engineer for the job. Enter Erik Rutan. Known for his achievements with Cannibal Corpse's two most recent albums, as well as his own successful Hatred Alive, Erik Rutan has brought his uncanny mixing ability to Cannabis Corpse, as if they needed more help sounding like "you know who". The production is solid - perfect. In fact, I think they couldn't have achieved a better sound. // 8
Lyrics: Upon sitting and listening to this album in it's entirety, reading along with the accompanying booklet, I found myself smiling, headbanging, and occasionally giggling like a schoolgirl. The reasons? The vocals. Andy "Weedgrinder" Horn is the perfect reincarnation of Chris Barnes (as if he vanished), and believe you me, that is not a bad thing. Not only does he carry himself as a simply excellent vocalist, but the guy can really deliver with amazing rhythm. While the 'Hall' brothers handled the writing of the music, Weedgrinder has taken up the duty of lyric writer, and it has had amazing results.
The most important part of Death Metal isn't about what the lyrics are or what they're about, it's about how they sound; how they're delivered. A talented Death Metal vocalist should be able to at least do that. When you find a vocalist that can do that along with making some great and hilarious lyrics, you got a catch.
While 'Lunatic of Pot's Creation' tells us the story of a man who has smoked himself so stupid he has become a merciless killing machine, 'Dead by Bong' tells us the story of a CSI attempting to smoke a bong that could possibly tell what has happened to all the dead bodies - not knowing the bong was the cause of their death. When 'Where the Kind Lives' serenades us with the tale of stoners getting abducted by aliens, stoned to the point of no control and scientifically experimented on, 'Blame it on Bud' is merely a lash-out at the still ongoing war on drugs.
The lyrics are increasingly well delivered, and additionally are funny, creative, brutal, and enjoyable. Weedgrinder may have lost his fair share of braincells, but he can still write a fun and catchy song that will have the metalheads and the '4:20-friendly' quite happy. // 8
Overall Impression: Cannabis Corpse has brought fourth a great album. With great riffs, well executed and appropriate guitar solos, and distinctive moments, Beneath Grow Lights Thou Shalt Rise is an album that any Death Metal geek like myself will love. The album doesn't contribute much to the genre besides add more of the same to it, but it certainly doesn't take anything away from the genre.
In fact, those of you who miss the days before Necrophagist and Revocation will no doubt look at this album as a gift from Satan himself. This album is, fast, brutal, intricate, and besto f all - metal. I would like to say I would like more experimentation on the album, however that is not what this band is about. You don't buy a Cannabis Corpse album expecting their breakthrough progressive album with their new 25-minute epic. You buy Cannabis Corpse for Death Metal.
That being said, this album may not be for everyone - in fact I know it won't be. Death Metal of this sort's popularity died long ago because the majority of people were tired of it, and ready to move onto the next thing. For the Death Metalers out there still loking for that good ol-fashioned style, look no further. Beneath Grow Lights Thou Shalt Rise is exactly what you need.
Whom this album is for: Death Metaler's, Stoner's, Anyone looking for a good laugh.
Whom this album is NOT for: Fan's of Metalcore or Nu-Metal, Fans of harmony and melody, Anyone who has "heard enough death metal for one lifetime" // 7