Sound: After earning praise from critics and fans alike for 2006's Kill, the controversial death metal icons in Cannibal Corpse are back with another solid offering. Evisceration Plague marks the return of producer Erik Rutan (Hate Eternal, Morbid Angel), and it was a wise move on the band's part. The latest release maintains the furious energy and seamless guitar work heard on Kill, and in ways it's even taken up a notch. There won't be any huge surprises along the way if you're familiar with Cannibal Corpse's work, but given the band's past extremes in the musical and lyrical department, that would be a difficult task.
If there's one thing that certainly is evident from the get-go, it's Cannibal Corpse's obvious influence on the animated metal band Dethklok. From the chugging guitars to the Nathan Explosion-like vocals, it's almost uncanny at times. That fact alone should have younger fans eating Evisceration Plague up from the first listen. The CD starts off with Priests of Sodom, which doesn't mess around with a slow, ominous buildup. Instead, the track explodes with high-speed rhythm work, pounding drums, and a bellowing growl from George Corpsegrinder Fisher. There are several tempo changes throughout, and in terms of songs successfully introducing an album, it accomplishes its mission tenfold.
Evisceration Plague definitely revolves around the manic rhythm driving many of Cannibal Corpse's songs, but there is also plenty of intriguing lead work to back that aspect up. Beheading and Burning includes some unique-sounding pinch harmonics, Skewered From Ear To Eye is taken to the next level because of a fantastic grooving lead line, and Evidence in the Furnace features a fascinatingly wacky solo.
The main attraction in terms of both rhythmic and lead work is actually not even the title track. If you want to hear a modern day Flight of the Bumblebee, check out the amazing guitar work on Carnivorous Swarm. As the title indicates, it almost sounds like there is a huge swarm of, well, something evil chasing after you. Along with guitars, the percussion is also adding to the ambience, and in the final moments it seems the drums are recreating the sound of flapping wings. It may be total coincidence in that section, but it's still a very cool effect. Carnivorous Swarm, like pretty much every other track on the album, is an exhausting listen, but any Cannibal Corpse fan should be up for the challenge. // 9
Lyrics: Cannibal Corpse is one of those bands that are always the target of some parents' group that is deeply offended by lyrical content. What those parents hear on Evisceration Plague shouldn't ease their worries, of course. With titles like To Decompose, Shatter Their Bones, and Beheading and Burning, you probably get a general idea of what to expect. Probably the best statement about Evisceration Plague comes from bassist Alex Webster, who said, Once again, there's no real message to any of the lyrics. It's all strictly dark fantasy violent entertainment. It's not anything with a social message at all as usual. We've rarely had anything with any sort of social message to it." So for those looking for something deep and life-altering, look elsewhere. // 8
Overall Impression: In terms of brutal death metal, Cannibal Corpse continues to set the bar high. There is equal attention paid to both the rhythmic and lead aspects on Evisceration Plague, and while a few of the songs do sound similar, there are enough interesting musical sections along the way to hold your interest. As you might expect, this is not album for the sensitive (lyrically or musically), so be prepared for a sensory-shattering experience. // 9