CANNIBAL CORPSE is the biggest band in the history of death metal. It's ultimately a subjective argument as to whether or not they're the best death metal band ever, but that's indisputably a valid contention. The band has made waves within the world of heavy metal and well beyond. They've been on the brunt-end of censorship the world over, and they've been in the crosshairs of US senators for their over-the-top, visceral lyrics and Vince Locke crafted imagery. They've stood the test of time because, quite simply, they are absolutely badass. The death metal overlords have returned with their 15th full-length album, "Violence Unimagined", one of their best releases in decades, and one that proves that CANNIBAL CORPSE's expiration date isn't likely to come any time soon.
George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher doesn't just prove himself to be the reliable death metal frontman that he's always been, he seems to have upped his game, with an even more robust and aggressive delivery than usual. He growls and screams with authority and menacing rage, especially on tracks like "Follow the Blood". Bassist Alex Webster and drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz, the latter of whom contends that his work on "Violence Unimagined" has been his most physically demanding effort with the band, continue to stand as an incredible rhythm section providing the perfect foundation for the guitars to flourish atop. Longtime (former) guitarist Pat O'Brien is no slouch, not by any means, but his replacement is the new blood that the band needed to reinvigorate them, providing new life. Erik Rutan, who has produced four CANNIBAL COPRSE albums and has been their friend for years, plays off guitarist Rob Barrett comfortably and naturally, writing three full songs, musically and lyrically.
CANNIBAL CORPSE has always optimized track sequencing, forcefully opening albums with strong songs like "Hammer Smashed Face", "Staring Through the Eyes of the Dead" or "Devoured by Vermin". "Violence Unimagined"'s opener, "Murderous Rampage", is a relentless and memorable song which features backing vocals from Rutan. Elsewhere, one of "Inhumane Harvest"'s key, recurring riffs plumbs the depths of eighties metal. The track also rekindles the death thrash of the band's early days, but not to the extent found during "Surround, Kill, Devour"'s chorus section.
CANNIBAL CORPSE doesn't simply continue to prove its relevance with "Violence Unimagined", they've offered an album that's as good as anything death metal fans could hope for in 2021. They sound as savage as a new band that's trying to make its mark. "Violence Unimagined" isn't as impressive as it is just because of Erik Rutan, but it's clear that he was the catalyst for the band's renewed taste for blood.