Red Before Black
Metal Blade Records
Death metal kingpins, Cannibal Corpse, have released another apocalyptic wave of direct to jugular brutality with studio album #14, Red Before Black. Since their demonistic summoning to Earth nearly 30 years back, Cannibal Corpse have wreaked havoc on anyone and everyone whose ears they’ve encountered.
If you couldn’t tell from their name, Cannibal Corpse isn’t for the faint hearted, or even stone cold, soulless psychopaths for that matter. You’ll never hear them on mainstream radio, and with past song titles like Hammer Smashed Face, Frantic Disembowelment and A Skull Full of Maggots, you can see why. Listen with caution, and not with loved ones, at work, or in public, unless you know the musical thresholds of those around you extremely well. Even the slightest slip of lyrics while listening may end in a public exorcism, or at least police questioning.
Much like past albums, Red Before Black is full of morbid and macabre subject matter. It’s an indistinguishable mashup of psychopathic madness and doomsday melodies, prefect for some, not so much for others. Explicit content warnings attached to every track shouldn’t be taken for granted.
Cannibal Corpse’s signature brutality is smashed into your eardrums track one, Only One Will Die, and the savage intensity is maintained for the next 46 minutes of sinful musical annihilation. It’s a diabolic warzone of gore, death and destruction, not your average church sermon, as far from as possible actually.
Your senses are willingly slaughtered as frontman, George ‘Corpsegrinder’ Fisher, spews a diabolic plague of lyrics over Pat O’Brien and Rob Barrett’s gruesome guitar gauntlet, Alex Webster’s bludgeoning bass and Paul Mazurkiewicz’s, seemingly more powerful than ever, demonic drumming. Every track’s a warhead of sheer aggression and bloodshed, brutal basslines and guitar riffs over jackhammering drums that’ll see your neck, and brain, pushed to their limits from the induced headbanging.
Title track, Red Before Black, along with In the Midst of Ruin and Destroyed Without a Trace, see some neat solos hit the spotlight which are worth the listen. With an oh-so-slightly mellower sound, Code of the Slashers sees things grind down to a steadier pace, with an ominous tone set with the intro and sludgy riffs exposing the instrumental brilliance on offer. A little different to the typical Cannibal Corpse sound but a welcome addition.
Frequent tempo shifts occur throughout the album which add a nice touch of something different into the mix of a few tracks, including Shedding My Human Skin, Remaimed, Corpus Delicti and Scavenger Consuming Death among others.
Corpus Delicti, kicks off with an especially relentless laydown of crushing instrumentals which creates an absolutely insane sound, while Scavenger Consuming Death sees Webster’s smooth bass work really stand out and In the Midst of Ruin takes a slightly different approach, with oozy guitar riffs and ever ferocious drumming.
Album finale, Hideous Ichor, is a culmination of chaos, with an arsenal of guitar, bass and drumming shifting from a bombarding attack into a smoother droning guitar at stages before kicking into a gnarly solo before a tempo kick to finish.
Red Before Black is merely a continuation of the apocalyptic sounds and lyrical brutality that is Cannibal Corpse, seemingly more precise and improved, but still raw as hell, with a touch of old-school Corpse in there too. It feels much like previous albums, but subtle change-ups can be heard if you listen deep enough.
They have nothing to prove, and don’t give two shits about who you are or what you want, they just rocked up and turned the place upside down in the most unforgiving way possible. Red Before Black is a slaughterhouse of sound that’s not really safe to listen to anytime anywhere, but that’s what will make Red Before Black so appealing to the legion of death metal worshipping fans among us. It’s loud and obnoxious noise, just what you’re used to, and just what you wanted.
Death metal fans will undoubtedly see Red Before Black as a savage culmination of Corpse’s work and the new holy grail. Unless you’re into death metal, you almost certainly won’t enjoy this album, ever, but it’s always good to try new things, just don’t say I didn’t warn you.