Cannibal Corpse - Red Before Black (Metal Blade Records)

Death metal titans Cannibal Corpse take no prisoners with their fourteenth album Red Before Black.
Release Date: 
3 Nov 2017 (All day)

Close to thirty years into their career, that mighty force that is iconic American death metal band Cannibal Corpse, are set to release their fourteenth studio album, Red Before Black, this November. Archetypical of the genre, Cannibal Corpse have sustained a relatively consistent commitment to their definition of extreme death metal since their formation in 1988. In keeping with this, Red Before Black is essentially Cannibal Corpse doing yet again what they do best: unrelentingly intense death metal, across twelve solid tracks. With Red Before Black, Cannibal Corpse have reunited with thrice-met producer Erik Rutan, who produced Torture (2012), Evisceration Plague (2009), and Kill (2006), and this clearly works for them.

Cannibal Corpse have really grabbed it by the throat in Red Before Black. If A Skeletal Domain (2014) had an ever so slight stain of darkness running through its veins, Red Before Black unapologetically puts the focus back on pared-back, pulverising heavy constructions that don’t stray far from classic Cannibal Corpse brutality. This is apparent from the unforgiving opening track ‘Only One Will Die’, with ruthlessly high energy and chaotically angst-ridden soloing. Tracks such as ‘Corpus Delecti’ embrace frenetic pace and exciting tweaky solos, moving into some raw, almost thrash-influenced destructiveness in the title track ‘Red Before Black’ and ‘In The Midst Of Ruin’. While there is a curious lack of George ‘Corpsegrinder’ Fisher’s dire screeches, Red Before Black doesn’t necessarily need them, is far from lost without it, and Fisher’s vocals are otherwise as sternum rumbling as always. ‘Shedding My Human Skin’ is a fun track, with a bit of a playful, bouncy rhythm, testifying to the range of time signatures invoked by Paul Mazurkiewicz.

Where Red Before Black hits its strongest form for me is in the megalithically thick, marginally more restrained-pace tracks that really allow the robust bass so definitive of Cannibal Corpse to shine. Principal among these is ‘Scavenger Consuming Death’, with a grimy-tough bass intro that then locks into an addictive heavy groove. ‘Firestorm Vengeance’ unleashes some punchy and technically impressive bass work in an overall hard-hitting track.This is not new territory for Cannibal Corpse by any means, but every reiteration of awesome Alex Webster bass lines is another reason to celebrate.‘Code Of The Slashers’ with its majestic opening that explodes into manically energetic rage and lead-ridden breakdowns showcases Cannibal Corpse in full flight and would be a tight pick for the track that stands out as the most engaging on Red Before Black.

Cannibal Corpse are a band who - thirty years and fourteen consistently solid albums in - know what they are doing. Red Before Black is an album designed to slaughter it, LIVE. Every track on this album prompts visualisations of wild crushing mosphits and no doubt Cannibal Corpse will bring these new monsters to their setlists around the world. The bottom line is that Cannibal Corpse pander to nobody and have remarkable loyalty to the straight-up death metal sound, which they seem to reproduce inexhaustibly with each new release. If you get into Cannibal Corpse then you’ll feel right at home inside Red Before Black. 

Red Before Black is out NOW via Metal Blade Records