CANNIBAL CORPSE - BUTCHERED AT BIRTH (1991)
In honor of Halloween, I thought I'd do one of the classics for DMT, but I didn't want to pick a personal favorite. Cannibal Corpse are, of course, American death metal legends. Since 1990, they have not stopped churning out releases that remain loyal to the genre. At this point, you can probably divide their career into 3 phases. The first phase is the Chris Barnes on vocals era - the first four albums. This is classic corpse.
Cannibal Corpse's 1992 album Tomb of the Mutilated, has always been my favorite of theirs. The previous year's Butchered at Birth is somewhat more difficult for me. The snare drum has always bothered me - it's too loud and doesn't sit well in the mix. It hurts the album as a whole. I realize this seems like nitpicking, but it really distracts me from the rest of the music and becomes all I hear. If I can manage to set that aside, there's actually some great tracks here. Rancid Amputation and Gutted are great. Covered with Sores is even better - probably the best song on here. The riffs make or break it for me, thus Living Dissection and Under the Rotted Flesh feel like uninspired filler.
Barnes is nice and guttural on this record, though not as ghoulish as he is on the next album, it's a nice throaty bark. Rusay and Owens are no longer with the band, but their interplay is what gave early Corpse their sound. The rhythm section is plenty tight, but god damn that snare is too loud, particularly on those blast-beats.
Butchered at Birth is an inconsistent album on many points, but it does depart completely from the debut's loose thrash connections, and in that, it feels like a pure death metal album. The song writing would really find its place on the next album, on Butchered, Cannibal is still finding their way. And turn the damn snare down. 2.5 out 5.