Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Death Metal Tuesday - Torture 2012

25 years and 12 albums worth of death metal is an impressive achievement in itself, but the fact that Cannibal Corpse has remained so consistently dedicated to the genre that they helped make infamous back in 90-91 is something else all together.Cannibal is basically death metal’s answer to Slayer: year-after-year, album-after-album, they never risk alienating their original fan base. I can appreciate this, as Cannibal has never made me suffer through a Illud Divinum Insanus, or a Swansong, or aInsineratehymn. At the same time, it is starting to feel rather redundant and lifeless. 

I was skeptical when Barnes parted ways in 94, but Corpsegrinder finally converted me with Bloodthirst and then Gore Obsessed in 2002. It think Owens’ departure in 2004 has left a bigger hole in the band however. How do they keep things fresh and avoid repeating themselves? Well, the simple answer is: they don't. Cannibal fans expect consistency and that is what they get. Torture is Corpse-by-the-numbers with no real surprises. Starting with 2006’s Kill, I’ve started to feel like they keep writing the same album over and over. I just find it hard to imagine anyone in the pit before their show saying “man, I hope they play tons of shit off of Torture.” And I wonder how Mazurkiewicz and Webster feel when, after a block of new stuff live, Corpsegrinder announces “Skull Full of Maggots” and the crowd acts like the headliner finally took the stage.

The technical aspects and the production of this album is solid. My true hangup with the newer Corpse stuff is the sterility - it is so precise and technically sound, that it really lacks a personality. The songs are delivered with surgical precision and are plenty rocking, there are choice riffs, brutal vocals, and plenty of change ups. “Encased in Concrete” has some life, but then there is “Scourge of Iron,” “Intestinal Crank,” or the serialism of “Rabid” that just sounds like they’re stringing notes and words together out of habit more than anything else. I

Again, the Slayer metaphor is appropriate: You can’t knock a band that has stayed true to form and vision for 20+ years. So, I’m not knocking them, I’m just bored, and I feel like it’s their boredom that’s the problem. It also might be a deeper, philosophical issue regarding aging. Seeing my adolescent heroes grow old and tired, reminds me that I’m growing old and tired. Torture isn’t awful - I can put it on and not turn it off out of frustration, but I also won’t notice anything until it stops playing and my attention is drawn to how quiet it is now. 2 out of 5.

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