Cannibal Corpse are one of the few death metal bands that have received mainstream media attention and are known outside of metal circles. They raised the ire of onetime Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole; were prohibited from playing early songs in Germany; crashed the Billboard charts in the mid-1990s and were featured in the Jim Carrey movie Ace Ventura, Pet Detective.
More important than all of the brushes with the mainstream is their music. Cannibal is perhaps the most influential, best-selling and longest-running death metal band (although some would argue for Deicide). Here are their five best albums.
Cannibal Corpse’s final album with vocalist Chris Barnes (not counting the outtakes from Created To Kill, later renamed Vile) lacks the technical mastery of their later albums but is nonetheless their best. It’s slower and has more groove than their earlier albums but the songs are much better. Three of the songs: “Staring Through The Eyes of The Dead,” “F—ed With a Knife,” and “Stripped, Raped and Strangled” have been concert staples since 1994. Barnes offers the best vocal and lyrical performance of his long death metal career. Jack Owen and Rob Barrett (replacing original guitarist Bob Rusay) craft some of the most memorable death metal riffs of the 1990s. Cannibal’s best and a death metal classic.
Cannibal’s move to technical death metal began in earnest when George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher joined the band and peaked with this album. Alex Webster talked for years about Cannibal being as well-known for their musical mastery as their lyrics and album covers. On Kill,
the lyrics and artwork are easily forgotten. Music is the source of all the carnage here – particularly on tracks like “Make Them Suffer.” Kill
was the first Cannibal album produced by Hate Eternal guitarist Erik Rutan, who also worked on Evisceration Plague.
This album has followed Cannibal throughout their career thanks to the often-censored cover art and the gruesome song titles. Cannibal was still learning their craft so some of the tracks sound muddled and repetitive. But this is Cannibal’s most notorious album and contains their trademark song “Hammer Smashed Face,” so it makes the cut.
Cannibal made real creative strides in the late 1990s. This is George Corpsegrinder Fisher’s second album with the band, and guitarist Pat O’Brien’s first. The album was a bit controversial because of the more experimental direction on tracks like “Blood Drenched Execution” and "Gallery of Suicide.” Fisher’s delivery is relentless and O’Brien immediately adds depth. Contains the standout musical “From Skin To Liquid.”
A strong leap in Cannibal's technical evolution, Gore Obsessed
includes tracks like “Pit Of Zombies,” and “Hatchet To The Head.” Earlier albums like Butchered At Birth
and Eaten Back To Life
receive more attention than this album, an overlooked gem in the Cannibal catalog.