But fear not gore fiends; for all their admirable longevity, even the most cursory listen to this latest offering quickly confirms the band is not for easing off the gas and cruising into mainstream acceptance. Torture, like anything bearing the Cannibal Corpse name, is still the sonic equivalent of having your face rearranged by a claw hammer.
Few things in life are certainties – the Germans will be effortlessly efficient; the English will honorably fall at the last hurdle of any sporting event they enter and every couple of years, Cannibal Corpse will deliver another pulverising album of traditional death metal.
Unlike some of their contemporaries (yes, we’re looking in your direction Morbid Angel), Cannibal Corpse is not a band renowned for thinking outside the box, instead revelling in its strength and established power, happy to be to death metal what Slayer has become to thrash – solid, reliable, honest and still heavy as hell.
In that sense, Torture is an album of few surprises. Each of its twelve tracks is an exploration of heavy artillery rhythms; precise, powerful riffs and trademark guttural vocals. Although largely a retread of every other Cannibal Corpse album, this still sounds remarkably fresh and vital, the expert production of Erik Rutan ensuring absolute clarity and definition throughout, and allowing each instrument the room to breathe during even the most technical of passages.
Thematically too, little has changed with tracks like “Intestinal Crank” and “Followed Home Then Killed” sure to find the band picking up its customary collection of bans in the countries it usually gets banned in, and maybe even adding a couple of new ones to the list.
The assumption has to be that, by now, all but the freshest of metal newcomers has a perfectly formed opinion about Cannibal Corpse. Neither biggest fan nor biggest detractor will have that opinion changed one iota by anything on Torture. This is the new Cannibal Corpse album and it delivers everything you expect – the rest is up to you.
(released March 13, 2012 on Metal Blade Records)