“Red Before Black”

By El Chief

The Big 3-0. Death metal gods Cannibal Corpse will achieve that milestone anniversary next year. To celebrate, the band is releasing its fourteenth full-length studio album, "Red Before Black." It's loaded with a dozen crushing songs guaranteed to wear your ass out in the pit. Think about it, at a point when hairlines recede and joints groan, Cannibal's stranglehold at the top of the extreme metal scene remains as sure as ever. Just listen to what George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher bellows on "Code of the Slashers:" "We'll end your fucking life." 

Fisher and his mates have conjured up forty-seven minutes of balls out aggression. Drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz plays as if he's holding your life in his hand and he wants every quick blast of snare to bring you closer to the grave. The mix pushes Mazurkiewicz to the rear but make no mistake, his feet are the heartbeat of the Grim Reaper. Then, there are the insane solos from lead guitarist Pat O'Brien. His axe stutters and wails like homicidal tendencies bubbling up from a pit of psychopaths. The electronic screams are the frenetic voices of men unable to control lust and rage.  He and rhythm guitarist Rob Barrett are never more sure-fingered as in the opening salvo to "Firestorm Vengeance," where the riffs get manipulated as if the guitar necks are being forced through a blender. It's the stuff of fantastic nightmares.

 "Red Before Black" continues a run almost unheard of in music. Think about it, most groups with a legacy such as Cannibal Corpse's hit the wall at some point and release a string of subpar efforts. But the worst people can say about a Cannibal LP is that some of their songs lack energy. However, this new disc doesn't suffer from lethargy at all. You'll be screaming from start to finish.