If Cannibal Corpse were a woman, she’d be a soccer mom with six-pack abs — and a sharp set of knives in the drawer. Bassist Alex Webster and vocalist George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher both turn 40 this year. They and their bandmates have never sounded more fit. Cannibal Corpse’s last three records have been smoothly athletic. Some complain that the band’s artwork has stopped being brutal. It fits the package, though. Cannibal Corpse are no longer axe murderers, but precision assassins.
Now that primary songwriter Webster gives songs to his band on sheet music, they are literally on the same page. This yields singularity of sound. Riffs and percussion attack as one. Ironically, Paul Mazurkiewicz’s limitations help in this regard. He has never been a hyper-technical drummer, instead playing what is right for the songs. (I interviewed him here.) This helps avoid technical wankery. Odd meters abound, but they groove like a mother.
Such focus makes Pat O’Brien stand out. While his bandmates weld riffs together, he flings aloft dissonant harmonies and squiggly leads. Erik Rutan contributes perfect production, though over-compressed mastering muzzles the drums. Who needs lurid artwork when the music speaks for itself? Cannibal Corpse are at the top of their game, and deserve to be the world’s best-selling death metal band.