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Cannibal Corpse - "A Skeletal Domain" (CD)

Cannibal Corpse - "A Skeletal Domain" CD cover image

"A Skeletal Domain" track listing:

1. High Velocity Impact Spatter
2. Sadistic Embodiment
3. Kill or Become
4. A Skeletal Domain
5. Headlong into Carnage
6. The Murderer's Pact
7. Funeral Cremation
8. Icepick Lobotomy
9. Vector of Cruelty
10. Bloodstained Cement
11. Asphyxiate to Resuscitate
12. Hollowed Bodies

Reviewed by on November 7, 2014

"It's frighteningly dark and extremely heavy from start to finish, with plenty of time for experimentation."

It's been twenty six years since Cannibal Corpse formed and began churning out some of the most brutal death metal ever conceived. All this time later, Cannibal Corpse is still one of the best known acts in its field and regularly forges new music. Many bands who have been around for a long while find themselves stagnating or copying themselves, so with a thirteenth studio album now in stores, one might be asking if Cannibal Corpse has fallen to this same fate. Well, if "A Skeletal Domain" is anything to go by, then the answer is a resounding "NO!"

The album opens with the feedback driven intro to the song "High Velocity Impact Spatter," which soon evolves into a crushingly heavy slab of metal that contains the kind of catchy chorus that only Cannibal Corpse seems to know how to write. The interesting thing here though is that there's a darker tone on this track, suggesting that the group is not just angry anymore, but rather has become a full blown nihilist. It leads nicely into "Sadistic Embodiment," perhaps one of the most insane songs on the album and one which features more of a thrash metal influence than the preceding offering.

These two songs set the tone of the album perfectly. It's frighteningly dark and extremely heavy from start to finish, with plenty of time for experimentation. For instance, the title track brings in something of a doom metal influence to begin with, coupled by a creepy gothic vibe, all whilst still being undeniably death metal. There's even a hark back to the heavy metal of the 1970s and early '80s on the song "The Murderer's Pact," which is followed by the skin crawling creepiness of "Funeral Cremation” that features one of the best verse structures on the album.

There is more on show throughout, such as the grooves displayed in "Vector of Cruelty," but as was previously said, "A Skeletal Domain" is still unquestionably a death metal album. It's vicious from start to finish. A raging behemoth that devours all in its path, picking particularly on the brains of the listener.

With "A Skeletal Domain," Cannibal Corpse show that the band still has plenty to offer and that its place as one of the most revered death metal bands of all time has not only been retained, but well deserved. It offers plenty to keep longtime fans of the band happy and plenty of tidbits to interest newcomers partial to nearly all other heavy metal sub-genres. This is an excellent offering from some true pioneers.

Highs: The title track and "Vector of Cruelty" were particularly noteworthy, with "Funeral Cremation" being perhaps the most intriguing song on the record.

Lows: No bad songs as such but the album as a whole becomes a bit of a slog towards the end.

Bottom line: An excellent album that delivers everything Cannibal Corpse fans expect with a few interesting twists along the way.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)