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Cannibal Corpse - "Torture" (CD)

Cannibal Corpse - "Torture" CD cover image

"Torture" track listing:

1. Demented Aggression
2. Sarcophagic Frenzy
3. Scourge of Iron
4. Encased in Concrete
5. As Deep As the Knife Will Go
6. Intestinal Crank
7. Followed Home then Killed
8. The Strangulation Chair
9. Caged…Contorted
10. Crucifier Avenged
11. Rabid
12. Torn Through

Reviewed by on February 29, 2012

"If tendon-tearing guitar tones and slash-and-bash rhythms don’t bring to life Cannibal Corpse’s grizzly scenarios...Barrett and O’Brien's guitar solos unleash malevolent spirits."

Cannibal Corpse returns with the blunt-yet-suitably-titled “Torture.” Because this is their 12th full-length, the death metal figureheads faced the dilemma all established artists face: How would the group make an album in their style without sacrificing creativity? “Torture” saw Cannibal Corpse recording at two studios—Mana Recording Studios in Florida and Sonic Ranch in Texas. For the second time, drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz used a metronome. Additionally, the band threw in a few subtle surprises. All of these facets of the album make for a better Cannibal Corpse album. Most of all, Alex Webster, Pat O’Brien, Paul Mazurkiewicz, Rob Barrett and George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher do what they always do, but to a greater degree.

Early Cannibal Corpse albums are entrenched into the minds of the group’s longtime followers, so “Torture” probably won’t go down as their foremost masterpiece. However, “Torture” should go down as the album with the most sophisticated arrangements. As guitarist Rob Barrett told Metal Underground in a recent interview, “Torture” is Mazurkiewicz’s best performance. His use of a metronome increased his ability to follow the timing of his mates. He also produces the fastest beats of his career, as heard on scorchers “Demented Aggression,” “Encased in Concrete” and “As Deep As the Knife Will Go.”

Upon hearing “Torture” for the first time, listeners will find parts that stick out their mind. Mazurkiewicz pounds out a memorable drum roll at the beginning of “The Strangulation Chair.” Further into the track, Alex Webster displays why he is considered one of the best bassists in death metal, creating a rapid-fire bass solo. He fires off more blistering notes at the end of “Rabid,” trading off with his band mates in true Cannibal Corpse fashion.

If tendon-tearing guitar tones and slash-and-bash rhythms don’t bring to life Cannibal Corpse’s grizzly scenarios (“Intestinal Crank” puts the album title into perspective), Barrett and O’Brien's guitar solos unleash malevolent spirits. Fast finger tapping and whammy barred notes give their solos a wicked quality perfected by Morbid Angel and Slayer. The wham-heavy solo at the beginning of “Encased in Concrete” gives the song a massive jolt of energy. From the groove of “Crucifier Avenged” and “Scourge of Iron” to the trademark buzz-saw sound of “Demented Aggression,” the two guitarists have created their best work since becoming a tandem.

As stated before, much of “Torture” sounds familiar, but the group simply does it better. There are subtle differences, though, such as a part in “Followed Home Then Killed” that may have listeners thinking O’Brien returned to his time in Nevermore, if only for a brief moment. “Torn Through” contains a rhythm one may construe as Gothenburg, Sweden-inspired. The only drawback to “Torture” is Fisher’s vocals. He has lost his bottom-end, and can only relate his middle to high (screams) range. Every other aspect of the album makes it their best work since “Vile.”

Highs: Guitar riffs, bass solos, arrangements

Lows: George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher has lost the bottom-end of his voice.

Bottom line: "Torture" is Cannibal Corpse's best album since "Vile."

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)