Cannibal Corpse
A Skeletal Domain

I have to admit, past the Chris Barnes era, I am hardly a Cannibal Corpse fanboy.I mean I reviewed 2009s Evisceration Plague, and have steadily picked up used versions of Gallery of Suicide, Bloodthirst and Gore Obsessed over the years, but I have not even heard 2006s Kill or 2012s Torture. It’s not that don’t care for the George ‘Corpsegrinder’ Fisher iteration of the band, they are obviously doing something right being the most successful death metal act of all time, but I’m hardy all aflutter about album number 13.

But thanks to a recent revisiting of Evisceration Plague, (particularly its massive Erik Rutan production) I have gained a little more appreciation for the band, and while I certainly don’t lose my mind over the band, in this era of tech overload or ‘modern’ death metal (Fallujah, Rings of Saturn, Born of Osiris, etc), A Skeletal Domain delivers a refreshingly, simple , effective and predictable pummeling.

After a few albums of Erik Rutan production, the band has turned to Mark Lewis (The Black Dahlia Murder, Trivium, Whitechapel, Carnifex) which is a shame as the cleaner tones that Lewis uses in his slightly less death metal production experience is prevalent here, as opposed to Rutan’s heftier, dirtier sound. Granted, casual listeners won’t be able to tell, but it’s the most polished and clean sound the band has had, for better or for worse.

Song wise- there’s nothing new here, and that happens to be part of the album’s charm. It’s pure, its simple and it is death metal. No trends or scene or keyboards or throwback guitar tone, ; just savage, ripping, tearing death metal as it was 25 years ago. And while I certainly have nothing against the natural ebb and flow of progression/trends/scenes in metal, it just warms my heart that a quarter of century later, an OG death metal band and record can still rise above the clamor of young guns and their sweep arpeggios and just rip your face off.

“High Velocity Impact Splatter” gets things going with a high octane twisty riff and from there it’s pure Cannibal Corpse. There’s no discernible evolution or progression, just a perfect mix of crisp, squealing speed and slower, menacing, knuckle dragging  crunch and Cannibal Corpse-y song titles like “Headlong into Carnage”” and “Icepick Lobotomy”. And its the the slower more lumbering tracks that shine on A Skeletal Domain. The title track, “Vector of Cruelty”, which might be one of my favorite songs of the post Barnes era, and parts of ‘”A Murderer’s Pact”  and “Funeral Cremation” deliver thunderous, slower riffs amid the albums expected faster carnage like “Sadistic Embodiment”, “Icepick Lobotomy” and “Kill or Become” which all bare trademark enjoyable if predictable Cannibal Corpse-isms. However, after “Vector of Cruelty” though, the albums last three tracks , “Bloodstained Cement”, “Asphyxiate to Resuscitate” and “Hollowed Bodies” just seem to be going through the motions and do nothing memorable whatsoever.

With 12 albums now it’s increasingly hard to rate the Cannibal Corpse albums this far in, especially in the Fisher era as they have been a model of predictable consistency.  A Skeletal Domain certainly isn’t the band’s best album, but neither is it a stinker, it’s simply another Cannibal Corpse album and you’d be hard pressed to differentiate  any of these tracks from any other tracks from the last 3-4 albums, take it or leave it. And for now, I am taking it.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
September 16th, 2014

Comments

  1. Commented by: Andrew Young

    The little Megadethy lick in “Sadistic Embodiment” sold me early on. CC don’t usually do things like that. I’m enjoying the hell out of the record.


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