Opinion: Cannibal Corpse’s Vile 20 Years Later

When I say, “Hammer Smashed Face”, what’s the first thing that enters your mind? Well, let me tell you what comes to my mind. A 15 year old kid huddled over his stereo trying to listen to ‘Tomb of the Mutilated’ on very low volume to avoid a confiscation and possible grounding. Being a kid and loving death metal comes with obstacles. I had to hide certain albums, and if I had to, I’d leave my report card in the mailbox to save my Corpse albums.  Cannibal Corpse is morbid, disgusting, highly offensive, and completely badass. They are THE metal stereotype, so much so that Cannibal Corpse is what the majority of the world think what death metal is. I guess if people are gonna assume the worst, someone might as well be the worst. With that said, lets fire up our chainsaws and hack some heads off!

Buffalo, New York, stained its hands with blasphemy in 1988 with Cannibal Corpse emerging as a musical horror show. In 1990, it became official with Corpse’s release of ‘Eaten Back to Life.’ This album put fear in parents everywhere and confused mainstream America. It’s unfortunate when people’s blinders are so dark that they fail to embrace the beauty of bands like Cannibal Corpse – the band’s work has been heavily criticized and even banned in some countries.

When 1996 rolled around, Corpse had definitely made a name for themselves. I don’t normally discuss tension inside bands, but 1996 saw a major change in Corpses lineup; founding vocalist, Chris Barnes, was gone and he had left big shoes to fill. When a band’s singer leaves, it’s panic time for fans. Making things even harder for the new lead singer, Cannibal Corpse was coming off of the legendary 1994 album, ‘The Bleeding.’

Bringing a bag of barbed wire with him, Monstrosity frontman, George ‘Corpsegrinder’ Fisher, started wrapping his barbed wire around the necks of doubters. The second 1996’s, ‘Vile’ starts the calming started. Corpsegrinder, Rob Barrett, Paul Mazurkiewicz, Jack Owen, and Alex Webster put everyone on notice and the mighty Cannibal Corpse was back for another round of terror.

It’s no question that every Corpse record from ‘88-’94 had a similar theme. The main topics were mutilation, horrific murder, and death. ‘Vile’ falls right in line; it’s brilliant and revolting. It’s got riff heavy tracks like ‘Absolute Hatred,’ slowed down bruisers like ‘Bloodlands,’ and accelerated madness like ‘Orgasm Through Torture.’ Cannibal Corpse puts it all out there, and look, if their cover art offends or scares you, I suggest you just go home. If, however, you can respect it then ‘Vile’ is, and always will be, an album that’ll make you wish you had Spinal Tap’s speakers so you could turn it up to 11.


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