Cannibal Corpse – “All We Can Do Is Be Ourselves”

Sunday, 14th September 2014

Some bands really require no introduction. Bands like Slayer, Metallica, and Megadeth are practically household names, even to the non-metal. Strange to think that twenty-five years into their career, death metal godfathers Cannibal Corpse are within reach of that same level of success. The band has weathered mainstream controversy and line-up changes over the years yet still retained their signature sound as one of death metal’s pioneering bands. Love them or loath them, Cannibal Corpse have released a steady stream of quality releases since their inception and have carried the torch for extremity.

Celebrating their 25th anniversary (a quarter-century if you want to truly make it seem impressive) in a big way, the band is releasing their 13th studio album, A Skeletal Domain, this week. Adding one more notch to the belt would be reason to celebrate enough, yet the band is also releasing it’s first ever biography(Bible of Butchery) this week as well. With such commotion going through the Cannibal Corpse venue at the moment, it seemed like a great time for a chat with original member and drummer, Paul Mazurkiewicz, who was willing to give us the scoop on all of the Corpse-ridden festivities.

Dead Rhetoric: You switched studios for A Skeletal Domain. What was the goal with switching studios this time? I know that you do it every few albums or so.

Paul Mazurkiewicz: That was pretty much it right there. We did three great albums with Erik [Rutan], and he did an amazing job on all of them but we just felt it was time for a change. Get a change of scenery and mix it up a little bit and add some freshness in that way. That’s really the reason why we did it. Of course, when we knew we were going to go somewhere else, we had Mark [Lewis] in mind pretty quick. Just hearing what he has been doing with a lot of the bands he has been producing over the last few years. We just wanted to go that way and we figured he would do a good job for us, and I think he did a great job as a matter of fact.

Dead Rhetoric: You also have a book coming out alongside A Skeletal Domain, what can fans expect?

Mazurkiewicz: It’s a pretty cool book. We’ve never had a book before and I guess it should be the first one, as anytime sooner would have been too early. It’s been twenty-five years and we’ve got some stories to tell, so we felt the timing was right. It’s just a cool retrospective about everything from the beginning, but basically focusing on the five of us, the current line-up, which has been Cannibal Corpse for many years and the strongest line-up we’ve ever had. It’s us talking about our beginnings, in music and in the band. There’s also a lot of other guest people involved, like Brian Slagel from Metal Blade, and stories from members from other bands. The foreword was done by Gene Hoglan, and there’s a bunch of pictures from all eras. Many of which probably haven’t been seen before. Joel also wanted to put some lyrics in there, and then there are some quotes from us about the lyrics that we have written. But I think it’s a cool book, the fans are going to dig it; it’s something a little bit different from us and I think it turned out really well.

Dead Rhetoric: As you have gotten older as a band, does it get harder to not repeat yourselves, either lyrically or musically?

Mazurkiewicz: I don’t think so. We’ve been pretty fresh every time. Of course, there’s going to be many times where depending on the subject, like ‘it’s a zombie song.’ Ok, well what are we going to be doing differently if we are going to be writing about zombies again? That’s what we try to do and it seems to be pretty natural when we start flowing and coming up with the music. And when we write the lyrics, as long as we have some cool ideas and some cool lyrics; we just try to think of something that we haven’t thought of before in some capacity and we seem to come up with those kinds of ideas. At the end of the writing session, when we have all this stuff complied we are pretty happy, we always are. This time around even more so. We’ve got some cool titles, good lyrics, some cool choruses and subject matter; I guess it just keeps flowing from us. I feel like we aren’t being ripped on in regards to doing something that we already did before. We seem to be doing it pretty consistently and it’s a good thing. Our thirteenth album and twenty-five years later, it seems to always be something just a little bit different and keeps flowing.

Dead Rhetoric: Out of the songs that you have written, what do you feel is the most sick or disturbing song that you have penned?

Mazurkiewicz: It’s hard to think, I’ve wrote so many over the years. It would definitely be something a while back, maybe “Blood-Drenched Execution.” I can’t even think off hand so it’s kind of a hard one for me to fully answer, but there have definitely been a couple. “Worm Infested” is pretty bad, so we’ll go with that one for now. I’ve written so many it’s hard to recollect on all of them.

Dead Rhetoric: Being in the band since the beginning, how do you feel that the band has changed over the last twenty-five years?

Mazurkiewicz: We’ve progressed musically big-time; we’ve grown as musicians and as people. Of course, the member changes as well, but I think the band started to take shape around The Bleeding-era, after [Bob] Rusey was let go. Having Rob [Barrett] in the band was great, and then having Pat [O’Brien] in the band was vital. He fit right in, looking back, and he is key to the Cannibal Corpse sound. He was such a big fan, it was meant to be. He got right in and started writing and it fit with Cannibal Corpse. We needed Pat to be there. The same thing with George [Corpsegrinder]. We knew we were bettering the band and making it what it needed to be by getting him. We’ve done what we’ve had to do to make the band the best it could be, but then still retaining what we started with the original guys. Keeping it Cannibal Corpse, and keeping it was it is. I think we’ve done that and I think you can play any Cannibal Corpse record from any era and you will know it is Cannibal Corpse. From the beginning to now, but you can see how we have progressed as musicians. Things have to happen with member changes and all that kind of thing to get to this point, but it’s been Cannibal throughout the whole thing.

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