Cannibal Corpse – Violence Unimagined (Metal Blade)

Wednesday, 7th April 2021
Rating: 9/10

A perpetual benchmark for brutality in the metal scene, Cannibal Corpse are still without a doubt the most instantly recognizable in extreme music. The band has weathered plenty of storms throughout their career, and the latest has turned out to be quite the blessing with Erik Rutan (Hate Eternal) coming on board as the band’s newest guitarist – someone who has been involved with the band directly for 15 years at this point. Between varied tweaks to the formula and Rutan’s entry, the end result of Violence Unimagined is that of the strongest Corpse album in recent memory.

Cannibal Corpse have long established their particular vision of death metal, and one shouldn’t expect massive changes to the formula. That said, there’s still a particularly gripping feeling and hunger to Violence Unimagined that feels like a much younger band. Everyone in the band seems to be firing on all cylinders with this one, and outside of the noticeable Rutan injections (especially some of the chaotic yet memorable solos), Paul Mazurkiewicz’s drumming sounds furious. Some of his most frantic and intense stuff hits the floor off the bat with the aptly-titled opener “Murderous Rampage.” When the band is operating on top speeds this time, there’s a more urgent and bloodthirsty vibe that listeners will pick up on quickly. First single “Inhumane Harvest” certainly shows this off, and later tracks “Overtorture” and “Ritual Annihilation” reinforce this quite well. But there’s more than just rage, and some groovier cuts, particularly “Follow the Blood,” have an addictive sense of melody to them without straining the CC formula. “Surround, Kill, Devour” is another cut that contains a fair number of swirling melodies into the mix, aiding in its accessibility without diminishing any of the violence. As a band that focuses on the ‘song’ when it comes to death metal, this album gives Cannibal plenty of varied ammo to work their hardest.

Hard to believe at times that this is the fifteenth album from Cannibal Corpse. While Violence Unimagined is in no way a significant departure from previous efforts, it’s definitely one of the most polished and decidedly memorable albums from the band in quite some time. Sure to be a fan favorite, and yet one more reason why Cannibal Corpse retains their crown as the kings of death metal.

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