Cannibal Corpse are the kings of death metal – no question. While there are a few acts, both Stateside and in Europe, that may lay claim to the throne, no other brutal band has been consistently releasing albums, touring and keeping a solid line up like the Florida-via-Buffalo five piece.
Despite being called the “death metal AC / DC” Cannibal Corpse continue to release excellent, gore-entrenched records some three decades deep into their career.
With 15 studio full lengths to their names, there is plenty of Cannibal Corpse material that could be considered undervalued – any group consistently releasing new music for 30+ years will have a few skeletons in the closest. So with that said, let’s break out the scalpel and gouge out Cannibal Corpse‘s ten now underrated deep cuts…
Taken from Vile – Cannibal Corpse‘s first album with the legendary George ‘Corpsegrinder‘ Fisher “Absolute Hatred” is a number that never gets talked about. One of a couple of tracks from Vile to not feature in a live set, it’s got all the classic Cannibal Corpse hallmarks; chiefly endless twisting riffs and change-on-a-dime song structure, but still instantly moshable. And of course there’s the debuting Corpsegrinder – his vocals are powerful and brutal, yet clearly enunciated, hiding none of the savage, vengeance-driven lyrics. Vile‘s now underrated assault.
2012’s Torture saw Cannibal Corpse continue their successful partnership with producer Erik Rutan and delivered another record loaded with great material. “Encased In Concrete” and the classic “Scourge of Iron” are the stars of the LP, but the Rob Barrett penned “Caged… Contorted” is an excellent cut buried deep in the tracklisting. Like the aforementioned “Absolute Hatred”, another Barrett composition, “Caged… Contorted” is a churning piece of music, moving between two distinct tempos and feels; on one hand grooving, the other bludgeoning. Plus it also features some excellent lead-runs from bassist extraordinaire Alex Webster.
We get a double header here – an underrated cover of an already underrated Accept song. The band’s take on “Demon’s Night” was originally released on the 2003’s Worm Infested EP, before getting reissued on the deluxe edition of 2017’s Red Before Black. The original tune is already pretty heavy (for it’s day), so when given the Cannibal Corpse treatment the heaviness is cranked up even more. It’s traditional verse / chorus style and more straightforward instrumentation makes for a change with the regular Cannibal Corpse fare, and it’s a really fun, well-executed cover.
A never-played-live track from the utterly superb Kill“Necrosadistic Warning” embodies the excellence of that album and everything that Cannibal Corpse has become. It’s unflinchingly brutal and technical, yet with instantly grabbing passages and hooks. The whiplash inducing verses fly by, even when the groove drops back to halftime, while the chorus is absolutely punishing – in the best way possible. Plus the pace that Corpsegrinder spits out the disturbing, zombie-themed lyrics is almost unparalleled. A great Alex Webster penned song that is more than worthy of standing side-by-side with some of the band’s best, later-day work.
Lifted from the classic, Chris Barnes-era Tomb of the Mutilated“Post Mortal Ejaculation” has a title you’ll never forget, but the song itself has become a bit forgotten. By this point of their career, Barnes‘vocals had hit new extremes in lowness – at times becoming an intelligent gurgle, but this only adds to the sheer extremity. The high point is the almost doom-like guitar line that crops up over the top of the blastbeats during the bridge – it’s genius. Having been played a total of one time – way back in March 1993, a few months after the album dropped – it’s unlikely to return to the Cannibal Corpse live show.
Arguably the most underrated song from the final Barnes‘release The Bleeding, “Return To Flesh” begins with an almost dirge-like tempo, before quickening in pace and upping the riff quota. Much like a lot on our deep cuts lists, the only fault “Return To Flesh” has is that it’s been overpowered by the rest of the album – it doesn’t help when the opening trio is amongst the best stuff that Cannibal Corpse had penned up to that point of their careers. But don’t let that dissuade you – “Return To Flesh” is as devastating as any of it’s track-mates.
Highly complex and excellently titled Alex Webster composition from 2004’s The Wretched Spawn, “Rotted Body Landslide” is as attacking as it is catchy – that chorus will be looping around your head for weeks after hearing it. The powerful groove of the bridge is tremendous, and then the quick leap back into the main hook before the track’s end is a great bit of writing. Nine albums deep by this point, it’s no surprise that some Cannibal Corpse material has been overlooked, but “Rotted Body Landslide” has everything a fan could possibly want.
From 1999’s Bloodthirst, “Sickening Metamorphosis” is another Webster arrangement, featuring all of his classic songwriting traits – digital-shattering guitar and bass lines, and multiple tempo changes. While Cannibal Corpse have always been a band with plenty of high BPM beatings when they lower the tempos and focus on crushing grooves they sound their now devastating. Aside from it’s insane artwork, Bloodthirst is a bit of an under appreciated gem in the Cannibal Corpse back catalog, and “Sickening Metamorphosis” might be the most forgotten track from it.
An European-only bonus tune is 2009’s Evisceration Plague, “Skull Fragment Armor” is a two-minute blast. Cannibal Corpse‘s back catalog is littered with these shorter poundings, and this foot to the floor, throat grabbing song is the perfect example of this. The only time the listener is given a moment of reprieve is during the brief bass solos – for the remaining time it’s all rampaging instrumentation and Corpsegrinder‘s maniacal vocals. “Skull Fragment Armor” could have easily snuck onto the standard edition of Evisceration Plague, and how it didn’t is beyond us. For Cannibal Corpse fans that like it straight to the point, this is a must-listen.
The first Cannibal Corpse song solely written by then-new member Pat O’Brien, “Stabbed In The Throat” showed that his style of composition slotted perfectly with his longer tenured band mates. His playing is renowned for it’s complexity and pushes the group hard – especially drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz, who penned the knife-wielding lyrics. 1998’s Gallery of Suicide is a bit of an overlooked album, while a lot of the material from it was played live, “Stabbed In The Throat” is one of the tracks to never see the stage.
With a song count in the 200 range, there are oodles of Cannibal Corpse deep cuts out there. Our list has only scratched the top of the blood-soaked surface – so what other cadaver-obsessed, head-smashing, spine-snapping Cannibal Corpse numbers are forgotten about? Let us know in the comments below!
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