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Review: Cannibal Corpse - Violence Unimagined
Cannibal Corpse
Violence Unimagined

Label: Metal Blade Records
Year released: 2021
Duration: 42:54
Tracks: 11
Genre: Death Metal


Review online: May 7, 2021
Reviewed by: Micah.Ram
Readers' Rating
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Rated 4.26/5 (85.26%) (19 Votes)

One of Death Metal's most (if not the most) notorious bands of all time have just graced us all with their fifteenth full-length album, Violence Unimagined! I have had a hard time listening to anything else since its release, although I also went through their older releases as well for comparison and personal enjoyment. An element of change this time around that is quite intriguing is the fact that this is the first album with master guitarist and producer Erik Rutan as a full-on member of the band for a whole release, replacing Pat O'Brien in his absence as of late. Rutan fits the role seamlessly and adds a pinch of his own flair on the record, helping provide just enough spice to keep this sounding fresh while remaining true to the Cannibal Corpse sound.

I could write a genuine essay on why this is one of the best releases of the band's entire career, but I will save you the verbiage and get right to the point. Guitarists Erik Rutan and Rob Barrett, bassist Alex Webster, and drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz have all written their own songs, which they contributed to the formation of this album. The track list was ordered rather nicely as it does not line up multiple songs written by the same member back-to-back, which helps support a diverse listening journey as each member's writing style is unique. Each and every song here has memorable qualities. The opener is a thrashy number with blistering guitar work, nice tempo changes and groove shifts, and awesome soloing. Alex Webster's first track of the album, "Necrogenic Resurrection," has one wicked slowdown moment which features a rhythmic groove that takes a few listens to memorize and conceptualize which is really fascinating. Track three, "Inhumane Harvest," features one of the most engaging vocal deliveries of Corpsegrinder's career with the band with lines that you just want to shout along with him. Most notable here is his vocal rhythm in which he utilizes a hemiola (That's cool music theory terminology. Do look that one up!) when he belts out "Everything must go." Now that I'm on the topic of Corpsegrinder, it must be said that this is one of his best records, one in which you don't need a lyric sheet to capture what he's saying, perhaps only with the exception of the speedy lines that fly by too fast to pick out the words.

Skipping along through the album, as I could get stuck on every track easily here, "Ritual Annihilation" is a track worth focusing on here, as it is one of the three tracks written by Erik Rutan. It has a very distinct sound which immediately sounds like something off of a Hate Eternal album with its more chaotic and bold stylings with busier drumming action and a massive tritone blueprint that starts the song and resonates throughout before becoming a moshy riff-fest in the middle when the tempo shift occurs. Some might be shaking their heads at the writing here, but a bit of Hate Eternal in the sound here feels quite refreshing here at track six, and the band executes the style and writing of Rutan flawlessly. That bold quality of writing along with the impressive harmonies and leads makes this a major standout track on the album.

Speaking of standout tracks, "Bound and Burned" is another that really stood out for me with very strong, sinewy riff action which is frequently intertwined with multiple guitar solos all throughout the song. The brief, dual harmony guitar solo near the end was a nice touch which was likely performed by Rutan, given that the playing style is very diatonic and harmonically influenced by counterpoint. Another track many will be talking about is "Slowly Sawn," which is a slower number without being one of the slowest songs in the band's catalogue. One reason this song stuck out for me was the fact that drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz did some interesting patterns here that went well beyond the expectable. The song grooves hard, downshifting a few times before lowering into a grinding guitar solo which really intensifies the lyrical content and overall feel in a big way.

There are still a few tracks here which I didn't talk about, and I will leave that to the listeners. With a band like Cannibal Corpse, there are varying levels of depth people will observe. Some focus on the lyrical and visual content. Some, like myself, focus much more on the musical content. Whatever your reason for enjoying the band's work is, one cannot argue that this is a very well put together album in which the lyrics, instruments, and vocals are all handled masterfully. It feels like a long time coming that Erik Rutan joined the band, and as impressive he is as a musician and dedicated as a producer and worker within the Death Metal scene, it's hard to think of anyone more deserving to work in one of Death Metal's most successful bands of all time. This record is a banger. Do not hesitate to get it.

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