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Cannibal Corpse’s ‘Kill’ slays

What do you get when you combine Tampa’s Cannibal Corpse with studio engineers Erik Rutan (Hate Eternal, ex-Morbid Angel) and Shawn Ohtani (guitarist for local black metal band Among the Dead, formerly known as Yeti)? A perfectly mixed death metal opus, that’s what.

Cannibal Corpse’s 10th release with Metal Blade Records is, at first glance, a departure from death metal norms. It entered Billboard’s 200 at No. 151, no small feat for a death metal band.

And let me not forget the cover. The typical Cannibal Corpse album cover has scenes of graphic violence and sexuality, sometimes bordering on necrophilia. As a result of this, as well as lyrical content, the band’s first three albums are banned in Germany. The cover of Kill is simple: The band’s name is in blood red letters, and the word “Kill” in bold black lettering.

Some fans might be disappointed by the minimal cover art, but the music on the album does not disappoint. To be honest, this is quite possibly Cannibal Corpse’s best album. Rutan, after having been in the death metal business for many years, knows what an album of this kind is supposed to sound like. There are no annoying snare drum noises, no over- or underpowered mixes of the vocals and a bass guitar you can actually hear.

The album opens with “The Time to Kill is Now,” a tune with a breakneck pace, accomplished musicianship and a stellar solo from guitarist Pat O’Brien (formerly of Seattle’s Nevermore).

The second track, “Make Them Suffer,” features a more dynamic change in the rhythms. The drums, played by Paul Mazurkiewicz, along with the guitars, shift from fast-paced blast beats to more groove-based rhythms brutally enforced by the bass, which is played by Alex Webster. The guitars play a smooth melody over these rhythms.

“Murder Worship” further elaborates on the musical talents of guitarists O’Brien and Rob Barrett, who rejoined the group in 2005. George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher delivers intelligible and well-performed low death grunts as well as high pitched shrieking vocals to complement the low grunts throughout every track on Kill.

For the metal listener, this album has it all – violent lyrics that touch upon murder, fire and homemade surgery, heavy guitars, an undeniably intense and flawless production, and incredible technical musicianship and songwriting arrangements from all of the band’s members.

If you’re a fan of Tampa death metal (or death metal in general) or you wish to broaden your horizons, this album is worth giving a listen. It combines all the classical elements of death metal with a near flawless production quality and a formidable lineup of musicians.

Rating: A+