Cannibal Corpse – Red Before Black

CANNIBAL CORPSE is a name that is synonymous with Death Metal. In fact, I can’t think of a single extreme metalhead I know who DOESN’T like/love them. After the monster home run that was 2014’s A Skeletal Domain, the group took to the road and bashed in skulls from sea to shining sea for an extended run that brought in legions of fans night in and night out. And now, finally, over three years from the previous release comes Red Before Black (out now, Metal Blade Records), 12 hard-hitting and face-smashing tracks guaranteed to stoke the fires of just about anyone’s dormant psycho killer lurking (sometimes not-so-deeply) beneath the surface.

The dual guitars of Rob Barrett (rhythm) and Pat O’Brien (lead) slice through the air while bassist Alex Webster and drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz commence firing the heavy artillery, hell bent on your destruction. And of course George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher’s vocals are as blood-soaked as ever. Neither he, nor the band has lost a fucking step. This is evident right from the start of “Only One Will Die” and continues with title track “Red Before Black”, during which O’Brien really goes to town on his solo. If “Code of the Slashers” didn’t get your attention the first time you heard it a few months back, then you’ve got problems and I’ll just leave it at that. Come on, the way it starts out slow and menacing, then runs full speed into you? Priceless!

Two immediate standouts for yours truly were definitely “Shedding My Human Skin” and “Firestorm Vengeance.” The former carries with it such a cool melody while the latter has this riff that I envision being played over and over while some emperor weighs in on the fate of a defeated gladiator. And as he points his thumb downward, the song crashes in and finishes the fighter off, leaving him bleeding out on the ground. “Remaimed” took a little while to get cooking, and even when it did I wasn’t all that into it. But “Heads Shoveled Off” is the stuff of CANNIBAL CORPSE legend, and this one MUST be played live on the tour that starts tonight!

“Corpus Delicti” is pummeling from beginning to end, while ”Scavenger Consuming Death” is yet another winner on a record loaded with them. This tune will definitely have everyone smashing their REPEAT buttons and should also be a part of all setlists going forward. The sensational guitar work continues with “In the Midst of Ruin” featuring yet another wicked melody line that just won’t leave my head. “Destroyed Without a Trace” takes an everything-but-the kitchen-sink approach, while closer “Hideous Ichor” wins the coveted title of Most Sinister song on the disc. All told, CANNIBAL CORPSE have another excellent record on their hands with Red Before Black, and I can’t wait to hear this stuff live when they’re in Philly on November 30!!

STANDOUT TRACKS: “Shedding my Human Skin”, “Heads Shoveled Off”, “Firestorm Vengeance”, “Scavenger Consuming Death”, “Red Before Black”, “In the Midst of Ruin”

RATING: 9/10

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