"Red Before Black" By Cannibal Corpse
Released Nov 3rd, 2017
Genre: Death Metal
Death metal has come a long way from its beginnings in the mid to late 80's. From its thrashy roots in bands like Possessed and Death, to the explosion of the Florida death metal scene in the 90's, to the blending of melody in Scandinavia, to the modern deathcore movement of today. The style has worn many hats and have pushed many musical boundaries. So much so that at times we can forget what classic, raw, brutal death metal sounds like. And how good it can be. However death metal flag bearers Cannibal Corpse have returned once again to remind the world of the roots of the style.
Nearly 30 years and 14 albums into their career Cannibal Corpse has remained one of the most recognizable bands in death metal. Despite their age they haven't shown any signs of slowing down in either brutality or popularity. Evidence of this lies in the success of their previous 2014 album A Skeletal Domain. Besides being praised by fans it achieved Cannibal Corpse's highest chart position in their career peaking at 32 on the Billboard Top 200. A testament to both the band's popularity and to the growing popularity of death metal as a whole. Now with their latest record Red Before Black Cannibal Corpse looks to continue that success.
Cannibal Corpse isn't a band known for surprises. It's a trait that has received both admiration and criticism alike. If you've heard one Cannibal Corpse album then you get the gist of what most of them sound like style wise. A positive to this however is that the quality has mostly remained consistent as well. If I had to pick a noticeable difference between Red Before Black and their previous album I would say that A Skeletal Domain was a little more technical whereas Red Before Black is simpler, more direct, and more raw. Just as death metal should be.
The album is littered with many a highlight. Right from the start opening track "Only One WIll Die" wastes no time with an atmospheric intro to set the mood. Instead there is swift riffing with punchy drum accents to start the track and barely ten seconds pass before George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher's monstrous vocals begin assaulting your ears. The track is kept high tempo throughout with speedy tremolo picked guitars being a highlight in the chorus. Title track "Red Before Black" sounds like it could've been ripped right from Slayer's discography with its straight forward, driving guitars and simpler hardcore punk styled percussion from Paul Mazurkiewicz. The vocal melody is especially catchy on this one with layered vocals placed right where a live crowd could easily shout along.
Like any good CC album there are moments where the band makes use of slower tempos and space to bring a more foreboding vibe to their music. This is first heard in lead single "Code Of The Slashers" which uses slower, simple, chuggy riffs in its introduction and verses to make it a headbanger's delight. And intersperse these sections with frantically dynamic portions that switch between complex instrument arrangements and speedy grooves. "Remaimed" is similar in this songwriting progression with its slower, doomy vibe in much of its length. "Scavenger Consuming Death" is another late album highlight with its groovy guitar rhythms and lyrics detailing a cannibal who seeks out murders to feast on the freshly fallen.
Red Before Black is another quality addition to Cannibal Corpse's already storied discography. It has all the speed, brutality, technical skill, and violent imagery that is wanted and expected from the world's top selling death metal band. The album serves as proof that even in the modern death metal scene that seeks to take the style in new unventured territory there is still a place for stripped down, raw brutality. The Cannibal Corpse machine marches on with Red Before Black as its shiny new cog.