Cannibal Corpse. The name is pretty much a staple in in any metalhead’s brain as they are to Death Metal what Slayer is to Thrash. Whether one has been listening to metal for 20 years or 1, Cannibal Corpse is one of those bands they are recommended or stumble upon accidentally, and pretty much had a solid run with very few stumbles ever since they began back in 1990 with ‘Eaten Back To Life.’ They have really hit their stride since 2012 with the album ‘Torture’ and have kept running ever since. Save for maybe 1 or 2 tracks an album that just didn’t quite hit the mark, everything else has been solid, and the work on ‘Chaos Horrific’ is no different. Same ol’ Corpse, but still good without any sight of losing steam of wearing down while still keeping to the formula (like Vader from Poland). Last year in 2022 fans got a bit of Corpsegrinder with his solo album of ‘Cannibal Corpse b sides’ which was a bit more Groove and Thrash Metal oriented with the typical dosage of Death Metal, but ‘Chaos Horrific’ still cements Cannibal Corpse as one of the greats.
‘Chaos Horrific’ follows on the heels of ‘Violence Unimagined,’ a very guitar centered album full of just blast beats galore and some very excellent solos. This is mostly due to the addition of Erik Rutan from Hate Eternal whose grinding guitar skills are pretty recognizable, and his addition to Cannibal Corpse in 2020 just enhances their ferocity. ‘Overlords of Violence’ is the opener that just shreds. Vocals are right in front where they should be in their spitfire motion that stay in track right with the guitars and bass work Alex Webster who has been one of the only original members since the beginning in 1988 alongside drums from Paul Mazurkiewicz. But right from here fans should know what to expect. But Cannibal Corpse isn’t all about speed- they’re about creating pace and riffs that one can’t help but headbang to. And that’s what one gets with ‘Summoned for Sacrifice.’ The percussive thunder opens the song up and the chugging riffs mixed with the Thrash tinged rhythms give the song a slow to mid paced grind but it is very accessible and addictive for any Death Metal fan. Cannibal Corpse fans will liken it to the work on ‘A Skeletal Domain,’ which was also highly received by many fans back in 2014. Cannibal Corpse are also good about creating infectious choruses. Like ‘Evisceration Plague,’ ‘Chaos Horrific’ is anthemic and driving and just a solid track all around.
‘Fracture and Refracture’ is where the album can start to wear a bit. Like Cannibal Corpse’s tried and true formula, they don’t change much, so it is always the 2nd half of the album that tends to wear a bit or start to sound a bit of the same like the 1st half. The tracks are solid but eventually is sounds like ‘Overlords of Violence’ or ‘Blood Blind’ kind of rehashed. The riffs still hit like a sledgehammer though and the guitar work from Rob Barrett and Erik Rutan steal the show. Much like the album ‘Gore Obsessed,’ the slower songs tend to take more interest than the faster ones. Like the closing ‘Drain You Empty’ which is a step up from the churning ‘Cements of the Flayed’ from the previous album. Mostly mid paced, it still has that Doom laden buzz saw riff opening and just saws over and over on the ear with that chugging sound, but the drums still pierce through. Production has always been a solid thing for Cannibal Corpse, except maybe in their very early days, but since Erik Rutan has helped them at his Mana Studios every album has come out pretty solid. Some might argue it might be a little too polished, like a more recent Hate Eternal album, but it is still nice to hear everything with nothing being lost in the mix.
In short, ‘Chaos Horrific’ is going to please your average Cannibal Corpse fan with little to complain about. Those who didn’t like Corpsegrinder’s solo album will feel right at home with this one. For new fans, this is probably one of the better albums to start with because it features everything that Cannibal Corpse does well. Solid riffs and solos, monstrous vocals, and tracks about various tyles of butchery with some fantastic zombie hacking art. Yes, it does seem like ‘Evisceration Plague’ meets ‘Red Before Black,’ but it is still impressive to look at and goes well with the album theme. For comparison on sound, listen to ‘Chaos Horrific’ and then one of Corpse’s classics ‘Tomb of Mutilated’ to see how they compare. ‘Tomb…’ might sound rougher and more decaying and guttural, but ‘Chaos…’ just seems like is has more life and groove versus sheer ferocity, but is its own ferocious beast worthy of ears to hear. Great job on this one Corpse, you did a fans’ ears well.