Cannibal Corpse - Chaos Horrific
Metal Blade
Death Metal
10 songs (39:15)
Release year: 2023
Cannibal Corpse, Metal Blade
Reviewed by Goat
Major event

A scant two years after the well-received Violence Unimagined and death metal institution Cannibal Corpse are back with another full-length, their sixteenth to date and second with Erik Rutan. And although a capable and viciously heavy follow-up album, it's hard to see Chaos Horrific as quite the equal to Violence Unimagined. For one, it's much less immediately satisfying, the technical and intense battering that each song hands out taking just that bit extra to work its way through your skull to reach the metallic pleasure centre. Plus, the novelty of Rutan's presence has departed a little, meaning that this becomes merely a new album from the band instead of the important shift that its predecessor represented. Cannibal Corpse may be remarkably consistent in the aural punishments that they hand out but it becomes harder to recommend to the uninitiated without further enticements.

For many, further enticements than "the new Cannibal Corpse" album will not be required, and from the first noodley notes of opener Overlords of Violence it's not hard to see why. The frantic assault that follows is the band's formula perfected: galloping thrashy riffs, hoarse growled vocals, frequent and skilful soloing - it's a fair assumption that a reader of knows and loves it. Equally, if you are familiar with the band, then you'll be familiar with this, to the point where the likes of Frenzied Feeding can feel suspiciously like a retread of old territory from the band. Highly effective and infectious territory, sure, particularly with the touch of dark atmospherics with those ominous backing guitars, but still. It's hard to see in many cases where exactly Rutan has enhanced the band's base sound (even as his role as producer ensures that the album sounds terrific overall) in the same way that Violence Unimagined benefited from his presence, and it can't help but disappoint a little as a result.

Where Chaos Horrific doesn't disappoint is in how rock-solid that base death metal sound is. The likes of Summoned for Sacrifice and Blood Blind are intense neck-snappers in line with the greatest Cannibal Corpse moments of at least the last decade if not longer ago, churning and entertaining with their interplays of riffs and solos, not to mention Corpsegrinder's gripping howls particularly on the latter track. You just know they will destroy pits live, and what's wrong with writing songs to play on a tour, when that's what plenty of metal bands do these days? Even beyond that, with a little time these particular songs begin to reveal their secrets. Squint a little, and you can make out the ghost of something progressive-tinged on the twisty Vengeful Invasion, for instance, or the tech-thrash echoes on the riff-dominated Fracture and Refracture, a hint of something more esoteric and abstract in the band's approach to violence.

There are plenty more secrets for the most zealous to uncover, of course (that particularly melodic soloing in Pitchfork Impalement is a personal favourite already) yet all will surely agree that the best is saved for last. The penultimate track here is a doozy, Pestilential Rictus painting a similar grin on the listener's face as the crunching grooves alternatively grind and gallop their way into your heart before a truly colossal breakdown levels all. And finally, the band turn towards Asphyx territory with Drain You Empty, an all-devouring doom-death stomper that moves from churningly slow crawl to the usual Corpsean flurry with a surprising amount of grace, not to mention a certain level of Hate Eternal-esque ominous grandiosity that reveals Rutan's hand at last. Do we want him to turn Cannibal Corpse into his other band? No, far from it; but a little more of the originality and freshness that Violence Unimagined showed would be warmly received. As it is, Chaos Horrific will probably not be anyone's favourite album from the Floridian institution but it is a more than solid collection of meaty songs that fits nicely into their consistent catalogue. Long may they horrify us!

Killing Songs :
Blood Blind, Vengeful Invasion, Fracture and Refracture, Pestilential Rictus, Drain You Empty
Goat quoted 75 / 100
Other albums by Cannibal Corpse that we have reviewed:
Cannibal Corpse - Violence Unimagined reviewed by Goat and quoted 84 / 100
Cannibal Corpse - A Skeletal Domain reviewed by Goat and quoted 70 / 100
Cannibal Corpse - Torture reviewed by Tony and quoted 100 / 100
Cannibal Corpse - Bloodthirst reviewed by Tony and quoted 83 / 100
Cannibal Corpse - Butchered at Birth reviewed by Tony and quoted 96 / 100
To see all 14 reviews click here
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