Cannibal Corpse @ Koko, Camden, 29th October 2009
“This one’s for all the ladies here tonight - all seventeen of you. It’s called ‘Fucked with a Knife’”.
Aaah Cannibal Corpse, what’s not to love? Ever the adherents of that old adage if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, Cannibal Corpse are the masters of churning out album after album of uncompromising, gore-splattered death metal, and by consistently sticking to a formula for nigh on twenty years have not only weathered shitloads of criticism and censorship for their controversial album art and lyrical content but have attracted a rabid horde of followers who collectively have pushed the band’s record sales passed the million unit mark, an impressive feat not only because sales such as that are pretty much unheard of in death metal circles but because they’ve done so without any real mainstream support. Clearly these boys from Florida (well, originally Buffalo, NY) are doing something right.
So on this Thursday evening in Camden the metal faithful descend upon Koko, chomping at the bit to witness two decades worth of sonic extremity rammed into a ninety minute set. Every synonym for brutal has been used to describe Cannibal Corpse’s abject aural assault and a few songs into their set why this is so becomes excruciatingly apparent. Heavy as shit and with a no-nonsense stage show which sees guitarists Rob Barrett and Pat O’Brien, bassist Alex Webster, and vocalist George ‘Corpsegrinder’ Fisher placed in a linear arrangement out front while drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz punishes his drums behind them, tonight’s show once again demonstrates why their sublimely grotesque genius still stands head and shoulders above most death metal acts - their ability to be both technically proficient and punishingly heavy whilst retaining that classic Cannibal groove is unequalled, and fuck me if it ain’t damn catchy too.
With so many blood-soaked goodies from an impressive back catalogue and tasty treats from this year’s “Evisceration Plague” to choose from, tonight’s set was guaranteed to be filthy and furious no matter what songs they saw fit to inflict upon their willing audience. Older favourites such as ‘Fucked with a Knife’ and ‘Hammer Smashed Face’ were predictably greeted with violent raptures though newer songs like ‘Priests of Sodom’ were gorged upon equally as vociferously, reinforcing how, driven by a constant urge to get better and heavier with each album, Cannibal Corpse aren’t the one-trick pony many pin them for. Instead, as they’ve progressed as musicians and songwriters they’ve managed to introduce new dimensions to their sound without ever sacrificing death metals’ true aesthetic - to be as crushingly heavy as possible.
The fiercely unrelenting rhythm section made up of Webster and Mazurkiewicz is breathless in its fury, breakneck beats and pulsing bass lines spat out with thunderous conviction, whilst Barrett and O’Brien gleefully mesmerise and slay all present with their downtuned riffery and dissonant leads. And when Fisher isn’t delivering his gore-soaked mantras with vicious grunts and guttural growls you can always count on him to windmill like the best of them. Bless.
Judging by the satisfied looks on the Corpse boys’ faces while the crowd lose their shit during ‘Pit of Zombies’ combined with the manic applause given them as they walk off stage at the end of another nights work, they’ll be heaping their unsubtle barrage of brutality upon the masses for many years to come, and thank the sweet Lord for that because if brutal as fuck carnage reaped upon your ear holes is what you’re after Cannibal Corpse will never let you down.