Chaos Horrific

Metal Blade
rating icon 9 / 10

Track listing:

01. Overlords of Violence
02. Frenzied Feeding
03. Summoned For Sacrifice
04. Blood Blind
05. Vengeful Invasion
06. Chaos Horrific
07. Fracture And Refracture
08. Pitchfork Impalement
09. Pestilential Rictus
10. Drain You Empty

Who can forget the 1994 cameo that brought CANNIBAL CORPSE into the mainstream eye, even for a short time, in Jim Carrey's "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective". The band made its name and has endured, however, because of its resilience, solid work ethic and consistently eviscerating, throat throttling badass music. The death metal juggernaut now returns following its 2021 effort "Violence Unimagined". "Chaos Horrific" is its logical extension; written, due to forced pandemic downtime, almost immediately after the sessions for that release. However, "Chaos Horrific" is a better more diverse and memorable version of its predecessor.

The Floridian powerhouse's stable lineup keeps them atop the death metal food chain. While bassist Alex Webster and drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz are the only members who remain since the unit's early days in 1988, guitarist Rob Barrett began his second stint nearly 20 years ago, and George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher has been belching his death grunts since 1995.

Rightfully revered as one of the subgenre's greatest vocalists, Corpsegrinder's rapid delivery and robust growls have become tighter over time. But his significantly more menacing and evil delivery is one of this release's most salient aspects. He has arguably never sounded as pissed off as he does on a song like "Blood Blind", a slower, groove-laden rager that's just as hook-driven as it is hateful.

Erik Rutan, joining as a full-time member in 2021, has a deep, longstanding history with CANNIBAL CORPSE having produced six of their albums, starting with 2006's "Kill". Now, as a full-fledged member on his second release with the quintet, Rutan's distinct style and penchant for pushing the envelope is felt throughout. "Summoned For Sacrifice" is certainly a modern death metal song that would appeal to slam kids and the like with its direct punch. It's also ripe with eighties inspired thrash and shades of traditional heavy metal.

Distinction between songs is one of the album's strengths. "Fracture And Refracture" hits hard with classic, mid-paced CANNIBAL CORPSE belligerence. It also entails simple, direct crunching guitars that will have fans of hardcore and PANTERA bobbing their heads. "Vengeful Invasion", on the other hand, showcases the band's impressive tech death intricacy. They seem more inclined nowadays to balance that element with more linear songs. "Pestilential Rictus" blends this together — a mix of catchy death-thrash as well as slower aggression that's punctuated with tech-death nuance. Finally, "Drain You Empty" lumbers forth with pseudo black metal aesthetics imbued with a brooding energy that's eventually gutted with a blistering death metal attack.

There's no denying that departed guitarist Pat O'Brien was incredible. But Rutan's involvement has truly reinvigorated the veteran act. "Chaos Horrific" is dark and malevolent, remaining true to the established CANNIBAL CORPSE template; however, it's one of their most adventurous efforts in years. They are simultaneously having fun as they explore songwriting in ways that are much more outside of the box that, until recently, they had too rigidly confined themselves.

CANNIBAL CORPSE won't release the scabrous crown any time soon. Desire aside, the proof is in the proverbial blood pudding with "Chaos Horrific": They are still the best of the best.

Author: Jay H. Gorania
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