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Class 6(66)

Cannibal Corpse: The bleeding

23/12/11  ||  BamaHammer

Introduction

Having noticed the review for this classic was somehow lost in the obscure void of the darkest reaches of the Internets, I decided there is no way in hell that my favorite album by one of my favorite bands is going to fade away into into that good night that is the collective GD memory.

This album still stands as Cannibal’s most experimental and interesting work to date, at least in my humble opinion. The band’s thrashy leanings of their earlier incarnation had given way to true death metal songwriting expertise that combined the best aspects of the band’s unmatched brutality with it’s undeniable catchiness.

Songwriting

9. This is as close to an album full of death metal “hits” as you’re ever going to find. From the opening riff of “Staring through the Eyes of the Dead” to Barnes’ final ridiculous scream in “An experiment in homicide,” you can’t keep yourself from getting caught up in the groove. As if the groove of the riffs wasn’t enough, the lyrics, though every bit as ludicrously crass and hilariously disgusting as we’ve come to expect from these guys, are just as catchy. If you grew up in the 1990s in the US listening to these guys, you know you sat around with your metalhead friends at least once and sang along to “Stripped, raped, and strangled.”

Production

9. To me, this is as close as Scott Burns ever got to perfection, and it all starts with Alex Webster’s bass sound. The bass is an absolute monster on here, and it drives the music relentlessly forward, as it should. Everything sounds clear, tight, and evenly mixed, but there’s an aura of separation between instruments that makes each of them very easy to pick out while you listen, if you know what I mean. It’s not your archetypal “wall of sound” that you get with many of today’s more modern releases. It’s just a fantastic sounding album.

Guitars

8. Bob Rusay sucked. Let’s face it. Granted, Cannibal wouldn’t be the band they are without his contributions in the beginning, but replacing him with Rob Barrett, then of Malevolent Creation and Solstice, was the best decision Cannibal Corpse ever made. Barrett’s songwriting contributions on this record still remain highly respectable, but his overall sound in the mix is just immensely cleaner and more precise than Rusay’s ever was, and that just tightened the screws of the classic Cannibal sound on this album.

Vocals

9. If you’re under the age of 20 and reading this, just understand that Chris Barnes, the same guy from Six Feet Under, was once not only a good vocalist, but he was among the best the genre had to offer. Ever. While his work on “The bleeding” isn’t quite at the standard of the inhuman grunts and growls he somehow produced on “Butchered at birth” or “Tomb of the mutilated,” it’s still pretty impressive, even today. The main difference between this album and many of Barnes other efforts is the issue of clarity. His words are fairly clear and decipherable, for the most part, whereas he was heard as just low end vocal rumbling on “Butchered” and “Tomb.” As a result, Barnes recorded one of the most sing-along worthy albums in death metal history (even though you know you can’t pull of a Barnes growl). This was Barnes’ final contribution with Cannibal Corpse and a worthy swansong indeed.

Bass

9,5. In my opinion, this instrument is the star of the show here. Alex Webster is undoubtedly one of the metal world’s most talented bassists, as well as one of my favorite musicians in general. His playing ranges from incredibly fast finger-flutters to slow and plodding but precise booms. As for the tone, it’s crystal clear, which only accentuates the true beauty of the bass parts. It’s also pretty loud in the mix quite often. Just listen to the chorus of “Pulverized.” Ladies and gentlemen, that’s how a bass is supposed to sound.

Drums

6,5. Though he’s far from the best there is, Paul Mazurkiewicz is a competent drummer with a pretty unique sound. I know he’s been accused of being a little on the sloppy side, and some of it is probably warranted, but that’s part of what defines his sound. His hands are inverted on the blastbeats (hitting the snare with the right stick instead of the left), which gives Cannibal that near-out-of-control-freight-train sound, and it’s just instantly recognizable. Still, he really doesn’t do anything great here.

Lyrics

9,5. Classic death metal sing-along lyrics. All together now…

They think they know who I am.
All they know is I love to kill.
Face down, dead on the ground,
Find me before another is found.

Far from Cannibal’s most disgusting, brutal offerings, but by far their most memorable and catchy. Plus, you feel like a social deviant or a serial killer while you sing pretty much every line.

Cover art

3. It’s pretty lame. I have the censored version, but even this version is better than the uncensored one, as far I’ve seen. It looks like the apparent precursor to Metallica’s bloody jizz-load. This version is just a close up of the torso of one of Vincent Locke’s zombies on the uncensored version, giving the impression of blood-spattered tissue. Either way, this was not even remotely close to what we had come to expect from this band and a huge disappointment at the time.

Logo

9. Just a classic logo. This was the last release to feature the old logo of Chris Barnes’ own design (for obvious reasons). Cannibal Corpse remains one of my favorite bands to this day, but I miss the old logo. Looks great in black on this cover too. Sloppy. Off-line. Dripping. Legible. Classic. Cannibal. Fucken. Corpse.

Booklet

7. Like I said, it’s the censored version, so no lyrics, but it’s still got some pretty cool qualities. There’s a collage of old photos of the band from their earlier years and tours, live photos of each band member with their name including one with Jack Owen playing a sweet Ibanez V, a full list of the tracks (the back cover only listed the least uncouth titles), and even an address you could write to in order to obtain all the lyrics. I never did, but still pretty interesting. Other than that, it’s fairly boring.

Overall and ending rant

Like I said, I just couldn’t stand this one missing from the world’s greatest metal website. It remains my favorite album by Cannibal Corpse, and it features my favorite Cannibal song, “Pulverized,” which made me want to give playing bass a legitimate serious attempt.

This was the mountaintop of Cannibal Corpse for me. Don’t get me wrong. I love Corpsegrinder. I love every album this band ever did. But for me, “The bleeding” is a special album that holds a special place in my heart.

9

  • Information
  • Released: 1994
  • Label: Metal Blade
  • Website: Cannibal Corpse Myspace
  • Band
  • Chris Barnes: vocals
  • Jack Owen: guitars
  • Rob Barrett: guitars
  • Alex Webster: bass
  • Paul Mazurkiewicz: drums
  • Tracklist
  • 01. Staring through the eyes of the dead
  • 02. Fucked with a knife
  • 03. Stripped, raped, and strangled
  • 04. Pulverized
  • 05. Return to flesh
  • 06. The pick-axe murders
  • 07. She was asking for it
  • 08. The bleeding
  • 09. Force-fed broken glass
  • 10. An experiment in homicide