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Corpsegrinder Corpsegrinder


Album Review: CORPSEGRINDER Corpsegrinder

9.5 Reviewer

Once described as the "Final Boss of Death Metal," George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher is easily one of the genre's biggest icons. His vocals, ability to windmill, and resulting neck from said windmilling have been the face of death metal for over 25 years, while his famously wholesome personality has made him a fan favorite across the globe. Cannibal Corpse's Violence Unimagined was one of best albums of 2021, reaching an unprecedented No. 6 on the US Top Rock Albums chart, and hot on the heels of that massive success comes Corpsegrinder, the self-titled solo record co-produced by Jamey Jasta and released through Jasta's own Perseverance Music Group. Bringing in Nick and Charlie Bellmore (Dee Snider, ex-Toxic Holocaust) on guitar and drums meant that a lot more could be on the table than what we'd normally hear in Cannibal Corpse. Were we about to hear a thrash Corpsegrinder record? Was George about to break out the heavy metal high notes?

Of course not. Corpsegrinder is exactly what any fan would want, and that's a pure masterclass in extreme music. It bounces between death and thrash metal with some unexpected (but welcome) doom parts. Metal writers have been coming up with words to describe what Corpsegrinder does for a quarter of a century, but the bottom line is that he's still got it. If this album dropped any time in the last twenty years, it would be as perfectly awesome as it is today.

Opening audio assault "Acid Vat" brings in Erik Rutan (Cannibal Corpse, Hate Eternal) on guitar. His addition to Cannibal Corpse lineup on Violence Unimagined was praised across the board and his performance no different here. They deliver a song that would have been a highlight of the last album, or indeed, any Cannibal Corpse record. The opening salvo of the song alone shows the level of production that went into Corpsegrinder – this was done by people who understand the death metal sound and do it well. And then it's Corpsegrinder's supreme growl, especially during the chorus refrain "into the acid vat," that ties the whole thing together. The man truly is an archetype.

What follows is a tour through Corpsegrinder's favorite artists. There's a Morbid-Angel-meets-Death drum whirlwind "On Wings Of Carnage" followed by the Black Sabbath-y "Death Is The Only Key." The classic thrash Slayer riffs on "Master Of The Longest Night" make it another choice cut. It's all unmistakably Corpsegrinder, mostly thanks to his unchanging death growl, but it's all being slightly outside the Cannibal Corpse box that makes it truly great.

Any conversation about Cannibal Corpse inevitably becomes a conversation about death metal itself. Mostly, this is because their career goes all the way back to the genesis of the genre. Corpsegrinder's addition to Cannibal Corpse way back in 1996 marked the end of the days when the ideal drums sounded like a typewriter and guitarists broke their equipment to create nasty death metal sounds. Fronted by Fisher, Cannibal Corpse steadily ramped up the production and brutality of their records over the years.

Over time, death metal has loosened up, steadily breaking down genre barriers to morph from an intensely underground scene into one that attracts millions of listeners today. For so many, Corpsegrinder has been their introduction as one of the first voices they hear, and Corpsegrinder the record is full of what that change over time to the genre has looked like. "Old school" in death metal sometimes means sounding like it was recorded on a cassette in 1989. But it can also mean a throwback to that late 2000s resurgence that brought top-notch production into the death metal mainstream. Corpsegrinder respects the classics, but it isn't copying them. It's more likely to fit alongside Kill and Torture in the Cannibal Corpse discography than anything earlier.

Modern death metal has moved far beyond the cult following of the old days. In a world where Violence Unimagined can reach No. 6 on the charts, anything is possible. You really couldn't ask for a better example of a death metal record than Corpsegrinder or a better vocalist to do it.

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