Cannibal is forever!
Coming face to face with the corpse that refuses to die...
Birthed in Buffalo, New York in 1988, Cannibal Corpse is one of the goriest bands in the heavy metal pantheon. Serving up a blood-spattered assault in the classic death-meets-thrash metal style, the band became an international cult sensation revered (and reviled) for their slaughter-strewn album covers and gut-wrenching musical feeding frenzies. A quarter-century later, the Florida-based quintet continues to produce some the most unsettlingly grotesque and technically extreme music on the planet.
“We took a primitive element and followed it up with a good memorable riff; straightforward and in your face. I get a sense that we were a world away from what the Californian death and thrash bands were doing,” says drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz, who along with bassist Alex Webster is all that remains of the band’s original lineup.
“At the time it seemed as though the whole East Coast, Buffalo scene was growing with the band. We were aware of the San Francisco scene, but this was pre-Internet and the only way to obtain new music was to seek it out. Things weren’t so oversaturated and it allowed us to evolve in our own weird way. Twenty-five years later and thrash music is more prominent than ever and remains huge in this region of the country.”
To celebrate Cannibal Corpse’s monstrous accomplishments, record label Metal Blade will be churning out a picture disc a month commemorating the band’s visceral 12-album back catalogue.
“It’s unbelievable — this is a real milestone for Cannibal Corpse,” says Mazurkiewicz. “Who would have thought that we’d be around long enough to enter our box-set era? Visuals have always been a big part of the band’s identity, our artist Vincent (Locke) has been a part of the band since the beginning. It’s great to finally have these albums released the way they would have been back in the ’80s when people were buying records.”
Controversial yet explicitly apolitical, Cannibal Corpse has come to measure success by the number of fans they’ve accrued rather than collecting awards to polish. Selling millions of albums, the band that brought forth classics like Butchered at Birth (1991), Tomb of the Mutilated (1992) and more recently Torture (2012) has endured and prospered against all odds.
“We’re lucky to have been around for 25 years — a lot of the bands that started alongside Cannibal have faded away. It’s hard to explain why we’ve endured. I truly believe it’s because we try to write a memorable song. It’s gotta be brutal and evil and heavy, but we’re not about following a formula.”
Possessing a thick skin, and thicker skulls, may have allowed them to survive the past, but it’s their open eyes and fluid minds that will enable them to confront the future.
“Like any good band in any genre, we’re constantly striving to play beyond our abilities,” says Mazurkiewicz. “You can tell that the band’s in a really solid place mentally and that we’re running on all cylinders. I feel like we are stepping things up more than ever and that we can keep going in that direction for a long time.”
Cannibal Corpse with Napalm Death, Immolation & Beyond Creation
MacEwan Ballroom Wednesday, May 22
by Christine Leonard
Originally published May 16, 2013 in FastForward Magazine.