Album: Cannibal Corpse, Torture
Label: Metal Blade
Release: March 13, 2012

Years ago, I would have probably just said “if you listen to one Cannibal Corpse album you’ve listened to them all.” It was around 2006 that I really started diving back into the back catalog to see what I could learn from it and while the first few records still do sound pretty much exactly the same to me, when Corpsegrinder joined the band and the gang started adding even the slightest moments of groove into their sound, all the sudden it hit me that Cannibal Corpse is actually quite good.

Although the first two tracks contain the words “Aggression” (“Demented Aggression”) and “Frenzy” (“Sarcophagic Frenzy”), Torture actually doesn’t seem to be simply about how fast the group can riff. In fact, great riffs are what shine through on their new album. The solo work on the latter is fantastic and “Scourge of Iron” slows the pace down and adds a lot of groove into the mix. It’s this song that I listen to and think that it might possibly be the most complete song they’ve ever written. I’m also drawn to “The Strangulation Chair” which has this bass breakdown in the middle that’s a total prog moment.

As the album title gives away, the tunes are all about different ways of torture, such as “Encased in Concrete” and “Followed Home Then Killed” and “Intestinal Crank.” But at this point in their career, the shock value is gone. As some point in the past, people stopped throwing a fit over the brutal titles and lyrics and didn’t care anymore. So now it’s really about how good the entire song is and Torture brings the pain from start to finish. A lot of people thought 2009’s Evisceration Plague was a bland copy of the previous record, Kill. For those people, Torture should absolutely bring back excitement towards the band. It’s fresh sounding and totally killer from start to finish.

“Demented Aggression”
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Album: Black Breath, Sentenced To Life
Label: Southern Lord
Release: March 27, 2012

The second release from Black Breath is easily one of the most anticipated records of the year. These five dudes from Seattle, Washington released their debut – Heavy Breathing – on Southern Lord back in 2010 to rave reviews. With that disc they blended hardcore, rock and death metal to create a simply great heavy metal album.

Sentenced To Life sees the group refining their style to have more of a focus on the Swedish death metal sound, while still tossing in those crusty punk moments. The end result is a crisp and downright aural assault. The energy over the course of 32 minutes is phenomenal, of which they have to be fucking exhausted after performing these tunes live.

The cover art is the old school hammer smashing glass shot which is exactly the feeling you get from start to finish on this. What’s really great about the album is that while the Swedish bands continue to crank out the same death metal record over and over, a band like Black Breath recreates the same sound and adds in other elements of metal to bring a little something different to the table. “Mother Abyss” and “Sentenced To Life” are the sound of brutality put to tape, there’s just no other way of describing this.

If there’s any flaw to the disc is the lack of variation. While the overall sound incorporates some different styles, that general feel is the same throughout the disc. And the songs are so short that they tend to blend into each other a bit. But that’s a really minor issue because the simple fact of the matter is that there’s just no way your adrenaline won’t start pumping while listening to this one.

“Mother Abyss”
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Album: Love Sex Machine, Love Sex Machine
Label: Throatruiner
Release: March 3, 2012

The digital version of this was posted up on Bandcamp back in January but Throatruiner is issuing on 12″ this month with brand new artwork to help spread the word of this punishing group.

Don’t let the relatively shitty new-wave sounding band name fool you as this three-piece from France simply crush you with loud ass sludgecore. Their page compares them to both The Body and Black Sheep Wall which isn’t far from the truth, however they aren’t nearly as experimental as the former. What they do is put the low end right in your face, play sludgy riffs and scream over top making eight tracks of sheer brutal noise.

Although I can’t understand a word being screamed, apparently these guys are dirty fuckers too, with track titles “Anal on Deceased Virgin,” “Vagina Curse” and the fantastic, “Killed with a Monster Cock.” Going forward, I’ve love to see these guys drop the perverted shit as it really doesn’t fit with the style of music they play, but even so, being that the lyrics are so distorted and low in mix it’s more about the music anyway and that can be totally mindblowing at time on this album.

Album: Wizard Rifle, Speak Loud Say Nothing
Label: Seventh Rule
Release: March 13, 2012

Wizard Rifle is drummer Sam Ford and guitarist Max Dameron, two guys who look like they belong nowhere near the metal section of your local music store. This duo from Portland, Oregon are as eclectic as they are cool. Over the course of five long tracks, they mix all kinds of styles from doom, to noise, to grunge and sludge to create a sound that is chaotic and jarring and makes you want to smash things.

“Megatherium” brings the sludge and doom full throttle but if you want to really experience the chaos, check out the 10+ minute album closer, “Leathery Gentlemen.” This track has to be a blast to see live. Simply brutal riffage, mixing with total craziness and the dual screaming of Ford and Dameron make it a true assault on your senses.

While listening to the album gives you a really good taste of what they are about, I can only imagine what the live show must be like recreating this monstrous sound on stage. They’re going to tour this year and that seems like a place you want to be.

About the Author

Dave Steed

Dave Steed is all about music; 80's and metal to be exact. His iPod will shuffle from Culture Club to Slayer and he won't blink an eye. He's never heard Astral Weeks but thinks "Dazzey Duks" by Duice is the bomb. It's an odd little corner of the world he lives in.

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