Cannibal Corpse are one of the biggest names in death metal, and arguably metal in general, and yet, my experience of them has, sadly, been very scarce. Until earlier today, I'd only heard the occasional song, and, consequently, I've decided that it would probably be very good for me to listen to a whole album or two. Where better to begin than with a classic? Tomb of the Mutilated seems to very nicely fit the bill.
It's easy, and quite common, for people to dismiss Cannibal Corpse as being very "vanilla-flavoured" and unexciting death metal, and I'd certainly heard such opinions from several people. I don't like to perceive bands on such a basis, however, and listening myself is generally the way I aim to form my opinions on music. The band are a great deal more enjoyable sounding than I'd come to expect. Perhaps I don't really know what "generic" sounds like when in a death-metal context, novice to the genre that I am, but I certainly saw nothing wrong with what Cannibal Corpse play - while perhaps quite typical in sound, the music is pleasingly varied, with a noteworthy mixture of fast and mid tempo material which makes up an album which, while in places equipped with neck-snapping speed, is also has it's share of stomping, brutal and often groove-laden sections which leave plenty of room to thrust your fist in the air without inevitably detaching it from the rest of your body. The balance between the tempos, I'll venture, really is just right, and the band certainly succeed in this respect, creating a death-metal album which is exceptionally catchy, as well as heavy.
The album is, perhaps, a bit predictable, but not in a bad way - I don't mind the fact that the songs don't hugely surprise me when they're nonetheless very solidly written and tight, in the same way that, despite being very, very consistent, AC/DC still carry a certain appeal, about which millions of people can't be wrong. I still found things to be surprised about upon listening to the album however, mostly based on the gulf between my expectations and how much I ended up enjoying it - It's technically adept, with memorable, and most of all quite fun to listen to. The kind of album which, if I knew the words, I'd enjoy singing along to, which, I think, goes a long way to explaining the commercial success of Cannibal Corpse. Tomb of the Mutilated does a good job, in it's running length, of explaining precisely why it deserves it's classic status - perhaps the production is a little thin, and it is slightly derivative of albums like Death's Scream Bloody Gore, but it's still solid as a rock, and I have no real grievences with it.
From start to finish, I really enjoyed Tomb of the Mutilated, and I can safely say that it has really improved my perception of Cannibal Corpse, and I've definitely gone from vague indifference to interest - who knows, I might listen to a couple more albums at some point.
I'm going to give this an 8/10.
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