Cannibal Corpse is arguably the most well-known death metal band on the planet and the mere sight of the band’s album covers and song titles have been scaring the bejeezus out of parents for well over a quarter of a century now. As of 2016, they had achieved worldwide sales of two million units for combined sales of all their albums, making them the top-selling death metal band of all time. The death metal genre is not one commonly related to musical mastery but to relentless brutality, however Cannibal Corpse’s members are all really talented and innovative musicians who have never compromised their artistic vision or raw brutality to sell more records. They are also infamous for their over the top, gore-saturated, gross-out lyrics and mostly for putting out crushing and hurricane-like live shows.
The last show of their US tour (also including Abysmal Dawn, Cryptosy and Obituary in the bill) was scheduled to storm The Revolution Live, a concert venue in the heart of downtown Fort Lauderdale, and I wanted to see for myself if they really live up to the brutal reputation preceding them, therefore I headed to the venue in time to arrive minutes before of the beginning of their set. The place was packed, and judging by the look in the sweaty faces around the three preceding bands had done a very good job in whipping the crowd and keeping the place into a writhing mass of humanity, expecting for the death metal giants to summon and unleash the furies.
Only a few minutes later the stage backdrop changed to red with the Cannibal Corpse logo superimposed in gigantic black letters, and the band appeared amidst a roaring response from almost every single throat present. They took positions and without any delay pressed the gas pedal to the max attacking the air waves with “Evisceration Plague”. And then all hell broke loose.
A Cannibal Corpse show is an all-out assault on the senses. It is a pulverizing experience, in the complete sense of the word. Their musicianship is ferocious, loud, and unrelenting. The band has an electric stage presence and knows how to work the audience into a frenzy. I found myself marveling at the fact that even all the way at the back of the venue floor, standing in the small stairwell in front of the audio console, and with several hundred bodies in front of me, I could still feel the air violently rushing around my legs with every note. I could barely see Alex Webster’s face, but he was delivering the most intricate bass lines you can find in extreme music, while Pat O’Brien and Rob Barrett kept firing their evil riffs and Paul Mazurkiewicz his unhuman nonstop beats. Front-man George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher is a powerhouse vocalist and screamed the band’s deadly and gory lyrics while head-banging like a chopper in a way I’ve never seen ever before.
Their set-list was an awesome mix of old and newer songs, and the venue seemed to pulsate while they tore through a wide swath of classics as well as material from their most recent studio album “Skeletal Domain” such as “Sadistic Embodiment,” “Icepick Lobotomy,” and “Kill or Become”. They are a band that always moves forward, despite having a solid past which they could live on forever, like many classic bands do. All their latest albums are brutally superb, and technically speaking they’re getting better and better year after year.
By the time the one-two punch of a finale arrived in the form of “Hammer Smashed Face,” and “Devoured” the crowd was thoroughly whipped into a frenzy. The whole venue turned into a effing monstrous mosh pit with absolutely no place to hide, the entire floor space became a whirling dervish of a boiling black-hole, replete with wind-milling hair and flying bodies.
After the final note died, the audience drenched in a mixture of energy and adrenaline. The band saluted the fans and disappeared in the back, leaving the smell of brutality ringing in my ears and flowing in the air. Saying they were absolutely brutal and this concert was about the craziest show that I’ve seen would be a whole understatement. They definitely master the spell to open the most recondite cracks of hell and leave the fiercest and regurgitating demons to spread their “stenching” wings and take over the crowd. Fire up the chainsaw and spill some blood!
Evisceration plague / The time to kill is now / Scourge of iron / Death walking terror / Stripped, raped and strangled / The wretched spawn / Pit of zombies / Kill or become / Sadistic embodiment / Icepick lobotomy / Covered with sores / Born in a casket / I cum blood / Unleashing the bloodthirsty / Make them suffer / Hammer smashed face / Devoured