“Three decades of gore.” That was the statement on the back of the tour shirts being sold by Cannibal Corpse on this go around, and it’s a crazy one to think about. Death metal and extreme metal, like hip-hop, is generally thought of as a young man’s game. Most either soften their sound over time or disappear. Few, like Cannibal Corpse and frontman George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher, now 48 years old, are able to keep going this consistently for this long. But Cannibal Corpse has maintained their relentless pace, never slowing down on touring or releasing new music.
Though their latest record Red Before Black came out just a year ago, the Corpse played a surprisingly evenly loaded set at Warehouse Live in Houston, Texas on November 24, hitting every base that has come before. At least one track from every record the band has released showed up during the sprawling, hour and a half of devastation. After thirty years, they have not lost a single step.
Of course, there is an inherent goofiness to what this band has always done. There’s a silliness to their ridiculously excessively gross and gory lyrics that is acknowledged by a wink even by the band. Despite bannings from multiple countries over their lyrical content and endless controversy, Fisher gleefully explained to the audience at Warehouse Live that it was all in good fun. But, regardless of the fact that he’d never really tell you to kill anyone, since it’s all in good fun, he said you’ve got to “Kill or Become,” before launching into the 2014 single.
Goofiness aside, Cannibal Corpse have always traded in very well written death metal. Years and years into their career, they have remained consistent and strong. Songs like the aforementioned “Kill or Become” feature crushing riffs, blastbeats for days, and catchy choruses, with no frills. No matter what Fisher is saying in the songs, they’re just remarkably well written tunes.
Even still, they know where their bread is buttered. Though their cult following is dedicated enough to eat up any track from any album, Cannibal Corpse finished out the set strong, saving the best for last. From “I Cum Blood” and “Stripped, Raped, and Strangled” from the classics Tomb of the Mutilated and The Bleeding respectively right into all time biggest song “Hammer Smashed Face,” Cannibal Corpse exited with a hugely crowd pleasing closing set of songs.
They’ve managed to make it three decades and hopefully many more. Who knows how long Cannibal Corpse can keep up this pace, but no matter what the future holds, they lived up to their legendary status on Saturday night, satisfying casual fans and cult members alike.