And they’re back from the grave, ready to slash, butcher, cut up, kill and smash the listeners’ ear drums. Yes, it’s Cannibal Corpse and they are back with their thirteenth studio album, Skeletal Domain. On board for production this time is Mark Lewis who brings a darker and thrashier sound here. Some would say this is a welcome change and death metal fans may be reminded of how great those first three or four albums sounded.
Right off the bat the album begins with an ominous, dark and haunting intro that reminds some of early Celtic Frost. Then the guitars and drums rip in for high velocity impact splatter. immediately one is reminded of some classic sounding Cannibal songs as the riff is as menacing as it is memorable. Next up is “Sadistic Embodiment,” which starts of with some headbanging and catchy, fast thrashing-style riffs that wouldn’t seem out of place on either The Bleeding or Tomb of the Mutilated. On “Kill or Become” George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher’s vocals are crushing, especially when he shouts, “fire up the chainsaw!”
The title song “Skeletal Domain” also reeks of classic Cannibal material, as the intro might immediately remind the listener of songs on either Vile or Gallery of Suicide. Both Rob Barrett’s and Pat O’Brien’s shredding and unmerciless guitar playing are on full display on “Headlong into Carnage” as they trade off leads and solos during the midway point of the song. “Vector of Cruelty” does a fantastic job showcasing Alex Webster’s bass playing as the song has all kinds of progressive and technical tendencies leaking out of it. Another really unique song that most fans could agree upon is “Asphyxiate to Resuscitate.” It has riffs and breakdowns that reminds one of Entombed and bands that used the D-beat.
Overall, the album is very catchy and may remind older Cannibal fans why they even got into the band in the first place. By now most fans would say they know what are getting with a Cannibal release, that Paul Mazurkiewicz’s drumming and style are just part of sound, and if you don’t like it go listen to another band. Also that the drumming doesn’t need to be overly technical and progressive to make this album stand up to any celebrated release from the band’s past. In any case, this band is now a classic act and only time will tell if Skeletal Domain stands up to all the essential Cannibal Corpse material.