I know now that I shouldn’t have been as quick to dismiss Death Metal as a genre as I had been in the past. After all, this is the field that gave us great bands like Death, Opeth, Meshuggah and Atheist. But one of the reasons that people don’t respect Death Metal as much as they should is because one of its least distinguished bands basically serves as its public face. I’m aware that the process of playing Death Metal at all is complex enough that I shouldn’t be too quick to sneer at their musicianship, but if you’ve never heard a Death Metal band other than Cannibal Corpse, you might never realize how much real musicality and dramatic sweep the genre can achieve when done well. Also, the thing about Death Metal’s trademark growled vocals is that you’re supposed to sound like a voice from the mouth of Hell, but if you don’t pull it off you come out sounding more like Scooby-Doo, and Cannibal Corpse are definitely an example of Death Metal growls sounding more funny than menacing. On top of that, their lyrics are incredibly heavy-handed even by the standards of the ‘Deathgore’ school of writing. It’s perfectly possible to write gory lyrics artfully (if nothing else, Carcass have proven that in spades), but this song in particular is such a cheap piece of transparent shock value that it almost sounds like an Anal Cunt lyric (for the record, it’s about exactly what it sounds like it’s about). And when your work bears a striking resemblance to a group that became the Worst Band in the World on purpose, it kind of works against your attempts to be taken seriously. As I’ve said before, I don’t approve of the attempts at censorship Cannibal Corpse have faced, but you can’t openly go out of your way to offend people and then act like a blameless victim when they do in fact become offended.
Verdict: I shouldn’t have judged Death Metal so harshly, and I apologize, but frankly, this still isn’t very good Death Metal.