Iconic death metal overlords, Cannibal Corpse, are back with another slab of gore and still aren’t showing signs of slowing down, even on album number thirteen. A band rightly seen as one of the most influential of all time have become a benchmark of excellence over the years and 'A Skeletal Domain' continues that tradition.
Corpsegrinder's instantly recognisable growls lead the barrage of riffs and blood with the same visceral impact we have come to expect. Musically, the band are sonically destructive and can still out chug or shred nearly anybody. The jarring tempo changes on opener 'High Velocity Impact Spatter' show more strings to their bow than just blastbeats and flat-out pace. With songs sounding as fresh as they did in the 90's they could still take the fight to any up-and-coming death metal band. The lyrics are offal-laden and drenched in messy imagery – almost a trademark of the band. Corpsegrinder even referred to the songs as 'mini horror movies' in a recent interview, which should give you an idea of what to expect. It is a very dark album that looms over you and is slightly more subtle than you would expect. The tone of the album is hard to explain, but it has a similar feel to Slayer's classic 'Hell Awaits' in that it is pure evil committed to tape with a consistently heavy atmosphere.
The guitar work is a major stand out, with crisp and rapid solos interchanging with a devastatingly heavy crunch behind the wall of riffage. Vertebrae-destroyers like 'The Murderer's Pact' will hopefully get added to their live setlist and receive a play at their Halloween show in London this year. The whole album is masterfully produced and loses none of the heaviness with the clean sound. Some bands can struggle to find a good balance between a 'raw' recording and being a cacophonous mess. You need not sacrifice anything with good production, a good example of this being Black Dahlia Murder.
Whilst this album might not pack the punch that 'Kill' might have had, it is still a step up from their great 2012 release, 'Torture'. A few more jaw dropping moments, and this would go down as some of their finest work. Although having said that, don't think that this isn't essential listening because there will not be many better straight-up death albums this year. If you don't like Cannibal Corpse by now, this probably won't change your mind. But if you don't like the Corpse by now, you should probably go back to 30 Seconds to Mars.