Twenty-one years and eleven albums into their career, the top-selling death metal band of all time could easily have pulled the AC/DC rabbit out of their filthy hats and put out an album that sounded like a remake of one of their classics. Instead, Cannibal Corpse opted to create Evisceration Plague - an album that not only displays an increased sense of melody, but is almost catchy.
Don't be fooled, as this still isn't going to be anything you'll hear on the radio anytime soon, or ever. This album features all of the hallmarks of a typical Cannibal Corpse album. The drums deliver concussive sixteenth-note blast beats, the guitars are still distorted far beyond just being heavy, and George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher's evokes the sound of -- well -- whatever an actual corpse grinder would probably sound like.
Though Evisceration Plague features the characteristics that diehard fans have come to expect, it switches up the Cannibal Corpse playbook in several respects. Unlike previous albums, Plague features an overarching concept as opposed to songs that are individual narratives. As the title suggests, that concept is based around a sort of "mad human disease" type of plague that causes those infected to eviscerate, much like zombies - or at least that's the impression given by the discernable lyrics. Many tracks such as "Priests of Sodom" and the album's title track also display melody that sets them apart from much of the band's past work and many of their American death metal contemporaries. At times, the songs on this album even dare to be catchy and feature a fair portion of vocals that can be understood without necessitating reference to the album's liner notes.
Don't get me wrong, the band that brought the world such heart-warming musical gems as "Blunt-Force Castration" and "Hammer Smashed Face" aren't trying to cash in and appeal to the masses - and this album never aims for that to begin with. Death metal tends to be an acquired taste and, like most acquired tastes, there are still many people it will never appeal to under any circumstance. Regardless, Evisceration Plague displays an impressive amount of continued musical growth and is the most palatable Cannibal Corpse has ever been - but don't expect your girlfriend to fall in love with the band anytime soon.
RATING: 4 out of 5