The first time I heard Cannibal Corpse was in a movie theater at Naval Base Dahlgren in Dahlgren, Virginia. It was the opening day of the King George Little League and festivities took place on the grounds just beyond the armed guard checkpoint. I was there hours before the start of my team’s game, as were many other 11-year-olds excited to play baseball that afternoon.
It didn’t take long before tossing the ball in the grass with my teammates got boring. So I ran a few blocks to the movie theater down the street. Everything on screen was a few years or weeks ago out of the marquee at Regal Cinemas. Access to these features was only a dollar, which was fair. I sat in one of the middle rows as Jim Carrey twisted his face in Ace Ventura: animal detectivewith my crampons, rockies uniform, baseball glove, bucket of stale popcorn and no one else in the theater.
At the start of the film, Ace attends a crowded metal show, asking questions of a long-haired man who keeps headbanging. On stage behind Ace was Tampa, Florida death metal band Cannibal Corpse, ripping the song “Hammer Smashed Face”, from their album. Tomb of the mutilated. Apparently Jim Carrey was/is a fan.
I I didn’t become a Cannibal Corpse fan on that opening day in 1994. I didn’t care about heavy metal. Some kids on the school bus had talked about Metallica, Iron Maiden and Ozzy Osbourne, but that didn’t really matter. I mostly listened to Sir Mix-A-Lot, Weird Al and whatever my parents listened to. I wore Chicago Bulls t-shirts and had a flattop. Cannibal Corpse could have been a mariachi band for everything that mattered to me.
The man who growls at the microphone in Ace Ventura: animal detective was original Cannibal Corpse vocalist Chris Barnes. He was replaced in 1995 by George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher, who has screamed on every Cannibal Corpse album since its 1996 debut. Vile. They are the best-selling death metal band of all time, and “Corpsegrinder” has become the frowning face of the genre. If you’ve ever watched the Adult Swim cartoon MetalocalypseNathan Explosion (the lead singer of Dethklok) was based on the image and vocal sound of “Corpsegrinder”.
Even blue-haired grandmas have heard of Cannibal Corpse.
Most people had a different first hearing of the band than mine. It could have been an older sibling or some neighborhood dude who gave you the first ride back then. Or the high school friend who rode in your Honda Accord and broke Eaten to life in the tape recorder in 1990. Maybe you saw suburban teenagers wearing Cannibal Corpse t-shirts huddled around the entrances to Hot Topics in the mid-2000s and decided to listen KILL. Maybe your father played The miserable offspring for you in the garage.
I thought about it at the Broadberry on June 12e as I watched an 11-year-old blond kid hang over the barricade in front of the stage to scream”Necrooopedophiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiillllllllllle” as if trying to summon a horde of evil 5e graders going down on Broad Street. I assumed the older guy behind him was responsible for this. I wondered what was the first song he played to the boy. Maybe it was also “Hammer Smashed Face”. It would be interesting to hear the rest of the blond child’s vocabulary.
Cannibal Corpse hadn’t played The Broadberry since their show with Cattle Decapitation and Soreption in 2015. I was on that show. It was murder. I had never seen anyone headbang so much. In their latest raid on the East Coast, Cannibal Corpse brought two groups from Ohio for this Blood Meridian before hitting European audiences in August; Sanguisugabogg (I think it’s pronounced sangey shuga bog) from Columbus, and 200 Stab Wounds from Cleveland.
On June 12, local “vicious precision hardcore” badass, Under Attack, with guitarist Mark Telfian, Jason Hodges (Suppression/Oozing Meat) playing bass, Dave Witte (Municipal Waste) annihilating drums and Alex Copeland whistling in the microphone. like a viper turned drill sergeant.
Their proclamation of “vicious precision hardcore” was not off the mark. At one point during their set, the crowd opened up like a well-placed gunshot wound to the abdomen, and a moshpit spread across the middle of the floor like the quivering guts of a poor longhair. Other people took the opportunity to rush closer to the stage, leaving the rest to swerve, jostle, or make improvised ninja moves. Maybe it was a song from Under Attack just release (June 24e) self-titled album that lit the fuse. Under Attack was everything vicious, precise and beautiful.
People watching is good if you don’t go to metal shows a lot. This saying from Matthew McConaughey, “I keep getting old, and they stay the same age” works well here too, but in a different sense. I got kicked out of high school before some of the people who were buying shirts at the vending tables were alive. Toss into the mix an assortment of scene queens, heshers, ne’er-do-wells, punkers, music nerds, stoners and frat dudes, and you can get an idea of the band that you watch. Watching people in metal shows is like watching an aquarium where fish come in and tell you how much they drank at the last metal show, while spitting out a variety of colorful pebbles and urinating. I like these people.
200 Stab Wounds played their set during my people-watching session. Despite technical difficulties that mostly resulted in stage silence and sound guys rushing in, 200 stabs was great. Songs like “Drilling Your Head”, from their 2021 album Scalpel slave, might be the soundtrack to hitting a heavy bag, while “Paths To Carnage” is made for bloody noses. But I don’t know if they really play these songs.
I was on the fringes of Sanguissugabogg. Their leader, Devin Swank, looked a lot like UFC Hall of Famer Mark Coleman. Baseball cap, big muscular arms that looked like Swank’s push-ups for his entire 27 years. Between deep, piggy grunts, he spoke lyrics that sounded like Rammstein’s Till Lindemann, but exaggeratedly lower; I couldn’t hear most of what he said. Threatening guitars were tuned to the abyss. The rhythm section thundered through the block like the hounds of hell. In another life, if I owned a blood-colored ’62 Pontiac Catalina on 24-inch Sprewells with silver reflective tinted windows and an obnoxiously loud stereo, I’d blast Sanguissugabogg’s album. Tortured Wholeand drive slowly down the street like the car is in a fucking parade.
Lurtz was the first leader of the Uruk-hai (half-orc, half-goblin creatures) in Peter Jackson’s history. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. If Lurtz had decided to lead a band instead, he would sound like “Corpsegrinder” and the band would sound like Cannibal Corpse. You can’t hear songs like “Inhumane Harvest,” “Condemnation Contagion,” and “Surround, Kill, Devour” from their 2021 release unimaginable violence, and not making the same connection once it has been dropped as a body in front of you.
At 9:15 a.m., George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher grabbed hold of the microphone as if it were the neck of some unfortunate, weaker being, and so began bludgeoning The Broadberry by Cannibal Corpse for the next hour and a half. . They pitched the opener “The Time To Kill Is Now” like it was a spike in the audience’s breastbone. Alex Webster (bass) and Paul Mazurkiewicz (drums) are the only original founding members of Cannibal Corpse, with guitarist Rob Barrett having joined in 2005 after leaving in 1997, and lead guitarist Erik Rutan (Hate Eternal/Morbid Angel) joining as a permanent member in 2021. The addition of Rutan is undeniable. These songs are absolutely wicked.
They slaughtered the crowd with shots from most of their albums, choosing to omit songs from their late ’90s catalog and instead eliminating tracks from later releases like Torture and unimaginable violence, as well as early 90s classics like Tomb of the Mutilated and The bleeding. “Corpsegrinder” rolled his head on what appeared to be a steel ball bearing lodged in the trunk of his neck. He did this for long stretches with his hands on his knees like he had just eaten fire while Rutan’s fingers flailed all over the fingerboard and he used the vibration bar as a brake. emergency. It wasn’t headbanging thrash, more like watching a long-haired, decapitated head spin in a laundromat’s front-loading washer.
I stood behind the barricade for their entire set, which fittingly ended with “Hammer Smashed Face”. The SOLD-OUT crowd at the Broadberry was sweaty and sweaty. Like I said, I’ve seen Cannibal Corpse before, but not this close. It was the best fucking thing I’ve seen in a long time.
Pictures of Ryan Kent