It took me nearly 6 months to fully take in the vile monstrosity that is Cannibal Corpse, and only in the last month did I really understand the innate technicality that underlies in each song Cannibal Corpse plays, I first discovered glimmers of this Technicality on first listens to the Bleeding, but what really blew my mind is when I listened to one of their oldest underplayed albums, known as Butchered At Birth, the more I began to delve into this album the more I became entranced in the Sick Depth that shrouded around the album, its Lyrics, and its Sheer Technical Brutality. So allow me to break down one of my all time favorite Cannibal Corpse album.
The album opens up with Meat hook Sodomy, a classic favorite amongst fans, although something most fans don�t recall about the song is the sick droll of guitar and vocal chaos that consumes the listeners mind as the opening min of the song grinds on. Only nearly a minute and a half in does the song kick into full brutality a landscape of drumming and shredding pound your ears as you get a taste of what your in store for on one of the most brutal albums ever created. As the song twists and turns metamorphasizing into many different time changes, vocal pattern changes, and cascading drum changes, you begin to marvel at cannibal�s speed and technicality. Paul brutally rapes his drum set as if pounding on the skulls of Cannibal Corpse's victims. They seamlessly unendingly Shred hooks into your mind as they alter the song even further nearly 4:30 min in.
A catchy classic riff starts off the next Cannibal Corpse fan favorite of Gutted. Chris growls out a story of children butchered and gutted for a murders own fulfillment. Paul once again showcases his talent on the drums through out this song. Probably the highest showcase of this song is Jack and Paul�s interplay switching off from guitar to drum riffage leaving your ears bleeding.
The palm muted shredding tears at your ears just as you realize you�re in for one of the most technical songs on the album, Living Dissection. I�m not sure if its the cascading riff that opens this song, the technical palm muting unlike any other, the brilliantly written lyrics discussing literal Necromancy through physical science, or the sheer speed of this song; but whatever it is, this is easily my favorite song on the album, intact my favorite Cannibal Corpse song ever made. Never before have I heard lyrics that so literally match up to the brutal and exacting scalpel like riffs that match each set of verses. And just as you thought this song couldn�t change anymore in tempo your thrown into a well of buzzing saw blade like solos one after another until your sanity is shredded and your reborn of the undead. Just as you thought this song was ending with a slow chugging riff... your quickly slammed back into the fastest cascade of lyrics drum blasts and guitar shreds as the song comes to a sudden halt.
Song four starts with an instantantly catchy riff, as your driven into the grooves of the dynamic Under the Rotted Flesh. Jack really shines on this song as he creates seemingly endlessly catchy riffs, and then breaks each one down multiple times. This song is has insanely complex song structure, it slowly winds to a middle low of barns admitting his own ultimate depravity as he mentions "Coprophagia, human shit.... for nourishment". Suddenly your thrust back into a frenzy of riffs, as your slammed back into the brutality of the song. This song is such a masterpiece its a shame its not played live nearly enough, and overlooked by a lot of fans.
Song 5 kicks off with an incredibly classic riff, with the opening lyrics of "bleed on me, digest the clotted scabs, Bloodthirsty, Un godly" wreaking of the stench that one has Covered With Sores. Don�t let its slow start fool you it quickly breaks into neck breaking speed as one of the fastest songs on the album. Lyrically this song is quite interesting as it not only has many references to the curse of being a zombie, but also has the line "after I have fucked them with my knife" possibly hinting at the future fan favorite of "fucked with a knife" on the bleeding. Perhaps Chris took a few writing classes after all, and learned how to for-shadow ;)
The uniquely catchy riff of song 6, tears open the doors to hell as Vomit the Soul takes hold of your ears. Some of the most evil vocals ever created lie on this track as guest Glen Benton (Satanist extraordinaire) teams up with Chris undead vocals to create something Satan himself would cringe at. As your plunged into the depths of this song and told the story of a legion of zombies taking hold over the earth and destroying all of humanity, your left quivering for more as the first of 2 solos tease your ears. Vomit the Soul is another song so unique it�s a shame and a wonder it�s never played live, though I�m guessing it�s due to the legendary vocals that lie on the studio version.
The short but unforgettably brutal Title Cut leads you into the last few songs of the album. Butchered At Birth, (the actual song), has some of the most brutal moments death metal has ever scene all held in a ample two and a half min. Chris tells the story of a child ripped from its mother, as he kills the mother to free the dead child, only to re sew the child back into the mother so it my be reborn of the dead mother, reborn unto evil. Several sweeping riffs take place in this song but I think the showcase of this song is the intertwining vocals and cleverly placed vocal patterns.
Song 8, Aptly titled Rancid Amputation, is another sleeper hit that�s far to unappreciated. This song has some of the most addictive riffs I�ve ever heard Cannibal Corpse write and not to mention probably my single favorite solo from CC. Probably the best showcase of cannibal corpse time changes hits you at 2 min in when Chris declares, "ripping the flesh, is what I do best..."
The brutality is unrelenting even on the last song entitled, Innards Decay. Chris random moaning slowly breaks into lyrics as the riffs start to settle into place and the song picks up speed quickly tearing into the first of several solos. As Jack and Paul once again break down the song the song showcases some unique technicality somewhat like the afore mentioned Living Dissection. This song has some truly fun lyrics as Chris takes you through the path of how to live through another�s body living behind their skin literally an extension of Ed Geins perhaps. As the song finally Decays its way to an end, you�re left with a chilling echo of Chris last moan, of "rot away..."
Arguably the best artwork Vincent Locke has done to date. Rivaled only by tomb's cover this cover pushed the limits of brutality and got banned in many stores worldwide.
The only real downside to this album is its outdated production. It�s a shame Webster couldn�t be more heard in the mix, but on a good pair of headphones Alex is still evident on the album. But the upside to the production is your left with such a unique sickening guitar sound and such a powerful bone crushing drum sound, something very much lacking on many rivaling albums such as The Bleeding
. I think that even over the years while the production of Butchered At Birth is outdated... its still heavy as hell and still serve up the deep perversion of the album.
In Conclusion the only bad things I can say about this album is the outdated production and the buried bass but I think some of the greatest written death metal of all time more then makes up for that. Chris believed in doing nothing half assed, and I believe he proved that with this album. Chris took everything the public feared and entwined it into one big sickening mess, amping up the gore to obscene proportions. The depravity on this album has yet to be rivaled except by his own work on Tomb of the Mutilated, in nearly 13 years. You cant truly appreciate death metal without first hearing this album.