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Reviews of Cannibal Corpse's "Tomb Of The Mutilated" (1992)

Tomb Of The Mutilated Censored Artwork As every music aficionado knows, every different genre of music possesses certain albums that are deemed "essential" or "classics" by its' fans and the genre of Death metal is no exception to that rule. Despite the fact that this genre of music has only been around for a quarter of a century, this powerful subgenre of heavy metal has churned out many classic albums over the years. Examples of classic Death metal albums that illustrate the magic, technicality, and brutality of the genre include albums such as 1987's "Scream Bloody Gore" which was written by the originators of the genre Death, or 1989's "Altars of Madness" written by Morbid Angel, 1990's "Cause of Death" written by Obituary, and of course the epic Death metal masterpiece "Tomb of the Mutilated" which was written and released by Death metal legends Cannibal Corpse in 1992.

Since its release on September 22, 1992, "Tomb of the Mutilated" has established quite a reputation both on positive and negative levels. On the positive side, the album is hailed by many Cannibal Corpse fans (myself included) as their finest work to date. This positive feedback that the album has received can be attributed to many key factors including the album's production (which despite its' flaws was still considered to be VERY good in 1992), as well as the technicality and musicianship demonstrated by each member of the band during each song (which had vastly improved since their 1990 debut album "Eaten Back To Life"). Other factors include the track listing featured on the album (the album includes numerous fan favorites including "I Cum Blood", "Addicted To Vaginal Skin", and of course the epic Death metal anthem "Hammer Smashed Face" all of which are typically included during Cannibal Corpse's live performances to this day) as well as the lyrical content of the album.

From a lyrical point of view, "Tomb of the Mutilated" contains some of the most graphically violent and disturbing lyrics ever to be written in the history of Death metal. The lyrical genius of front man Chris Barnes truly shines on this album, with Barnes penning tales surrounding necrophilia ("I Cum Blood"), intercourse with dead infants ("Necropedophile"), as well as extreme violence ("Hammer Smashed Face"). While each song on the album is of course a lyrical gore-fest, songs such as "Hammer Smashed Face", "Necropedophile", and "Post Mortal Ejaculation" take the already established level of lyrical carnage and chaos found on previous Cannibal Corpse releases and push that level to an even higher level of extremity. The end result of this of course, is an album overflowing with lyrics that definitely are not intended for the weak of stomach, as well as the easily offended. These lyrics would of course generate controversy for the members of the band.

As mentioned earlier in this review, the reputation that the "Tomb of the Mutilated" album has earned has not been 100% positive. The album created quite a bit of controversy in its day, most notably a ban in Germany (as was the case with all previous Cannibal Corpse albums) due its' extremely graphic cover art and graphically morbid song titles. The cover art for the album which was drawn by longtime Cannibal Corpse cover artist Vincent Locke, depicts a decaying, (presumably) male corpse performing cunnilingus on a female corpse. As they had done in the past to help record sales, Cannibal Corpse's longtime record label Metal Blade Records issued a "clean" version of the album, which featured a brown corpse-like creature eagerly watching the gruesome sexual antics of the two corpses (which is hidden by a blanket) in adoration. Censored cover versions of the album also typically listed the less offensive of the back of the album, with a message saying "For additional song titles see inside". It was only after purchasing the album where one could view all of the song titles in all their gruesome glory, either on the back sleeve of the album or on the disk itself. Fortunately to the delight of Germany's Cannibal Corpse fans, the ban that had been placed on "Tomb of the Mutilated" as well as the bands two previous albums was finally revoked in June of 2006, after being in effect for nearly 14 years. As a longtime Cannibal Corpse, I myself can only begin to imagine the feelings of joy and excitement expressed by German Cannibal Corpse fans, after being given the chance to hear "Hammer Smashed Face" or "I Cum Blood" being played live in concert for the first time.

Another positive key factor that makes "Tomb of the Mutilated" a noteworthy album is the fact that this album (unlike most Death metal albums) actually received a bit of commercial success. Yes ladies and gentlemen, you read correctly I said commercial success. This success came in 1993, when Cannibal Corpse were approached by actor/comedian Jim Carrey who personally requested the band for a cameo appearance in his upcoming film "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective". The band agreed to take part in the endeavor and played a 30 second live snippet during the film. The song that they chose to play for their brief cameo was none other than "Hammer Smashed Face", which was taken from none other then the album known as "Tomb of the Mutilated". Success from the 30 second live cameo in the film skyrocketed the popularity of the band, as well as helped gain the band newfound fans. Most importantly though, the band released "Hammer Smashed Face" as their first single, therefore proving to critics, naysayers, etc. that despite their controversial reputation Cannibal Corpse were far more than just your average run-of-the-mill 90's Death metal band. They proved that they were the kings of the Death metal scene and that their legacy of brutality was far from being just a flash in the pan. In fact the gore-ridden legacy of Cannibal Corpse was only just beginning.

And it had just begun indeed. It has been nearly 15 years since Cannibal Corpse released their epic slab of brutality entitled "Tomb of the Mutilated", and in that span of 15 years the band has not shown one sign of slowing down. Though they have been through many obstacles in these 15 years (most notably the departure of original Cannibal Corpse vocalist Chris Barnes), Cannibal Corpse have persevered and have gone on to permanently perch themselves on the top of the Death metal totem pole. And if anyone is wondering how the bands has managed to get there and stay there, I think one listen of the genre defining Death metal album known as "Tomb of the Mutilated" is enough bone crushing, fist-pumping brutality to answer that question.

Review By: Tyler Watson


Tomb Of The Mutilated - Song By Song Review

Tomb Of The Mutilated     "Tomb of the Mutilated" is one of those albums in the Death Metal genre that set a new standard in terms of musicianship, technicality and lyrical content. In interviews prior to TOTM's release, master lyricist Chris Barnes explained that he will write about serial killers including the quintessentials of brutality, zombies and necrophilia. That album, in my opinion turned out to be the most vile, gory and overall sick album that I have heard. Chris Barnes' voice in Tomb of the Mutilated set the benchmark for all other bands to emulate. Though almost impossible to decipher, the lyrics of TOTM are the most graphic, perverted and violent of the time. Musically, it also established new standards of technicality and musicianship for the Death Metal genre. Although production is much improved from the last Death Metal masterpiece, "Butchered at Birth", it is still average for the time. From a mother killing her offspring to fucking the corpses of children, "Tomb of the Mutilated" covered and explored the depths of humanity and how much lower they can go.

Review by: moelll

Tomb of the Mutilated
publisher: Metal Blade, released: 22 September, 1992
price: $16.98 (new), $5.48 (used)

"Hammer Smashed Face"
The introduction of the song that pretty much put Cannibal Corpse on the map begins by riffs that make it seem that some loon is hammering away at his victims. This is also the first song that Paul used blast beats en masse. It was used before in "butchered at birth", but the technique is much improved, clearer and more brutal. As the song hammers along, scenes of a madman wielding a sledgehammer pounding his victim's faces as his pent-up anger is released are graphically depicted as Chris Barnes growls out the lyrics in low, growling tones. Interestingly, actor Jim Carry, who at the time a fan invited Cannibal Corpse to play in his movie "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective" and played Hammer Smashed Face in the movie, hence becoming their most popular song.

"I Cum Blood"
The very title can make the listener cringe and wonder what vile debauchery will occur in this song. The song begins almost immediately with blast beats before it shifts into a rather catchy main riff where Barnes growl out a grisly portrayal of necrophilia. Despite the slowness of some parts, the song is relentless as it assaults the eardrums of the listener of shredding riffs. Deafening blast beats is perhaps a rhythmic portrayal of what is portrayed ever so graphically in terms of the lyrics. The song finally let's you go of its brutal clutches suddenly as the song grinds to a halt.

"Addicted to Vaginal Skin"
This lovely piece begins with the listener hearing a graphic account of what a necrophiliac/cannibal does to his victim as he splits the corpse down the middle and eats the sexual organs. And out of nowhere, the song immediately begins by what seems to be a slow song, but before the listener can realize what just happened, his ears are assaulted with guitar riffs, pounding drums and guttural vocals. The songs speaks of a man, fallen into an evil priests spell and is forced to literally eat vaginas of young women to break the spell. However, when he does come out of the spell, he still has the urge to eat the skin of vaginas, hence the title. The song pounds along and then the song reaches its main riff as Alex introduces it with a solo, which is rather catchy. The soloing in the song and throughout the album has improved somewhat in terms of quality although it is not Cannibal Corpse's forte.

"Split Wide Open"
This number returns to the well-established subject of child mutilation, but as with every song about this subject, each one has it's own motive. So in Split Wide Open, it speaks of a mother who just gave birth, but goes through an extreme case of post-par tem depression and actually kills the baby and with the help of the father, dissects the child and continues to do the same to each child that she bears. The song fits rather nicely with the subject matter especially at the beginning when the guitar riffs/drum cues sound almost like a meat cleaver chopping the baby's limbs. As the song progresses, it goes through some tempo changes, but nonetheless still brutal. The guitar and drumming in sync with each other has improved vastly and it is most apparent in this particular song.

"Necropedophile"
Perhaps the most vile and perverted song I have heard so far from Cannibal Corpse. Also it is one of the finest pieces musically. The main riff almost sounds to me like a twisted version of a children's song, not sure which song though. The song simply rips in terms of style, musical ability and structure. Sure it doesn't have a solo, but then again, does it need it? Like all other songs in this album, the bass sounds a bit buried and really bright sounding, no low-end at all. Lyrically, it is a fucking masterpiece, one of Chris Barnes' finest pieces. Now, if you remember back in "Butchered at Birth", you heard what was at first, a bunch of noise and incoherent growls. Those weren't growls. In fact, what that was Barnes saying in backwards "Dead Bodies give me pleasure" and more importantly, "Fuck the dead carcasses of your children". Perhaps that last phrase was foreshadowing of things to come and what has become to be known as Necropedophile. Love, hate it or just plain disgusted by it, it is now a staple of Cannibal Corpse.

"The Cryptic Stench"
This song is considered as a sleeper considered as a sleeper song and a bit mellower compared to the other songs in terms of lyrical content, but it is still as brutal as the others. Also, it shows how Paul can change from 4/4 time to 6/8 easily. Using Vampires as the subject matter of this song, the drumming fits quite nicely with the lyrics of the song. It can be considered as one of the more technical pieces of the album. Too bad that it is not as appreciated as it can be.

"Entrails Ripped From a Virgin's Cunt"
Brutal, violent and intense, those words best describe this album, perhaps the most brutal and violent song of the entire album. As the title explains, the song is about a very brutal rape, murder and disembowelment of a virgin woman through her cunt and of course, fucking her dead body. As the lyrics describes "The first and last, your life's only romance� hold her up, her mouth taped shut, screams unheard, out pour her guts ". It almost reminds me of Jack the Ripper in terms of how the victim is mutilated after death. The lyrics, guitars and drums fit so well with this song, it's simply one massive assault to the listener's senses. Definitely not for the faint of heart as the guitars create a wall of sound that will break though anything, the drumming is so intense it will split craniums wide open. There are "slower" parts of the song, but in those parts almost sounds like a fucked up love song. Hey, if you and your girl were in the mood, perhaps this would be the song to do your love making in tongue.gif. While it may not be the fastest song on the album, it offers the most brutality of all of them and like a big rig, the song alone can destroy most other songs in any genre of music out there. And this song was only a taste of what is to come in the future.

"Post Mortal Ejaculation"
Another crowd favorite. This song begins by a catchy riff, and soon the riff progresses into portrayal of brutality as all elements of the band come together. In this song, it speaks of a man who killed himself, but resurrected as a zombie when his corpse manages to ejaculate and wreaks revenge on young women by killing them and fucking their corpses. This is I think the fastest song off of Tomb of the Mutilated vocal patterns are more or less conventional and "universal" as it can fit into many of Barnes-era songs. It is not a rag on his style of singing, I am merely saying that his style follows the same formula in most of his songs and sometimes doesn't fit quite right with some of his songs, although it fit quite nicely with this song. The song's "feel" differentiates constantly which provides variety with this song which I believe is a preamble to later songs.

"Beyond The Cemetery"
The other sleeper in this album. This conclusion to this album ends with more or less a pretty uninspiring song. Compared to other songs, it just feels plain to me musically. While the lyrics offer a deeper perspective into Barnes' Mind or at least the mind of someone after raping and killing his daughter. It seems that he claimed that he was caught under a spell when he killed her. The song doesn't feel that it fit with the song until the end of the song when the tempo changes into a slower beat and eventually phases out.

Production: Tomb Of The Mutilated was an improvement over Butchered At Birth in terms of the guitars and drumming, but it still lacked in overall refinement because the bass is still buried and sounded bright while the Vocals, indecipherable as it may be, could have still been clearer to give the listener a slight chance on deciphering on what Barnes is saying.

Conclusion: Tomb Of The Mutilated is one of those albums that, to the fan, can arguably be considered as the best albums in Barnes' era Cannibal Corpse. In terms of brutality, it's definitely a step up from Butchered. In terms of lyrics, it's the Pinnacle in Barnes' lyric writing. It's amongst the sickest, perverted and graphic of all the albums Cannibal Corpse has produced. While the album has a couple of songs that aren't as liked, the album overall is killer.

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