George �Corpsegrinder� Fisher � Vocals
Jack Owen � Guitar
Alex Webster � Bass Guitar
Paul Mazurkiewicz � Drums
Pat O�Brien � Guitar
1998 Metal Blade Records
Produced by Jim Morris
1998 was a fantastic year on all counts�Viagra became legal, Jesse Ventura became governor of Minnesota, and President William J. Clinton was impeached. Amazon.com became the biggest Internet movie database, Microsoft went under fire for its antitrust policies, and John Glenn became the oldest man in space. 1998 also marked the coming of a new auditory display of manslaughter, debauchery, and, well, suicide.
�Gallery of Suicide,� Cannibal Corpse�s sixth studio effort, captured brutality in its purest form and condensed it into heavy, technical riffs, heart-pounding double-bass drums, and guttural vocals to appease the masses of anxious death metal fans. This album marked a couple turning points in the band�s career:
First, this is the Cannibal Corpse album produced by someone other than Scott Burns of Morrisound Recording Studios. This time, Jim Morris (also of Morrisound) took his place.
Second, this marks the first album on which former Nevermore guitarist Pat O�Brien plays second lead guitar after Rob Barrett�s two album reign comes to an end.
The album opens with �I Will Kill You
,� a fan favorite (namely, this fan�s favorite). After a slow, 8 second feedback riff, the band enters with a low, fast riff, a basic but effective drum beat, and Fisher�s trademark deep, rough vocals. The bridge is perhaps the most exciting part of the song: everything is fast, fast, fast, and the lyrics (a chronicle of a man�s horrendous death) are a rancorous reminder of Webster�s songwriting abilities.
Next is �Disposal of the Body
,� an extremely short violent account of covering one�s murderous tracks. The song is the fastest on the album and comparative to The Bleeding�s �Fucked With a Knife
.� The solo, although short, is well accepted, and the vocals are the obvious showcase here. �Disposal� shows Fisher�s talents on so many levels: frenetic tempo, enunciation, and the constant grunting are very demanding on this song, and Fisher nails them with flying colors.
�Sentenced to Burn
,� ( Pictures
) the album�s single (kind of), attacks mindless conformity and curses those who follow to damnation and destruction. The riff is redundant to say the least, but catchy. The bridge, followed by Jack�s solo, are the most powerful parts of the song, demanding head-banging homage to the death metal serenade. �Sentenced� is much more unadventurous than many other songs on the album, but is still an integral song and commands that much more respect.
Quite the opposite of the aforementioned �Sentenced to Burn
,� �Blood Drenched Execution
� returns to frantic pacing, constant screaming, and those wonderfully inventive riffs Cannibal Corpse never seems to stop making. The song title implies only a fraction of the lyrics� mega-violent story of a child being ripped out of the womb. The subject of the song may turn stomachs, but to most of us death metal fans, �Blood Drenched Execution� is one of those songs where you go, �holy fuck, this is cool.�
�Gallery of Suicide
,� a seemingly melodic trip into the darkest catacombs of the death house, captures every aspect of what I expected from such a gallery: bloodied walls, slit throats, and trance-like slaves to death. �Gallery� is a well-put together song on all levels: well-produced instruments, perfect timing, vivid descriptions of environs through Paul�s penmanship, and perhaps the best death metal solo to date. �Gallery� demands so much head-banging, air-guitar, air-drums, and sing-along vocals (should you be able to do them) that you can�t help but enjoy yourself when you listen to this song.
Next is �Dismembered and Molested
.� Cute title, isn�t it? Another fast paced song, �Dismembered� tells an incredibly gory story (as most Cannibal Corpse songs are) of a post-mortem rape victim after having been cut into several pieces. The premise is cool, but the song�s riff doesn�t click with the lyrics. It�s the song on the album that�s just there�it�s nice if you want to offend somebody, but otherwise it�s an intermission between two very good songs.
�From Skin to Liquid
� is my favorite death metal instrumental. Its placement in the album is comfortable: seated between two fairly fast songs, �From Skin to Liquid� slows you down and allows you to get your breath back. There�s still head-banging that must take place, mind you, but it�s much slower than any other song on the album. Surprisingly, it�s a nice change of pace, and displays Cannibal�s talents on a different level than that of many other death metal bands.
�Unite the Dead
� took me a while to get into. The song is about a corpse gangbang, and human threesomes throw me off, much less zombies tag teaming a female cadaver. However, the tempo and the guitar riff were catchy enough to keep me listening to the song. The lyrics became fitting for the guitars; I couldn�t imagine �Unite the Dead� any different than it is. It�s one of the few times I questioned my loyalty to Corpse�s mission to offend people and push lyrics to the limit. Fortunately, I saw the light, and �Unite the Dead� is a very cool head-banger�s ballad.
�Stabbed in the Throat
� is my least favorite song on the album. It�s not that I don�t like the lyrics. It�s not that I don�t like the riff. It�s that I don�t like the two of them together. They don�t click together for me. Maybe it�s a malfunction in my system or something, but �Stabbed in the Throat� has riffs that speed up every time Corpsegrinder belts out his grunts to a slow, boring riff between vocals. Perhaps to a different vocal pattern I would�ve liked this song.
The next song, �Chambers of Blood
,� has really weird timing, and at first was pressing for me to get into. Once I got into the beat, though, it was picturesque. Any time I listen to this song, I can visualize the chambers described, walls covered with blood and debris, candles, altars, sacrifices and what-have-you. It�s an imaginative song, and while it might take a couple of listens to get into, �Chambers� is one of my favorites on the album.
� is another one of those wonderful story songs, where you can follow along with the lyrics and read a nice little tale about irony and death. The lyrical genius of Paul Mazurkiewicz shows up again and again on this CD, but no lyrics on this album are quite as descriptive as that of �Headless.� It�s vivid, vibrant, and, if you�re a little morbid (hell, if you�re reading this, you are), it�s kinda funny. The opening riff reminds me of the old Natsume RPG �Harvest Moon.� Search me why, but while I can�t stand the game, I love this song.
On each and every Cannibal Corpse album, there�s a song where I can picture myself in the victim�s seat and feel the pain the music is inducing. On �Gallery of Suicide,� it�s �Every Bone Broken
,� which reminds me how scary Cannibal�s music can be. I�ve broken three bones in my lifetime, two of which hurt like hell�I can�t imagine having all the bones in my body broken to pieces, much less any of the other maniacal activities that occur in this song. I like this song, but for me it�s not a �fuck yeah, this is cool,� kinda song. To me, it�s a �taboo-I-hope-I�m-not-dead-when-it�s-over� kinda song.
�Centuries of Torment
� is a slower song, but not a slow song. Compared to the other songs on the album (with �From Skin to Liquid� playing the exception), �Centuries� slows down the pace, and it has a nice second-to-last position on the album. Timing is crucial on this song, and while it�s disorienting to listen to at first, after a couple of verses, the tempo sticks in your head. The slow-down during the chorus/bridge is surprisingly refreshing, and while it doesn�t flow together with the rest of the song, it contrasts nicely with the faster-paced stretches. The lyrics are abstract, but effective at conveying the message of abstinence from God, and that�s all we really ask for from this song.
The closer, �Crushing the Despised
,� is simple, but an effective closer. It�s fast, and the lyrics, while monotonous in some spots, are among those songs by Cannibal Corpse dedicated to those who have stabbed them in the back at one point or another. The riff is cool, the growls are full of angst, but the message in this song is the most important (and perhaps the reason why this is the closer): DON�T FUCK WITH CANNIBAL CORPSE.
Vincent Locke has set a standard for album cover art. No one has come close to the grotesque images or violent themes Locke conveys visually for Cannibal Corpse�s albums, and �Gallery� is a perfect example of his craft. Masochism runs rampant in the blood-stained steel and stone walls of the gallery, as shown in several instances (to include a redhead tearing out her intestines with a dagger). It�s dark and gory in this hell-house, and it�s everything I ever wanted in a place I could go to kill myself (not that I�d ever want to).
Considering this being the first crossover from one producer to another for Cannibal Corpse, this is a fantastic album on all counts. Drums, bass, guitars and vocals aren�t muddy or drowned, but are rich, crisp, and well-received. You can pick out each individual instrument and follow along, which in many cases you can�t do with a death metal album. Vocals were an important part of this album, especially since the vocal patterns on this album differ from the former albums in speed and enunciation. This is Cannibal Corpse�s technical masterpiece, and it shows. Morrisound, my hat goes off to you for a job well done.
Almost everything about this album is appealing to a death metal fan: gore, grunts, speed, and slaughter are all positive checks in �Gallery.� But what makes �Gallery� so much different from its predecessors is the excellent technical work, for which �Gallery� cannot be denied. Cannibal Corpse went straight for the jugular on this album, and this is pure death metal banging on all four cylinders.
by: Kris 'Gimpus'