It's been fifteen years and these gore freaks are still going strong doing what they do best and that's write about gore in every possible way. You would think that this band would change in any possible way and to be honest, they hardly changed at all other than vocalists. "Severed Head Stoning" sets the pace for what we are about to hear. I was surprised that this wasn't ultra fast Death/Gore. In fact, it was hard and heavy and nowhere near as fast as their older stuff. This is what the band needs, a change of pacing.
I am quite positive that these guys don't need to prove anything anymore, as they have not only paved the way for other artists in this genre, but they were the first to blast their way into all of your hearts as well. When you have lead the way for over fifteen years, you can now go in any direction that you want. The guitars are fast complete with wicked guitar solos, but there is rhythm and catchiness to them. "Psychotic Precision" contains more blast beats and wild guitar work, but it's not over the top like in the past or what others in this genre are doing today.
The guitars are thicker and deeper sounding with "Decency Defied". I have to say that I don't mind George's vokills because he doesn't try to sound super guttural and sing or growl as low as possible. You can make out a word or two when he takes the mic. The mix their Death Metal with their trademark sounds very nicely here. "Cyanide Assassin" contains some of Jack and Pat's more technical guitar work. Talk about being versatile. The band takes a trip down Doom lane with sludgy and slow guitars and drum work so slow and heavy that your bowels are bound to fall out. I had no idea that the band had it in them to slow things down a bit. Don't worry though, because things pick up to a mid pace before you know it.
While I am not a true Death Metal fan, I can appreciate what these guys do here. They are able to take their sound and play around with it. Since they could go as far as they could with warp speed blast beats and dizzying guitar work that could make you puke, I think the guys are now focusing on rhythms, composition and catchy riffs. I think the band has matured just enough to offer variation and prevent things from being boring and mundane. I do think that by having Neil Kernon on board once again to push buttons and turn knobs, he knows how to bring out the best in anyone. Once again the band does its best to offend you with their gross out title and lyrics and cover work that belongs in a horror movie.
Sometimes, change is good and this band shows you how to do it. There may be bands galore out there that are faster than CANNIBAL and perhaps even faster, but how many of them have the musical knowledge to know how to change things up and explore new territories and not sound mundane? That is why these guys are still the best at what they do. (Online January 28, 2004)