For those listening to Death Metal, CANNIBAL CORPSE should be a familiar name. They sure helped shaping how Brutal Death and Gore Metal should sound. They have been around for 15 years and to achieve such a lengthy career you have to deliver quality. Some people may have problems taking the cannibals serious because of their lyrics, I'm not one of them. I've read a couple of lyrics throughout the years and to be honest lots of crap has been written. CANNIBAL CORPSE's lyrics deals with gore and horror, but they do it in a fashion that's easy to imagine. Take "Fucked With A Knife" for instance, not really hard to create a mental picture of, is it? When I'm being served a song called something like "Visceral Compulsive Explosion" (I made it up), I have a much harder time getting a mental picture, in fact I think many (like me one some occasions) have to open their dictionary to get a clue.
"The Bleeding" was Chris Barnes’ final album with the cannibals. In my opinion he wrote some of the best lyrics CANNIBAL CORPSE have ever written. So if he wasn't that big loss on the vocals (some would argue), he at least wrote some memorable lyrics for those who are gore obsessed among us. "The Bleeding" also saw the arrival of Rob Barret, he replaced former guitarist Rob Rusay, who was one of the founding members of CANNIBAL CORPSE. I would say that "The Bleeding" is CANNIBAL CORPSE's least brutal album, musically speaking. That being said, expect no ballads as this record deserves the Death Metal tag without hesitation, it's just that the blasting has be toned down a bit, giving space to a more mid-tempo based Death Metal offering. While listening to this record you realise how good Alex Webster's bass playing are, enriching the sound, not just playing along to it. I have been to a CANNIBAL CORPSE concert once and though all the band members were professional like hell, Alex Webster impressed me the most. This sick fucker headbanged through the whole set with a minimum of mistakes (I didn't notice any).
"Staring Through The Eyes Of The Dead" opens the album, giving a good hint of what's to come. It starts at mid-tempo with some good riffing and Chris Barnes growling out his fantasies about being skin-dead and getting ready for his own funeral. The chilling part of this lyric is the fact that I'm sure this very thing has happened to a miserable fuck through the history of mankind. CANNIBAL CORPSE made a video to this song and although it was a rather poor video, at least not scary at all, it sure was one of the best songs they played on Headbangers Ball (For anyone remembering that rather rubbish program.) "Fucked With A Knife" follows and with a song title like that you can't help being noticed. The song itself is very good, but it also shows some of the weaknesses Chris Barnes have when the music goes faster than mid-tempo. This is the first song containing some blast beats and it's quite rare to not have a blast beat before the middle of the second song when you are dealing with a CANNIBAL CORPSE album. "Stripped, Raped And Strangled" is another good mid-tempo based song with some really wicked lyrics, this one is the favourite song of the album for a friend of mine. My favourite song follows shortly after in the shape of "Pulverized". This is the albums fastest song, using blasts as the main rhythm. There's also some really nice breakdowns inviting you in for some serious head banging. "Return To Flesh" turns down the speed a lot, letting the drummer work his feet than his arms, as the double kick drums are used intensely, a good song it is. My lyrical favourite on the album is "Pick-Axe Murders", it's about a guy bringing a Pick-Axe to perform some sort of vengeance. The main riff in this song is also very good, making room for some serious head banging. The next song I want to highlight is the title track, quite memorable guitar harmony at the start, giving me some sort of an Egyptian vibe. This harmony gets repeated a couple of times, helping the title track stand out a bit. "Force Fed Broken Glass" also stands out, but not in a positive manner. This song sounds utterly uninspired and I can only call it filler material. I also question the placing of this song. I think it should have been last song on the album, because when "Forced Fed Broken Glass" draws towards a slow end, it sounds like the album is gonna end with it, a minor complaint for sure.
As I wrote previously in this review, "The Bleeding" must be considered as CANNIBAL CORPSE's least hyper blast infested album. The departure of Chris Barnes saw CANNIBAL CORPSE turn up the speed many notches. I read somewhere that the main reason for firing Chris Barnes was his problems growling along to the fast songs. Full speed or half speed, this is in my opinion one of the best CANNIBAL CORPSE albums yet released, surpassed only by "Gallery Of Suicide" and "Bloodthirst". Easy recommendation if you are a Death Metal fan. (Online May 14, 2005)