Lately I have started listening to CANNIBAL CORPSE a lot, even their oldest releases. When I first bought “Eaten Back To Life” I thought it was a big disappointment, I remember the lack of blast beats being the reason for that. The skills of the band members prevented them from doing much of the technical stuff that they are doing nowadays. Since that time I’ve heard a zillion blast beats, not saying I’m tired of them, but saying that my quench for blasts is being satisfied at the moment. That means that I can listen to music that doesn’t have blast beats as well these days.
What I discovered when I listened to “Eaten Back To Life” over again was that CANNIBAL CORPSE were able to write songs that stuck to your mind even in their early days. I’m not saying that the whole of “Eaten Back To Life” lies memorized in my brain, but I’m not going to forget the chorus of “Skull Full Of Maggots” until I’m either dead or senile, the same goes for “Mangled”. On the other hand “Buried In The Backyard” is an utterly forgettable song. On the two highlights I mentioned, Glen Benton (DEICIDE) and Francis H. Howard (INCUBUS) sings back up vocals, it makes we want to sing along as well. I challenge the makers of the Singstar series, a karaoke game for the PS2, to make a Death Metal version. That would have been a treat.
When it comes to lyrics it is much the same as we’re already used to when it comes to CANNIBAL CORPSE, except for one song that is. That song is called “Put Them To Death”. “Put Them To Death” sees CANNIBAL CORPSE supporting death penalty for murderers, who would have thought that? I find it peculiar that German authorities has banned this record . From what I have read the cover picture is one of the reasons for it, laughable if you ask me. I agree that the cover of “Butchered At Birth” is quite extreme, but come on, a zombie like creature eating himself back to life, that’s just funny.
I used a lot of space in my review of “Tomb Of The Mutilated” to say that the cookie monster vocals of Chris Barnes had lost some of its appeal. Here, however, Chris Barnes is the one who does the best performance, maybe his best performance ever. On this album he is able to follow the music much more dynamically, he sings faster, the music goes slower. Not only does he cope with the music a lot better, tempo wise, but he also varies his approach a lot more. A lot more is relatively speaking since he doesn’t vary at all on “Tomb Of The Mutilated”.
As with all the albums released by the cannibals you can actually hear the bass guitar, hails to Alex Webster once again. The sound quality on “Eaten Back To Life” is good when you consider that it was released 16 years ago. It is produced by the same guy who produced “Tomb Of The Mutilated”, namely Scott Burns. For those who aren’t familiar with the works of Scott Burns I can tell you that he was The man when it came to recording Death Metal albums in the 90’s. If I saw a record produced by this individual it was enough to warrant a purchase. As long as the band wasn’t OBITUARY that is.
There isn’t much shock value left in this recording but fortunately it has enough good songs to be more than just for the shock of it. I for one like it a lot better now than I did at the time it was released. A listen is recommended; just remember that it’s quiet far from how the cannibals sound today, not miles away, but quite far. (Online February 9, 2006)