Concert Review: Cannibal Corpse
(San Francisco, CA, Slim’s, 05-05-10)
On Wednesday, May 5, 2010 Cannibal Corpse (“CC”) played Slim’s nightclub in San Francisco. CC played a 19 song, 84 minute, sold out set from 10:20 to 11:44.
1. Scalding Hail (Evisceration Plague, 2009) is a frenetic song less than two minutes in length off CC’s latest record. George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher’s (“GF’s”) vocals kicked in less than five seconds, “Flying chunks of hot debris rushing through the air. Vapors causing blisters eyes blinded by the glare. Clouds that shower death hell falling from the sky. Searing rain of molten rock, flesh begins to fry.” GF sang the first three verses in quick succession with Pat O’Brien (“PO”) and Rob Barrett’s (“RB’s”) guitar riffs of less than five seconds separating each verse. After the third verse GF screamed, “Scalding hail!” GF paused three seconds between the two words, screaming the second with more conviction than the first. GF wore an Evocation (Swedish death metal band) black T-shirt, black cargo cotton slacks, and black combat boots. After the first chorus, from approximately the 0:50 to 1:05 marks (approximations presumed throughout), PO, RB, and Alex Webster (“AW”) played frenetic riffs. After the second chorus PO, RB, AW, and Paul Mazurkiewicz (“PM”) played their instruments, sounding like a possessed hornet’s nest.
2. Unleashing the Bloodthirsty (Bloodthirst, 1999) is a fairly slow tempo song with an ominous brooding feel. PO, RB, and PM’s verse riffs gave the song a chugging, groovy feel. The tempo slightly slowed down when GF twice repeated the chorus, “Blood. They live, they thirst. Blood.” GF emphasized the first and last words by screaming, “Blooooooood.” The tempo significantly increased when GF sang the third verse, “First one that they find. Attack the mortal. Claws tear at his face. Pull the flesh from bone. Decapitate the man. They hold his head aloft. Headless body slumps. The blood is gushing out. Screaming victims fall. Repulsive beasts attack. Gore pours from the torso. Hellish creatures stab. Organs, grisly trophies. Rewards for their rage. Blood drips from their jaws. They disembowel the corpse.” The third chorus differed from the first two because GF sang, “Kill with speed. Victims bleed. Wretched souls. Headless on poles. (five second pause) Savage thirst. Vessels burst. Torn apart. Eat the heart.” Following the third verse RB and PO traded guitar solos for 15 seconds. PO, RB, AW, and PM then jammed for 10 seconds, leading back to the first two choruses that featured a fairly slow tempo.
3. Murder Worship (Kill, 2006) began amidst a sea of PM’s bass drums while PO and RB twice played a catchy four-chord progression. At the 0:20 mark GF began singing the first verse. The verses featured PM smashing his snare drums a la Dave Lombardo (Slayer drummer) and PO and RB playing a driving series of up-tempo riffs. During the break between the first and second verses PO and RB twice played the catchy four-chord progression. After the first chorus GF sang, “Pray to our god. With blood we praise his epic acts of hate and homicidal glory, legendary murders. Trust in our lord. Leads us to kill in the same way that he did, sever all the heads in sacrificial splendor. He is close now. Soon he will be among us leading, violence, ruin, divinity, homicideeeeeeee!” Before GF sang the third verse, from the 2:30 to 3:10 marks, PO, RB, and AW alternated between chugging and complicated riffs.
4. Sentenced to Burn (Gallery of Suicide, 1998) is an up tempo song that featured PO, RB, and AW’s chugging riffs. From the 0:15 to 1:05 marks GF sang the 40 lines of the first verse in rapid succession and emphasized the final word of the last verse, “They will all dieeeeeeee.” After the first chorus PO played a five second guitar run. When GF sang the second chorus he screamed the final word, “Pile the bodies. Set them aflame. The human race. Sentenced to burrrrrrrrn.” From the 2:05 to 2:15 marks PO and RB played riffs with harmonies, which was followed by PO’s 15 second guitar solo. PO wore a black T-shirt with an unidentifiable band’s name, black cargo cotton slacks, and black combat boots. PO played a black B.C. Rich Custom V guitar and used Mesa Boogie amplifiers (“amps”).
5. Savage Butchery (Gore Obsessed, 2002) is a frenetic song less than two minutes in length. During the first verse GF sang, “Striking out with rage I pound him, stomp him. Co*k sucking bastard don’t feel mercy for him. With bare hands I break his legs, break his neck. Now my jagged blade will bring him to his death. Savage killer merciless machine. Butchering victims and watching them bleed. Savage killer chopping off limbs. Butchering for revenge, heartless assassin. Now the cutting starts I stab him, slash him. Less than a minute he became a victim. Now I will sever his legs, his neck. Hatred enemy his body I dissect. Savage.” The tempo slowed during the chorus as GF sang, “Savage … butchery. Ravage … ruthlessly.” GF emphasized and spaced out each word. PO then played a 15 second guitar solo after which GF brought the song to a climax by screaming, “Savage butchery. Savage.”
6. The Cryptic Stench (Tomb of the Mutilated, 1992). Before The Cryptic Stench GF said, “We’re gonna do some old stuff now. Are you ready for some old stuff? The Cryptic Stench!” The Cryptic Stench is a mid tempo song that, for the first 55 seconds, featured the band headbanging in unison amidst a sea of blue lights, as well as the musical talents of PO, RB, AW, and PM, particularly PM who bashed the life out of his tom-tom drums. After the first verse GF sang an interesting catchy line, “Indulgence in the blood, intoxicated from its drug. It warms my cold soul.” GF sang each verse in a lower than usual octave with little pause between verses. However, GF did make a five second pause after the third verse during which PO and RB’s memorable riffs were highlighted. After the fourth verse the band slowed the tempo for 20 seconds before the mid tempo pace resumed and GF sang my favorite verse, “In my clutch, you greet me with open arms. Soon I will rip them off. And drink the blood from the stumps. Life and death are too clear. But mankind is blind to see. The twisted path of their own mortality.”
7. Pounded Into Dust (Bloodthirst, 1999). Before Pounded Into Dust GF said, “Well I know everybody out there has someone in their lives whose head you want to bash in. But you shouldn’t do that because it will get you into jail. Instead take your aggression out in the pit.” Pounded Into Dust is a fairly fast tempo two minute song. GF sang the first two verses in fairly rapid fashion as if comprised of run on sentences, “Forces of hate meet. Gather for the siege. Encircling their foe. The raid begins. Their revenge is sought. Through violence, smashing, killing, stabbing, pounding. Iron weapons clash. Evil warriors strike. Hammers cracking skulls. Axes chopping heads. Their revenge is now. Through violence, smashing, killing, stabbing, pounding.” GF then sang the first chorus during which he emphasized the final word and drew it out with much audience participation, “Blood soaks the ground. In their own, they will drown. Surrounded by disgust. Pounded into duuuuuuuust.” After the third verse PO played a five second solo. GF then sang the third and final chorus.
8. The Wretched Spawn (The Wretched Spawn, 2004). Before The Wretched Spawn AW raised the devil horns to salute the crowd while GF said, “It’s time to slow things down. The Wretched Spawn.” The first 25 seconds of The Wretched Spawn features PO, RB, and AW playing complicated riffs. AW was particularly prominent in the mix. AW is an exceedingly underrated bass player who plucks the bass strings a la Steve Harris (Iron Maiden bassist), often doing so with all four fingers of his right hand. AW wore a Eulogy (death metal band from Tampa, Florida) black T-shirt, black jean pants, black sneakers, and black wristbands on both wrists. AW played a black Modulus Quantum 5 five string bass and used SWR Megoliath amps. GF sang the first verse at a fairly slow tempo, “Conceived through rape. Procreate. A vicious brood. Ravaging intercourse. Penetrate with force. Forsaken, nude.” The chorus featured an interesting catchy exchange between GF’s vocal deliveries quickly followed by PO and RB playing the same melody sung by GF as palm muted, harmonic riffs. The chorus has an interesting twist in that after GF sang the second chorus he went straight into the third chorus with slightly varying lyrics, “Spawn of the wretched, bred from the damned. Gone are the instincts normal for man. Spawn of the wanton loins of the cruel. Spawned by brute force, used as a tool. The wretched spawn, violence will rule.”
From the 2:15 to 2:30 marks PO, RB, AW, and PM engaged in a frenetic jam immediately followed by GF screaming, “Scion of the murders. A bloodline so profane. Born insane. Predestined to annihilate. Through sinister eugenics. Sworn to kill, they will.” As GF sang the final line the tempo drastically decreased. The tempo gradually increased as GF screamed, “It was made to kill!” GF then played air drums in unison with PM’s bass drums and engaged in his signature headbanging, firmly grasping his microphone with his right hand, resting his left hand on his thigh, and rapidly rotating his head bent forward in sweeping clockwise fashion. All that was visible of GF’s head was a long mane of auburn hair swirling around like a whirling dervish. AW joined GF in rotating his head while masterfully performing three-finger string plucking. PO and RB traded guitar solos for 15 seconds. The Wretched Spawn led straight into Gutted.
9. Gutted (Butchered at Birth, 1991) begins with PO and RB’s chugging riffs. At the 0:20 mark GF began singing the first verse in a particularly low octave and fast pace without much pause between verse lines. Following the first and second verses PO, RB, and AW played ominous, mid tempo riffs for 10 seconds reminiscent of early Slayer. The mid tempo continued part way through the second verse, until the 1:15 mark, at which point the tempo escalated. Between the second and third verses PO, RB, and AW played a dizzying array of riffs while PM frenetically bashed the life out of his bass drums. Gutted and two other songs to be performed received the strongest audience reaction.
10. Evisceration Plague (Evisceration Plague, 2009). Before Evisceration Plague the audience began a well deserved homage during which they repeatedly chanted, “George.” GF responded by saying, “Thank you. That is awesome. We have a new album. It has been out for a while. You should have it or I will find you and kill you. Some of you sick mother f**kers will like that.” Evisceration Plague is a mid tempo song. For the first 35 seconds PO and RB played a chugging, brooding riff amidst green stage lights. Between each verse PO played a searing 10 second guitar run atop RB’s ominous riffs. During the catchy chorus GF sang, “Beg for your life, you won’t escape the knife. Your fate was sealed today. Disease will spread, you pray for death. Evisceration plague.” PM’s bass drums and the audience’s repeated chant of “Hoy!” augmented the chorus. At the end of the third verse, while PB frantically struck his bass drums, GF sang, “My entrails are in my hands (sung two times). Plague leads to death (sung four times).” PO then played a 25 second guitar solo. The signature aspect of Evisceration Plague is how its melody featured by GF’s singing, PO and RB’s riffs, and PB’s drumming all presented a united front creating an evil wall of sound that compelled the audience to bang their heads.
11. Disfigured (Vile, 1996). The band briefly paused after Evisceration Plague during which GF simply growled, “Disfigured.” Disfigured is a mid tempo song highlighting PB’s drumming skills, particularly his heavy handed beating of (1) cymbals during the verses and (2) bass and tom tom drums during the choruses. PM wore a black T-shirt and shorts. PM played a red Tama drum kit featuring subtle black speckles, double bass drums, and Zildjian cymbals. PM’s kit features an interesting set up with his drum stool positioned very low to the ground. [The stool height and lack of a drum riser gave an odd appearance to the kit, making it almost appear as if PM was hiding behind it or driving a lowrider (i.e., car with a suspension system modified with hydraulic suspension to ride as low as possible to the ground).]
The third verse contains particularly enticing lyrics, “A straight razor will reshape my face. First my ears then my nose. Blood is gushing continue to carve. Erase the face I hate.” From the 1:40 to 2:10 marks the tempo escalated as PB frantically hit his snare drums and GF sang, “I fill my tub, with alcohol. I plunge into the burning pool. The pain intense, my whole body … is drenched in scalding liquid. Despite my pain I am able … to grab a lighter on the counter. The flint ignites, the flames erupt. I’m consumed in the inferno. Cauterize … my skin is charred. Regenerate … more loathsome than before.” The tempo slightly slowed down as GF sang the fifth and sixth verses. Disfigured does not feature a guitar solo. However, from the 3:00 to 3:50 marks, PO, RB, AW, and PM jammed at a mid tempo pace. At the end of the song PO and RB played a lingering note accentuated by use of their guitar tremolo bars amidst a wall of feedback. [The searing feedback was loud enough to Disfigure the faces of those in close proximity to the amps.]
12. Scattered Remains, Splattered Brains (Eaten Back to Life, 1990). Before Scattered Remains, Splattered Brains an inebriated fan shouted, “Hey George I am thirsty.” With little pause GF matter of factly responded, “Go buy a drink. I am not a soda machine, nor a cooler.” (fans shouted to show their enthusiasm for the band) “I am trying to talk. Shut the f**k up. This is off the first album. In fact this is the first song the band played live. Scattered Remains, Splattered Brains.” The first 35 seconds featured PO, RB, and AW’s descending, slow tempo chord progressions into the depths of hell augmented by PM’s drum beats and use of red stage lights. At the 0:35 mark the song shifted to an up tempo mode with the introduction of PM’s drum beats. GF rapidly sang the first verse and chorus without much pause in between. [GF sang with great clarity even when he sang the lyrics at a rapid pace as if he was spitting out toxic kerosene.] From the 1:00 to 1:10 marks PO, RB, AW, and PM jammed on their instruments at a frenetic pace and then slowed the pace for the next 10 seconds during which PO and RB played harmonic riffs reminiscent of early Slayer that carried over into the second verse. At the 1:40 mark PM’s drumbeats shifted the song to a very up-tempo mode. GF also rapidly sang the third verse and chorus without much pause in between. The chorus lyrics are particularly interesting, “Hack, slice, chop, carve, rip and tear. Carving up your eyeballs, watch them sit and stare. Tear, rip, slice, carve, chop, hack. Toss them into a sack.” Scattered Remains, Splattered Brains, Gutted, and a third song to be performed received the strongest audience reaction.
13. Make Them Suffer (Kill, 2006). Before Make Them Suffer the white stage lights shined on the crowd and GF said, “I want to see a really big pit for this song. If you see someone out there playing with their di*ks or playing with their girlfriend’s ti*s, tell them to do that on their own time. This is OUR time. Throw them in the pit and Make Them Suffer!” Make Them Suffer is a very frenetic song that, at the 0:10 mark, featured GF scream, “Suffeeeeeeeer!” Between the second and third verses PO and RB played a dizzying array of complicated riffs augmented by PM’s driving bass and tom tom drums. [RB moved his left hand so quickly across the fretboard it resembled a hummingbird’s wings in mid flight.] RB wore an Infernal Majesty (thrash band from Toronto, Canada) black T-shirt, black cargo cotton pants, black boots, and black wristbands on both wrists. RB primarily played a grey Dean guitar with black trim and sparingly played a black Dean guitar with red trim. RB used Mesa Boogie amps. PO, RB, and AW played the same melody GF sang during the first chorus. GF twice sang the chorus before and after PO played a 10 second guitar solo amidst the battery of PM’s bass drums. The lyrics for each chorus slightly varied. For the first chorus GF sang, “Make them suffer while they plead for cessation. Entirely demoralized and close to mass extinction. Damned to please supremacy. The reason for their martyrdom they will never know.” GF thrice repeated the phrase, “Make them suffer” before singing the second part of the chorus, “Make them suffer while they bleed through damnation. Begged for retribution before meeting with demise. Cursed by animosity. Once chosen for this mad ordeal there is no escape.” Make Them Suffer was the most technically proficient song the band performed.
14. Priests of Sodom (Evisceration Plague, 2009). Before Priests of Sodom GF said, “Time to send out a very special dedication. This song is going out to all the women. It’s not the song you think it is. This song goes out to the ladies, but a special kind of lady. It goes out to the sluts out there. (female fans screamed in delight) Priests of Sodom.” Priests of Sodom is an up tempo song that began amidst GF’s scream, AW’s galloping, heavy bass lines, and PM’s pummeling snare and bass drums. The verses have an interesting twist in that GF repeated the even numbered verse lines to which he added an introductory phrase (e.g., “you must,” “there is”), “The blackened city calls out. Enter the temple of sin. You must enter the temple of sin. Contorted sinners beckon. Join our twisted rites. You must join our twisted rites. The priest’s eyes gleam. Blood on their scepters of flesh. There is blood on their scepters of flesh. The nubile virgin bows. Await the piercing thrust. She awaits the piercing thrust.” GF’s vocals were augmented by PO and RB’s chugging riffs syncopated with PM’s bass and tom tom drums. After the second chorus GF sang the verse with the most interesting lyrics, “Statues of demons glisten with sweat. The orgy intensifies violence begins. Flagellate sluts with serpentine whips. They raise their blades to throats of their men. Climax approaches and the blood will spill. Sexual sacrifice, mutilation and death.” After this verse GF shouted and repeated five times, “Murderrrrrrrr … Priest of sodom.” PO played a 20 second guitar solo after which GR sang the final chorus amidst the torrent of PM’s bass drums, “Perverse rites. Priests of sodom preside. We are damned. Immortal lust. Wicked legions come forth. Defile the pure.”
15. Staring Through the Eyes of the Dead (The Bleeding, 1994). The band briefly paused after Priests of Sodom during which GF growled, “Staring Through the Eyes of the Dead.” From the 0:30 to 1:20 marks of this mid tempo song GF sang the first verse at a particularly low octave while PO and RB played a recurring, muted riff. The tempo drastically increased as GF sang the chorus, “Help me I’m not dead. Wake me from this hell. Tell me I’m alive. Dead.” The higher tempo carried into the second verse and chorus. When GF sang the final word of the second chorus (i.e., “dead” ), the tempo significantly slowed to its initial pace and the audience chanted, “Dead.” The tempo once again escalated right before PO and RB traded guitar solos for 20 seconds. Scattered Remains, Splattered Brains, Gutted, and Staring Through the Eyes of the Dead received the strongest audience reaction.
16. Devoured by Vermin (Vile, 1996). Before Devoured by Vermin GF said, “Do you still want more? Do you all want more? This is the first song on the vinyl album. You know what it is, don’t you? Devoured by Vermin!” Devoured by Vermin is a full throttle frenetic thrash song that began with GF’s 10 second growl and PM’s pummeling of his snare and bass drums. [The band created a formidable wall of sound that shook my stomach. Given my stomach’s size, that is an impressive feat.] GF rapidly sang the first verse without much pause between verse lines, “Ravenous waves attack drawn by the scent of life, fever for our blood. Instinct rules this mass, ruthless living sea. Devouring. Countless vermin gnashing at my face. Tear meat from my skull. Swarming, rabid, features are erased, unrecognizable. Body covered, rat-filled innards. Shred internal organs. Heart and lungs consumed from inside but my pain doesn’t end. I have not died.” GF twice repeated the chorus, “Devour, cesspool of vermin. Devour, bloodthirsty rabid, devoured by vermin.” GF emphasized the word “devour” by singing it at a slower pace and in an evil tone. The chorus prominently featured PM’s tom tom drums. After the second chorus the tempo switched to a mid tempo pace while GF sang, “Ruthless gnawing vermin-feed. Cleaning off my bones while I breathe. Stenching greasy rodents-swarm. My body is losing its form.” From the 2:05 to 2:40 marks the tempo significantly slowed down and PO and RB played ominous riffs reminiscent of Celtic Frost. At the 2:40 mark the pace resumed its frenetic pace and PO and RB traded guitar solos for 15 seconds.
17. A Skull Full of Maggots (Eaten Back to Life, 1990). Before A Skull Full of Maggots GF said, “If anybody out there knows the middle part to this song, then you need to be screaming Maggoooooooots! A Skull Full of Maggots.” A Skull Full of Maggots began amidst the flurry of PO and RB’s rapid, choppy riffs and PM’s snare and bass drums. GF rapidly sang the first verse while the second verse was preceded by GF’s chant of, “Beahhhhhhhh … Beah … Beahhhhhhhh … Beahhhhhhhh” [GF sounded like he was vomiting something vile.] GF sang the second verse interspersed with the audience’s repeated chant of “maggots,” “They enter your tomb … maggots … Beginning to feast … maggots … Crawling on you … maggots … Now they eat you …maggots … Rotting maggots … Infesting your corpse … maggots … Parasites of the dead … maggots … Now dwell in your head.” From the 1:40 to 1:45 marks the tempo significantly slowed down to the point the song stopped for a nanosecond. The tempo then escalated while GF rapidly sang the third and fourth verses in 20 seconds without pause between verses. At the end of the song GF told the crowd, “Good job.”
18. Hammer Smashed Face (Tomb of the Mutilated, 1992). Before Hammer Smashed Face GF said, “Unfortunately this is the last song of the night. (triggering boos from audience) Listen, no way we could stand up here and play all night. Well we could, but we won’t. This is for all you out there. Thank you for supporting death metal. All you over there (stage left near bar) and over there (balcony) put your drinks down and get in the pit!” Hammer Smashed Face featured PO and RB’s driving frenetic riffs and PM’s abused snare drums. From the 0:20 to 0:25 marks AW played dizzying, prominent bass lines right before GF sang the first verse. GF sang at a particularly slow tempo in comparison to PO and RB’s up-tempo, descending chord progressions featuring a trill. GF picked up the pace during the second, third, and fourth verses but continued to sing in a low octave. The third verse has particularly interesting lyrics, “Eyes bulging from their sockets. With every swing of my mallet. I smash your fucking head in, until brains seep in. Through the cracks, blood does leak. Distorted beauty, catastrophe. Steaming slop, splattered all over me.” From the 2:10 to 2:40 marks the tempo slowed down while GF growled, “Crushing, cranial, contents.” The tempo then escalated while GF sang the fifth verse only to then briefly slow down while GF growled, “Suffer, and then you die. Torture, pulverized.” The tempo resumed an up-tempo pace to the end. Hammer Smashed Face was arguably the most ferocious song the band performed.
19. Stripped, Raped and Strangled (The Bleeding, 1994). The band briefly paused after Hammer Smashed Face during which GF growled, “Stripped, Raped and Strangled.” Stripped, Raped and Strangled began with PO and RB’s slow tempo riffs, PM’s snare drums, and AW’s use of both hands to pick notes on his bass fretboard. GF sang the first half of the first verse at mid tempo ending with the phrase, “She was so beautiful. I had to kill her.” During the second half of the first verse and the first chorus the tempo significantly escalated, PO and RB played frenetic riffs, PM bashed his snare and bass drums, and the audience chanted along. When GF sang the second verse the tempo resumed its initial pace. The tempo significantly escalated during the second chorus but resumed its initial tempo during the third verse onward. The band members individually raised their hand(s) to thank the crowd and GF said, “You guys rule.” The band left the stage and did not return for an encore.
Venue: Slim’s is a 400 seat San Francisco club that rhythm and blues artist Boz Scaggs opened in 1988. Slim’s is located within three miles of San Francisco’s financial district. The club decor is simple and includes chandeliers, brick walls, and a bar inspired by the facades of New Orleans manors. Within five feet of walking through the entrance are six steps that lead immediately up and into the general admission floor approximately 20 feet from the stage. At one end of the main floor is the stage that measures 29 feet wide by 16 feet deep. The stage is three feet and three inches from the club floor and features a moveable drum riser eight feet by six feet and a very narrow photo pit. At the other end of the main floor is a small balcony with 14 tables and seating for 70 people. The sound console is located in the rear by the steps leading up to the balcony. The L shaped bar runs the length of the floor stage left. The general admission floor also includes six pillars. Located downstairs are three dressing rooms, coat check, and additional restrooms.
Opening Band (first to last): Lecherous Nocturne, Skeletonwitch, 1349.
Arash Moussavian, Entertainment Law Attorney
All photos taken by Arash Moussavian. This article and all photos are protected by copyright. Please contact me prior to use, or I will make shish kabab of your loins.