Dead Review Collection #1 - EATEN!

I'm reviewing every full-length Cannibal Corpse album.  Yes, I'm crazy!  Each piece will be posted according to a rigid set of guidelines.  A review is published when...when I'm done writing it.  So check back on those days?

This blood-splattered platter stands apart from the rest of Cannibal Corpse's discography.  As die-hard (all puns are intended) fans know, Eaten Back to Life is suffused with streaks of thrash.  It wasn't a matter of geography; the guys were based in New York.  If they were going to absorb local leanings by osmosis, their music would have had a hardcore bent to it.  The members simply listened to a lot of Slayer and Kreator.  I don't know that they deplored the more melodic, accessible stuff (I'm thinking of two M's), but CC had a specific goal.  At this point, death metal may have existed in some form, but it wasn't a concrete thing.  Thanks to these badass motherfuckers, it was about to be a thing.

Throughout this series, I will use "CC" as shorthand for Cannibal Corpse.  Trust me when I tell you that I'm never referring to C.C. DeVille.  I wanted to squash that confusion from the get-go.  I'm also going to use an unnecessary amount of profanity.  Anywho, this fucking fucker was not my introduction to the gore gods, despite it being the debut.  I started with a record from the George era.  I had an inkling of what to expect from vintage CC, but honestly, I popped it into my CD player with mild trepidation.  You see, I knew that Eaten was basically a thrash album on performance-enhancing drugs.  I'm not the biggest thrash nut in the world.

Calm down.  I like the usual suspects from the 80's, but my favorite thrash was recorded in the late 80's/early 90's.  Y'know, when the subgenre was dying?  Holy Terror, Realm, Demolition Hammer, Mordred, Exhorder...that shit kicks my ass.  Okay, so maybe I do like thrash!  It's a moot point.  Eaten contains 20% thrash and 80% death metal.  The elements are there, but "Put Them to Death" will never be mistaken for sunlit Bay Area rage.  I will say, the beginning of "Scattered Remains, Splattered Brains" is pure Slayer.  I almost wonder if it was intentional as a nod to a revered band.

Eaten is fun.  That's the main vibe I get from these tunes.  They certainly don't make me feel icky or odious (that comes later).  No, I imagine myself skateboarding home from school and listening to CC while chugging a can of Crystal Pepsi.  I could never skateboard, but just go with it.  Segue!  Man, these riffs.  Look up "heavy" in a thesaurus and pick any of the suggested synonyms.  Sweet bastard, the opening of "Born in a Casket" sends my mind into a wrestling ring where I pummel a poor sap.  In fact, that would be my entrance theme.  Go listen to it.  How badass is that???

It's a rhetorical question.  You don't have to respond via snail mail.  Put away your stationery, cute though it may be.  Elsewhere, "Mangled" clubs itself over your head with Paul's relentless drumming and the gang shouts of "Maaaangllleeed!"  As for other choice cuts, I'm partial to "A Skull Full of Maggots" and "Buried in the Backyard," the two tracks that close this horror film on tape.  The former is a call-and-response live staple, while the latter identifies as awesome.  What do I write about the lyrics?  In my heart, I'll always be an irresponsible teenager, so I think they're cool.

Compared to 1994's The Bleeding and every Six Feet Under record, Chris Barnes seems to be trying to devise sensible lyrics.  His vocals haven't matured yet.  It's a decent bark.  And again, compared to downstream SFU releases, he sounds fine.  I'm not here to gauge how Eaten Back to Life stacks up against Altars of Madness or Scream Bloody Gore.  I'll leave that to "professional" journalists.  I do quite enjoy it and recommend it to fans of Crystal Pepsi.


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