Dead Review Collection #2 - BUTCHERED!

Strangely, I don't have a strong opinion on Butchered at Birth.  I do know how I feel, but the impression it left on the slate of my metal mettle is somewhat faint.  You can't say he same thing for that artwork...holy fuck!  It's intense and immodest in 2021; can you imagine how flagrantly dissolute it was in 1991?  The band was over its puttering dalliance with thrash.  This was a blunt-force death metal record and it couldn't be mistaken for anything else.  If you weren't sure, Chris Barnes has aimed his vocals lower than usual.

I suppose I'll start there.  St. Christopher's performance is fucking killer.  His tone is brutal, and while I wouldn't describe his style as clear or intelligible, he is more than serviceable (in other words, "fucking killer").  Lyrically, we are disinterring brand new ground.  I find the material to be highly entertaining.  Why does society get so touchy over dead babies?  As.  If.  In all seriousness, the topics covered correspond with the racket, so at least Cannibal Corpse is a consistent unit.  As an adult, I still giggle reading the lyric sheet.  You can't take my iniquity away, middle America!

I mentioned earlier that the songwriting promulgated a narrow focus on death metal.  Normally, "narrow" would have a negative connotation, but in this case, attenuate ambitions contributed to the album's success.  The guitars sound like they crawled out of the sewer.  This is husky, claustrophobic music.  Yes, you can hear Suffocation and Immolation, but CC had their own thing.  The roustabout rhythms, the grunt riffs, the...well, the grunts.  I'm not conveying the most accurate image.  The guys in CC were not unskilled cavemen.  These songs simply inspire me to bash my head into concrete as an unskilled caveman would.

Standouts?  "Meat Hook Sodomy" is a perfect opener, and I'm not just talking about the strident feedback and the pitch-shifted irruption ("irrupt" is an actual word; I couldn't believe it either...this language is bogus).  I love the drum fills and the open-note bolts of riffage.  NOTE TO SELF: Create a metal thesaurus.  "Covered With Sores" might be the heaviest track.  Again, riffage.  "Vomit the Soul" and the title track irradiate my floodlights, which is my goofy way of eulogizing them.  I've tried to underscore the sharpest aspects of Butchered to placate nagging guilt.  Of what am I guilty?

I don't like this record very much.  I know.  If I were to rank Cannibal Corpse's prolific discography (ain't gonna happen), Butchered at Birth would appear somewhere in the teens.  It's not the worst opus, but it's rare that I'm in the mood for this particular shade of rot.  To be specific, the production is a downer.  Jack and Bob are castrated in the mix, whereas Alex is nowhere to be found.  Everything is muffled.  Okay, Paul and Chris come out alright, but at the end of the day, this set doesn't leap out at you.  It slumps over.  However, it's an early 90's death metal LP, so it's cool by default.  You're cool by having read this review.  Me?  Fuckin' fuggedaboutit...


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