Corpsegrinder – Corpsegrinder Review

Let’s get this out of the way: I love Cannibal Corpse. I’ve been a devotee for years, a fact that will undoubtedly color this review, which is completely and utterly devoid of objectivity. To be more specific, I’m a fan of post-Barnes era Cannibal Corpse; that magical moment in 1996 when George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher took the vocal reins on Vile and imbued everyone’s favorite splatter-core death metal band with his trademark brutal bellow. And now, 26 years and 11 studio albums later, Mr. Fisher has finally decided to go it alone, foregoing Target discounts and World of Warcraft raids in order to render unto us his very first solo record.1 Corpsegrinder, his aptly-titled debut, certainly doesn’t reinvent any wheels, although you’re still sure to find plenty of mangled limbs wedged between the treads. This platter is indeed an interesting jar o’ giblets, both for what it is and what it isn’t. Bring on the bloodshed!

It’s important to note that this isn’t a Cannibal Corpse album, so it wouldn’t be fair to pen a review as if it were. Does it sound like Cannibal Corpse? In many places, absolutely. In others, it’s a bit more complicated. It’s no surprise that a no-frills death metal musician has produced a no-frills death metal album. So if you dive into Corpsegrinder expecting a journey into the latest atmo-black, avant-garde jazz-fusion release from the guy who gleefully growls “Hammer Smashed Face,” I’m afraid you’ll be disappointed. By the same token, if you’ve come here expecting a review lambasting a member of the metal old guard for cobbling together a Cannibal Corpse clone at half the cost, I’ve also got some bad news for you. The differences are nuanced (not a word I’d ever thought I’d utter in connection to good ‘ole George) and not entirely obvious at first blush, but from the amped-up groove to the dollops of doom, they’re here, just waiting to be rudely disinterred. 

The first few songs alone will leave you sanded faceless, armed as they are with violent, thick riffs, infectious choruses, and Corpsegrinder’s beloved growl, which still balances that fine line between brutal and intelligible. “Acid Vat” (featuring newish Cannibal Corpse guitarist Erik Rutan) kicks things off in a beastly fashion, with sections reminiscent of the lunatic refrain “my entrails are in my hands!” from “Evisceration Plague.” Things get interesting, though, on follow-up tracks “Bottom Dweller” and “On Wings of Carnage,” which combine the assumed freneticism with a hefty, buzzy, almost doomy chug. This is even more pronounced on “Death Is The Only Key” and “Devourer of Souls,” both of which exemplify this minor but no less effective approach. Add in moments of slam (“Master of the Longest Night”) some melodic guitar work (“Vaguely Human”) and touches of thrash and hardcore, and this solo outing provides a welcome deviation, however small, from the rancid recipe that’s worked so well for Mr. Fisher over the past decade. 

For a ten-track album clocking in at a lean and mean 31 minutes, Corpsegrinder is still able to cram in an excessive, joyful amount of barbarity. While the album is a relatively front-loaded affair and tracks like “Crimson Proof” and “Defined by your Demise” veer toward filler territory, the short run time ultimately leaves you wanting more. It’s a good thing too, because the manic immediacy that propels so many Cannibal Corpse releases isn’t as strong here. Once you add in solid performances by brothers Charlie and Nick Bellmore (Dee Snider, ex-Toxic Holocaust) though, and plenty of hooks, some savage spoken-word growls, big riffs, and a very comfortable, very Floridian style of death metal, you’re left with a satisfying if not wholly groundbreaking DM release by one of the genre’s greats.  

Corpsegrinder is a solid album that scratches that primal death metal itch that settles at the base of only the most depraved brain stems. It’s not a transcendent or transformative album, nor is it as good as Mr. Fisher’s earlier output (Alex Webster is sorely missed). And yet he has nonetheless succeeded in delivering a big fat dose of vile, engaging DM. There are undoubtedly those who will be disappointed by the proceedings, but that’s what managing expectations is all about. Once I severed that pesky Cannibal Corpus Callosum and accepted this record for what it was, I found a lot to like on Corpsegrinder. So do yourself a favor and give this hideous ichor a spin; It’s time to windmill your head and respect the neck.

Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Perseverance Music Group
Websites: corpsegrind.bandcamp.com | instagram.com/georgecorpsegrinder
Releases Worldwide: February 24th, 2022

Show 1 footnote

  1. While his two releases with Paths of Possession aren’t “solo” albums per se, they are quite good. – Steel
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