By Dave Pehling
SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — An influential force on the American metal scene for nearly three decades, Buffalo-based death metal giants Cannibal Corpse bring their tour promoting the band’s new album Red Before Black to Slim’s for two nights starting Tuesday.
Anchored by the founding rhythm section of bassist Alex Webster and drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz starting in 1988, Cannibal Corpse drew influence from thrash greats like Slayer and German bands Sodom and Kreation, the more extreme sounds of Morbid Angel and Death as well as an obsession with graphic horror films. The band’s first demo quickly led to a deal with Metal Blade Records, who released the group’s 1990 debut effort Eaten Back To Live.
While the band would go through a number of line-up changes over the years, it’s ferocious live show and consistently brutal recordings built Cannibal Corpse a significant underground following. The group’s gruesome album art and transgressive, violent lyrics also made them a target of critics during the ’90s, with government officials citing Cannibal Corpse along with hip-hop acts 2 Live Crew and the Geto Boys for undermining the moral fiber of America’s youth. Australia and Germany actually went as far as banning the group’s recordings from sale completely for a period of time.
Despite the resolutely underground audience the band has cultivated with albums like Gallery of Suicide, Gore Obsessed and The Wretched Spawn, Cannibal Corpse has become part of the pop culture landscape, having made a brief appearance in the 1994 Jim Carey comedy Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. More recently, longtime singer George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher was cited as the main inspiration for Nathan Explosion, the lead singer to animated death metal band Dethklok featured in the popular Adult Swim show Metalocalypse.
The band returns to play classic songs and tunes from its brand new album Red Before Black for loyal Bay Area death fans this week at Slim’s during a two-night run. Joining them will be one of the leading modern purveyors mixing classic thrash metal and hardcore punk sounds, Dallas-based outfit Power Trip.
Founded in 2008 by frontman Riley Gale and guitarist Blake Ibanez, the Texas quintet aimed to capture the metal-tinged sound of New York hardcore established in the ’80s by bands like the Cro-Mags and Nuclear Assault, but openly embraced influences ranging from Brazilian thrashers Sepultura, Bay Area metal icons Exodus and fellow Texas crossover outfit Dirty Rotten Imbeciles. Building a local following with frequent unhinged performances at house parties and Dallas area clubs, the band released its debut recording Armageddon Blues in 2009 through Philly-based punk label Double Or Nothing Records.
The band would take a number of years before releasing it’s proper first full-length record via noted metal imprint Southern Lord, but the songs on 2013’s Manifest Decimation revealed a far more refined take on musical brutality honed by Power Trip’s dogged touring regimen. The band got some of it’s biggest exposure yet on a tour supporting more traditional thrash acts Anthrax and Lamb of God alongside SF post-metal crew Deafheaven.
The group’s latest effort for Southern Lord Nightmare Logic ups the ante once again with some of the most pulverizing, mosh-pit inducing anthems in recent memory over the course of 33 incendiary minutes. Songs like “Crucifixation,” the title track and “Executioner’s Tax (Swing the Ax)” take square lyrical aim at both the wealthy conservatives in power and religious fundamentalists of all stripes. Rising Arizona-based death metallers Gatecreeper kick off this potent three band onslaught.
Cannibal Corpse with Power Trip
Tuesday-Wednesday, Nov. 14-15, 8 p.m. $26