Cannibal Corpse are one of the most brutal and controversial bands in all of modern music, hailing from New York in the late 80’s the band has slashed its way through the musical landscape for nearly 25 years now. Over the course of their career the band has released 11 studio albums, a boxset and has amassed a cult like following all the whilst maintaining their musical integrity and pushing their craft to the very limits both artistically and musically.
They have helped to define an entire genre of music as well as an entire generation of new bands and countless imitators. Without Cannibal Corpse the Death Metal sub genre would be virtually non-existent. On the eve of the release of their new album “Torture” we here at ThisIsNotAScene were able to grab a few words with Guitarist Rob Barrett to discuss the making of the new album, controversy and the upcoming Destroyers Of The Faith tour featuring them, Triptykon, Enslaved and Job For A Cowboy.
Its been three years since the release of Evisceration Plague. How would you say Cannibal Corpse has developed as a band in that time?
Rob: Well I think the chemistry of the band has developed no over the last two albums after I came back into the band in 2005. Its been 7 years now since we did ‘Kill’, during ‘Kill’ and ‘Evisceration Plague’ we were working on the chemistry of the 5 of us together and this is the third album with this line up now, so I think we have got to a point where the chemistry has developed to its best point, now we’re all writing songs to a point where we’re keeping each individual in mind, as opposed to before where perhaps we were writing whatever we wanted to play and weren’t really keeping into consideration what anyone else was going to play kinda thing.
So ‘Torture’ was more of a band effort then?
Rob: It was definitely more of a group effort.
Did you have any specific topics in mind when you wrote the album?
Rob: When we were thinking about potential album titles and ended up agreeing on the ‘Torture’ title that pretty much gave us a focus of what we were going to write all the lyrics about, each song deals with some sort of form of different torture, its just made sense to us, it was a cool topic and it fits into our style of writing so that’s how it came out.
It is distinctly Cannibal Corpse. When you hear the title and see the album artwork it screams Cannibal Corpse.
Rob: Yeah exactly, that’s our kind of thing and it just made sense and sounded cool to us.
After so long together as a band Is it easier to write new material or do you find it harder now to write new music?
Rob: Its actually better and easier than it’s ever been really, like I was saying about the whole chemistry thing, now I think we’re all comfortable and we have a better understanding of what each individual’s strength’s and weaknesses are, which allows to write songs that we can all perform well, rather than have a lot of songs that were really difficult for one or two of us to play.
What is it that keeps you excited as a musician about writing music and moving forward?
Rob: It’s just like a blank piece of paper, you can write anything on there and that’s the exciting thing. Whatever catches your interest, anything that comes to mind that works within the confines of the band, that is the exciting thing, you can pretty much do whatever you want with music.
You guys have released a track from the album already called ‘Demented Aggression’ would you say that track is fairly indicative of the rest of the album or is that more of a stand alone track?
Rob: In my opinion, that one stands on its own amongst the other songs, that one is just pretty much just straight forward traditional style riffing, nothing too complicated. Its just a straight ahead fast song. There’s a lot of songs on here that you’ll be hearing that are have a lot more technical stuff going on that are more involved, what I like about ‘Demented Aggression’ is that it is very basic, I think its important for us to keep writing primitive style songs like that.
Where would you place ‘Torture’ amongst the rest of your back catalogue. Which one of your other albums would you compare it to if you had to make a comparison?
Rob: I’d say it definitely has some of the older style rawness about it, maybe like ‘Tomb of the Mutilated’ just the simple aggression, there’s also a lot more of the technical over the top stuff that was on ‘Kill’ and ‘Evisceration Plague’. We tried to get a couple of songs written in there that were back to the old style.
So ‘Torture’ is more of an old school Cannibal Corpse album then?
Rob: It is our newest stuff so it’s going to sound modern, but I think we threw in a lot of older style stuff to even it out a bit more.
Obviously Cannibal Corpse is no stranger to controversy and you have more than your fair share over the course of your career. Do you find that the longer you’ve gone on as a band that people have become more tolerant of you as a band.
Rob: Oh yeah of course. I think a lot of people get it now and know that we aren’t out to influence people to do what we’re talking about in our lyrics and we’re doing it out of pure entertainment purposes. There are always going to be detractors if you want to call them that and they will always have something negative to say about what we do, but we’re not really trying to cater to those people and we have a really good fanbase, and we want to keep our fans happy. The controversy thing was nothing we pre planned like ‘Hey we’re going to do this to offend these people’ we just do what we think is interesting.
Being in a Cannibal Corpse is a hardcore full time job, what things do you do in your spare time to stay sane?
Rob: We don’t have much down time honestly (laughs) December 2010 was our last tour for ‘Evisceration Plague’ and then we took a little break before heading back into playing 4 times a week and writing for this new record, so there aren’t too many breaks going on if you’re talking about touring and such, we’ve taken this last year to write the new album, but we’re constantly doing stuff.
You’re heading back over here in March for the Destroyers of the Faith tour with Tryptikon, Enslaved and Job For A Cowboy. How did you get involved in that tour?
Rob: That was something that was presented to us, someone came up with the idea of combining those bands, and we thought it was a good combination so we decided to do it.
Are you looking forward to heading back over to the UK for the tour?
Rob: Of course, its always great shows over there, we have a lot of fans in the UK, its always great to get out and tour everywhere.
What are your thoughts on the current death metal scene?
Rob: I don’t really know a lot about it, I can’t name a bunch of bands. I tend to listen to old school stuff myself, but it seems to be a pretty healthy scene and there’s a lot of bands playing interesting stuff.
If Cannibal Corpse ended tomorrow. How would you like the band to be remembered?
Rob: That we always upheld our integrity and that we gave our fans what they wanted to hear.
Do you have any closing statements for your fans out there?
Rob: Check out the new album ‘Torture’ and we hope to see you at show on tour soon.
The new Cannibal Corpse album “Torture” will be available in March on Metal Blade Records.
METAL HAMMER DESTROYERS OF THE FAITH TOUR 2011
Cannibal Corpse + Triptykon + Enslaved + Job For A Cowboy
7th March Bristol – O2 Academy
8th March Glasgow – O2 ABC
9th March Manchester – Academy
10th March London – HMV Forum
11th March Birmingham – HMV Institute