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Album Review: "The Wretched Spawn" by Cannibal Corpse

Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.


The Last Album to Have Founding Member Jack Owen Playing Guitars

The Wretched Spawn is the 9th studio album by American death metal band Cannibal Corpse and it also marks the middle point of this band’s career. It follows up the release of 2002’s Gore Obsessed which as I have mentioned previously is a much underrated release for these guys from the Northeast United States. The Wretched Spawnis also the last album to feature Jack Owen contributing on guitars.

Technically, the members of Cannibal Corpse are not originally from Florida. They have just been living there for years and the band has become part of the Florida death metal scene which is still active in 2021 because even bands like Malevolent Creation, Obituary and Morbid Angel are still active as well.

Some Interesting Observations About The Wretched Spawn

This band sometimes has a tendency to start off albums with very short songs typically 2 minutes or less and that’s what happens to start this album as well with the first song as George Fisher presents his grunts and loud bellows. One good thing about this band is that at least the vocals are not of a high screeching variety. If you listen long enough, you may just understand the vocals well enough, but that understanding takes a good ear to spot and detect what is being uttered in the growls. At this point, Rob Barrett had not returned to the band yet and since he has returned, the band has been better in terms of the songwriting. That’s not to say that this 2004 album is bad. It is just that there is more of an emphasis on slower and darker moments even though the speed and brutality that has defined the band is still on this album.

"Decency Defied" Official Music Video

More About the Songs in The Wretched Spawn

“Psychotic Precision” features that feedback sound that you typically hear from the amplifier. This is the album that we get feedback from guitarist Jack Owen about the lyrical ideas for some of the songs. The title track has that 1994 sound like one of the songs off of Far Beyond Driven but it is obviously a death metal sounding song. “Festering in the Crypt” lyrically is about what happens after a human is dead. There are no more sounds you will hear and no noises you can make. Jack Owen also mentioned that if his own imagination does not kick in, he gets ideas about songs from other things. As we get to the middle of this album, what stands out to me is the fact that the emphasis on slower guitar parts is present on this album in addition to some exotic riff parts that we would not have heard in the early years of the career of Cannibal Corpse. After the slower song called “Nothing Left to Mutilate” the speed returns as we are introduced to the very fast song “Blunt Force Castration.” “Decency Defied” lyrically is influenced by Jack Owen saying that the song describes a friend of his that was having a nightmare about her tattoos being ripped off while she was still alive.

How Good Is This Album?

This 2004 album by Cannibal Corpse sees the band once again explore musically as not every Cannibal Corpse album is totally the same. Upon careful analysis, the song Nothing Left to Mutilate is actually a song about a woman’s scent driving a man crazy. There is also one vocal part in that song that is memorable as George utters the line “what is it that draws me nearer, what could it be?” You can also ask that question in regards to what motivates these guys to keep on releasing new material. You could say that it is their passion for the music that makes them want to keep on going. The Wretched Spawn may not be the best album in the career of Cannibal Corpse but it is certainly one with a decent amount of musical experimentation.

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© 2021 Ara Vahanian

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