Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.
Introduction to the Band Cannibal Corpse, Album, and Musical Style
The Bleeding by American death metal band Cannibal Corpse is one of the best extreme metal releases not just of the 1990’s but American death metal in general. This is without a doubt the best album by this famous band and it is the last album to feature Chris Barnes as a member. This is the only album that I enjoyed listening to back in the day when this album became part of the mainstream which was around 1994 and 1995. Personally, I think that the band’s name is extreme and over the top but that’s the name that these guys chose. The album’s style is heavy, hard-hitting and extreme with a great usage of double bass drumming to create a VERY solid extreme metal album which even in 2020 sounds pretty awesome if you can handle the riffing and lyrical content. Sometimes, it would be hard for me to handle a musical work that is this intense. But “The Bleeding” is not an album short of talent that’s for sure! The title track in particular is memorable because of its main riff and melodies. It is possible that some fans of the genre may wonder about the purpose of the band naming the band with the title that they have come up with. Regardless of that, the album is filled with songs that stand out as solid even in 2020.
Some of you may ask why is there a review of an album that is now more than 25 years old and so controversial? The reasons… because this is a very good American death metal album and it shows that American musicians are or were capable at least back at this time to create music that was melodic and catchy.
Origin of the Band's Name and the Members' Influences
It was bassist Alex Webster that came up with the band’s name. The members of this band have had several influences ranging from Slayer, Kreator, Morbid Angel, and the band Death which is my favorite American death metal band of all time. As for the band’s cover artwork, the inspiration for these is based off of horror fiction and horror films. The lyrical content is, well without a doubt not for every music fan and it is pretty extreme hence that’s why this band would be classified as an extreme metal band. This album and the band in general has been under controversy for its lyrical content. We can address the specifics of that as well but first let us attempt to explain why 1994’s The Bleeding is the best album of Cannibal Corpse.
Reasons Why The Bleeding is the Best Album by Cannibal Corpse
Right from the first song, you can hear harmonies that really I have not heard much of from standard death metal bands. The technicality, the solid double bass drumming and Chris Barnes’ very good vocal growls make this album a classic of sorts. The bass lines are also some of the most audible that fans will hear from a death metal band, similar to American thrash metal band Solstice. The bottom line is that “The Bleeding” is the best album in the career of Cannibal Corpse because of the songwriting and the melodies. The melodic main riff of the first song is in one word...epic!
The First Two Songs Set the Tone for the Album But Especially the First Song
This first song that has a pretty graphic title has melodies that set the tone of this album which is the finest in the career of Cannibal Corpse. However, let me say ahead of time that this album is not for those that cannot handle VERY extreme heavy death metal from start to finish that has lyrical content as this one does. The double bass drumming reaches what may be considered the most extreme fast double bass drumming we would have heard at the time.
The Controversy Created by the Album's Release and Response
However, like we mentioned before, the album has not escaped controversy. For instance, in May 1996, C. Delores Tucker and William Bennet who is a co-director of Empower America made a passionate plea or call to record labels so that record labels would sever their ties to artists whose music has explicit, violent, or sexual lyrics. C. Delores Tucker who at that time was the chairwoman of the National Political Congress of Black Women released this statement: “"Music conglomerates [are] putting money before the overall welfare of our children and the community. These companies have the blood of our children on their hands,” (Phillips, 1996). I can understand that Tucker is concerned about the welfare of this country’s children but banning artists with extreme lyrics isn’t necessarily the answer to reducing violence or other social problems. Hillary Rosen who at the time was the president of the Recording Industry Association of America offered a counterargument saying: "Do these people seriously believe that music is the cause of this country's problems? Do they think banning these albums would suddenly make all the crime and corruption clear up?” (Phillips, 1996). George Fisher, the man that would replace Chris Barnes offered his perspective on the issue of the band’s lyrics. Fisher said in an interview that the band does not focus on singing about politics or religion, saying that the band’s songs are like short stories that people could convert into a horror movie. He also mentioned that the band’s approach is not a serious one and that any person that gets upset over this is ridiculous. I would also say that the band is not trying to promote violence at all but rather the music is created as a sort of joke or parody.
The bottom line is that music is a form of artistic expression and the band members in no way have any intention to promote acts that would harm anyone. Though I do think they could have come up with a far better band name.
"She Was Asking for It"
Thoughts About the Title Track The Bleeding
The title track of this album has one of the best beginning riffs of any death metal song and it may cause you to hit the back button and play it over and over. Once that part is done, there is a good catchy riff mixed in with the heavy and chunky guitar work. Chris Barnes lets out a short growl followed by his famous raspy sound. Near the end of the song is that other noticeable part that is great but that is not dual guitar sound. Whatever it is it works out very well.
"The Bleeding" Song Only
Speaking of music that works out very well, The Bleeding is an album that will stand as one of the very finest extreme metal albums of its kind as every song is at least good with very intricate, complex melodies. This was Chris Barnes’ best way to exit Cannibal Corpse!
Phillips, D. S. (1996, May 31). Rap foes put 20 artists on a hit list. Los Angeles Times.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2018 Ara Vahanian