With it being Halloween season we thought now would be the perfect time to revisit the catalog of one of death metal’s greatest and most horrifying bands: Cannibal Corpse.
Having formed in Buffalo, New York back in 1988, Cannibal Corpse came out the gate with horror-inspired songs, unleashing nerve-racking tracks like “Shredded Humans” and “The Undead Will Feast.” The band has kept their horror streak going strong for 35 years, delivering a tremendous abundance of terrifying and chilling songs.
Today, we take a look at the 10 greatest Cannibal Corpse songs of all time – tracks that not only capture the band’s horrifying appeal but also display the creative and technical brilliance of their craft.
“Hammer Smashed Face” – Tomb Of The Mutilated
Of course, we have to start with the classic that helped launch Cannibal Corpse into the metal limelight. Thanks to the band and this song making a cameo in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Cannibal Corpse would soon become a household staple for death metal heads. Released on the band’s 1992 album Tomb Of The Mutilated, and featuring an utterly savage-sounding instrumental presentation, “Hammer Smashed Face” remains one of Cannibal Corpse’s most iconic songs to date.
“I Cum Blood” – Tomb Of The Mutilated
Another iconic song in Cannibal Corpse’s catalog is also from Tomb Of The Mutilated: “I Cum Blood.” While many Cannibal Corpse songs feature an array of graphic and disturbing imagery, “I Cum Blood” takes the cake for one of the vilest songs the band has ever crafted.
“The Bleeding” – The Bleeding
There’s an awesome duality to “The Bleeding” – it exudes a tremendous weight of metallic crunch, but also provides a riveting sense of groove throughout. “The Bleeding” makes for an early example showcasing Cannibal Corpse’s incredible talent for creating a “catchy” sense of appeal in their brand of death metal; the lyrics may be shocking and repulsive, but the band knows how to craft electrifying and engaging instrumentation.
“Sentenced to Burn” – Gallery of Suicide
Similar to “The Bleeding” but with a slightly different sonic spin, “Sentence to Burn” doubles down on metallic crunch to create a pulse-pounding rush of riffs. Appearing on the band’s 1998 album Gallery of Suicide, this is the second Cannibal Corpse album that the band’s new (and current) vocalist George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher contributed to. While former vocalist Chris Barnes has his own unique qualities as a singer, Fisher brought a whole new level of brutality to the band’s music, and on songs like “Sentenced to Burn,” you can hear how his demonic gutturals fuel the atmospheric intensity of the song.
“Festering in the Crypt” – The Wretched Spawn
While it’s always awesome to hear Cannibal Corpse unleash speedy death metal bangers, it’s a great delight when they make a slow burner. These slower songs offer a different shade of horror from the band, one that’s equally as disturbing as their faster cuts but utilizes pacing to effective degrees to instill greater anxiety within listeners. Take “Festering in the Crypt”: While it does eventually shift into a speedier direction, the instrumental pacing serves to create an overwhelming air of unease, the audience stuck listening to the swelling tension.
“Death Walking Terror” – Kill
“Death Walking Terror,” and the band’s album Kill for that matter, mark a noticeable shift in Cannibal Corpse’s production work – one that brings a more polished quality to their death metal sound. Whereas making something “polished” may have a more negative impact on conveying horror in some cases, for Cannibal Corpse, the elevated production actually serves to provide a breath of fresh air to the band’s material. Their past abrasive presentation sounds awesome without a doubt, but with this new take on production in songs like “Death Walking Terror,” the band’s haunting grooves, chilling melodies, and Fisher’s voice are all brought to a new level of captivating horror.
“Evisceration Plague” – Evisceration Plague
“Evisceration Plague” stands as a great testament to the band’s modern sound, making for a delightful fusion of the speedier and slow-burn qualities of Cannibal Corpse’s music. “Evisceration Plague” is one of the band’s most technically intriguing songs to date, featuring dynamic approaches in tone, pacing, atmosphere, and tempo.
“Scourge of Iron” – Torture
Coming out years later after the release of “Festering in the Crypt,” Cannibal Corpse released the utterly captivating “Scourge of Iron.” While Torture features a great array of amazing Cannibal Corpse songs, “Scourge of Iron” is the standout track of the album, proving to be one of the most compelling atmospheric cuts the band has ever made.
“Only One Will Die” – Red Before Black
Alongside these songs from Kill, Evisceration Plague, and Torture, another brilliant work of modern Cannibal Corpse comes in the form of “Only One Will Die,” from 2017’s Red Before Black. The band has released two other albums since Red Before Black, and while each of those records offers its own awesome tunes, “Only One Will Die” stands out to us as one of the most ferocious-sounding and stomach-turning cuts to come from modern Cannibal Corpse.