Daily Post Prompt: Edible
Cannibal Corpse is a death metal band that was formed in 1988, and has been prolific in releasing albums all the way up to the present. They have been the center of much controversy, with hits such as “Hammer Smashed Face”, “Evisceration Plague”, and “I Cum Blood”. Politician Bob Dole accused them of undermining the national character of the United States, and over the years they have been banned from selling their records in countries like Australia and Germany. You might remember them from a cameo appearance in the 1994 film Ace Ventura: Pet Detective where Jim Carrey dances through the crowd:
The song that I chose to highlight from this band in alignment with the prompt, “Edible”, is off their 1990 album, Eaten Back to Life. As the title says, the name of the song is “Edible Autopsy”, which might not sound very appetizing at the moment, but give me the chance to convince you otherwise.
The song starts with classic death metal thrash drums, as well as a guitar riff that is reminiscent of their more famous counterparts, Metallica. The funny part about it is that Metallica started as a thrash band (their first album was named Kill Em’ All) and slowly evolved into pop-metal over the years. There is no doubt that Cannibal Corpse stayed true to their roots, which is commendable, but it also meant that the general public would never truly appreciate them like they eventually did with Metallica (excuse me for my metal trivia tangents).
When listening to Cannibal Corpse for the first time, the face-melting instrumentals and screaming vocals can be a bit abrasive, but what is even more abrasive are the violent, descriptive lyrics. For example, the verse that starts and ends the song goes:
Lying dormant not dead
Hospital of immortality, butcher their patients bloody red
Taken to a dark room, fear of impending doom
The doctor straps you down, with an evil grin
Grabs his rusty blade, ripping through flesh and vein
He tortures his patients through evil means
The first thing that strikes me when reading and listening to death metal lyrics is the extent that the band is able to strike fear and horror in the listener, similar to how writers like Edgar Allan Poe and Stephen King strike fear into the reader with their short stories and books. The most interesting part about this phenomenon is that these authors rarely elicited controversy like Cannibal Corpse has, and I think it is mainly because politicians are using bands like Cannibal Corpse to criticize a certain party or platform, not understanding that death metal is only an extension of a tradition that started as far back as Ancient Greece. As long as violence has existed in society, there has to have been a way of expressing these feelings in a non-violent way. In an interview about the band’s desensitizing lyrics, bassist Alex Webster said:
Even though we’ve got crazy entertainment now, our social realities are actually a bit more civilized than they were back then, I mean we’re not hanging people or whipping them in the street and I think that’s positive improvement for any society in my opinion.
As I brought up earlier, I believe that Cannibal Corpse and death metal in general can be taken the wrong way, but at the end of the day, it is a good thing to have angry music as a release. Everyone has a different opinion on what art is, and I think that one day death metal will be recognized in the same light as the horror writers of the past are seen today. Thanks for reading, and as always, God Bless America.