Premier Gore merchants CANNIBAL CORPSE, since their debut 1990 album 'Eaten Back To Life', have stayed the course over an impressive stream of uncompromising albums. The band's album artwork has remained deliberately provocative with many releases being issued in tamer variants of the original shockers. Indeed, certain releases are completely banned in certain territories. By 2000 the band, based in Tampa, Florida, had shifted half a million records.
The band was conceived in Buffalo, New York during 1989 in the wake of the break down of two antecedent acts TIRANT SIN and BEYOND DEATH. Recording in Niagara Falls the band's eponymous five song demo, opening with 'A Skull Full Of Maggots', soon secured a recording contract with Metal Blade Records. The CANNIBAL CORPSE line up that debuted on the hard hitting Scott Burns produced 'Eaten Back To Life' comprised of vocalist Chris Barnes, dual guitarists Bob Rusay and Jack Owen, bassist Alex Webster and drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz. Two notable studio guests included DEICIDE's Glen Benton and OPPROBRIUM's Francis Howard on backing vocals for the songs 'Mangled' and 'A Skull Full Of Maggots'.
Scott Burns also manned the desk for 1991's 'Butchered At Birth', this outing finding Rusay ejected in favour of Rob Barrett, a veteran of DARK DECEPTION, SOLSTICE and MALEVOLENT CREATION. Once again Glen Benton figured as backing singer, making his presence felt on 'Vomit The Soul'. By this juncture the band's gore soaked imagery and uncompromising song titles was beginning to make sharp inroads into the mainstream media. The record sleeve, a dismembered female corpse presided over by a pair of zombies with baby corpses hanging in the background, saw 'Butchered At Birth' being totally banned from retail sale in Germany. In America many stores carried the album in a plain white sleeve.
'Tomb Of The Mutilated', delivered in 1992 and once more crafted by Scott Burns at Morrisound Studios, maintained the momentum. CANNIBAL CORPSE put in extensive road work in North America, Europe and even Russia. 'Tomb Of The Mutilated' provided no respite in either the ferocity of the band's music or the hideous nature of their album sleeves, this offering clad in artwork depicting two decomposing corpses engaged in oral sex.
A 1993 EP 'Hammer Smashed Face' would include a cover of POSSESSED's 'The Exorcist' and a surprise rendition of BLACK SABBATH's 'Zero The Hero', these both originally included as exclusive Japanese bonus tracks on 'Tomb Of The Mutilated'. European variants were boosted up to five songs with the inclusion of 'Meat Hook Sodomy' and 'Shredded Humans'. The track 'Hammer Smashed Face' had been thrust into the public limelight when comic actor Jim Carrey had insisted it be included in the soundtrack to his hit movie 'Ace Ventura - Pet Detective'.
'The Bleeding', laid down at Morrisound during late 1994, provided increased sales, tipping over 100,000 units in the USA alone. Global touring found the band adding both Australia, and South America to their familiar path of Europe and the USA. A three month stint in the USA that Summer had CYNIC acting as show openers. However, it was the last CANNIBAL CORPSE album to feature Chris Barnes, the vocalist opting out to concentrate on his side project act SIX FEET UNDER. Barnes would fuel this band into a highly successful venture in its own right. Barnes had defected during recording of the next studio record, at that stage going under a working title of 'Created To Kill'.
CANNIBAL CORPSE's 1996 line up for the re-titled 'Vile' album comprised of mainstay guitarists Jack Owen and Rob Barrett, bassist Alex Webster, drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz and ex-MONSTROSITY vocalist George 'Corpsegrinder' Fisher. Japanese copies would add 'The Undead Will Feast' and a video of 'Devoured By Vermin' to the running order. 'Vile' would give the band their only Billboard chart position to date, peaking at no. 151. More importantly 'Vile' would be credited as the first ever Death Metal record to break into Billboard. Touring for 'Vile' would be exhaustive and would see CANNIBAL CORPSE performing gigs for nearly a full year, including guest spots in the USA to both ANTHRAX and the MISFITS. Their own headlining round of US dates saw support from BRUTAL TRUTH, IMMOLATION and OPPRESSOR. Japanese touring that year saw DEFILED as opening act. The intensity of the band's live set during this period would be captured on the concert video 'Monolith Of Death'. Once again CANNIBAL CORPSE broke records as 'Monolith Of Death's sales made it the highest selling Death Metal video ever.
The band added former NEVERMORE guitarist Pat O'Brien for the 'Gallery Of Suicide' opus, these sessions in April of 1998 utilising a new producer in Jim Morris. Once more the Japanese edition boasted extra exclusive material in a cover of SACRIFICE's anthem 'Sacrifice'. Another change of producer to Colin Richardson did not sway the band away from their course for the follow up 'Bloodthirst', recorded at Village Studios in El Paso, Texas. This time the lucky Japanese were treated to a take on POSSESSED's 'Confessions' as their bonus incentive. The world campaign that followed comprised two North American treks and no less than three separate European tours. September 1998 gigs in Europe had INFERNAL MAJESTY and DARK FUNERAL as running mates. From February 2000 shows at the Rave in Milwaukee and the Emerson Theatre in Indianapolis CANNIBAL CORPSE's inaugural live album, 'Live Cannibalism', was culled, arriving in September. A full six tracks would be excised from the German edition as material from the band's first three albums was illegal in that territory.
Ex-member Barrett founded HATEPLOW with a moonlighting Phil Fasciana of MALEVOLENT CREATION to issue the 2000 album 'The Only Law Is Survival'. Guitarist Pat O'Brien announced his Death Metal 'Super' combo CEREMONY centred upon MORBID ANGEL vocalist / bassist Steve Tucker and DISASTRONAUT guitarist Greg Reed. Erstwhile EMPEROR drummer Trym was recruited into CEREMONY during 2002. Renowned Spanish Death Metal act AVULSED would honour CANNIBAL CORPSE committing a cover version of 'Edible Autopsy' to their March 2001 'Bloodcovered' mini album.
The group, enjoying somewhat of a renaissance with their recent 'Obsessed By Gore' album, would embark on a further round of American dates billed alongside INCANTATION, DARK FUNERAL and PISSING RAZORS, commencing on the 24th April in Los Angeles. 'Gore Obsessed', the eighth studio album, marked a slight shift in emphasis with the employment of Neil Kernon as producer. Initial variants of the record hosted a "secret" bonus track with a cover of METALLICA's 'No Remorse'. Japanese editions also hosted a live cut of 'Compelled To Lacerate'. European headliners would be scheduled commencing September 19th in Eindhoven, Holland with a month's worth of dates supported by DEW SCENTED and SEVERE TORTURE.
The band announced the release of a DVD version of 'Monolith Of Death' and a six track limited numbered release EP 'Worm Infested' for mid 2002 release, comprising three 'Obsessed By Gore' outtakes, a cover of ACCEPT's 'Demon’s Night' plus exclusive Japanese and European tracks. Further North American headline dates during the Autumn would be unveiled with CANNIBAL CORPSE, MACABRE and CATTLE DECAPITATION acting as back up. CANNIBAL CORPSE would be back on European soil in September for an extensive run of dates heading up a package bill comprising DEW SCENTED, SEVERE TORTURE and VIU DRAKH. The band returned to the road in the USA in November, allied with touring compatriots HATE ETERNAL, MACABRE and CATTLE DECAPITATION. Southern state gigs in December found MALEVOLENT CREATION as support. The band scheduled a headline run of dates throughout Europe in April of 2003. Guitarist Jack Owen united with the EPITAPH and
RESURRECTION credited drummer Kevin Astl and female second guitarist Analia Pizzaro in a brand new "Aggro Hard Rock" band project called ADRIFT in November.
The band, promoting a mammoth four disc career retrospective box set '15-Year Killing Spree' comprising three audio CDs and a DVD, put in a run of headline gigs commencing 12th February in Houston, Texas that had the band traversing North America in league with EXHUMED, HYPOCRISY and VILE. They then formed up part of the 2004 European heavyweight 'No Mercy' festivals commencing 29th March, sharing billing with SPAWN OF POSSESSION, HYPOCRISY, KATAKLYSM, CARPATHIAN FOREST, VOMITORY, PREJUDICE and EXHUMED. US shows in July and August found THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER and Polish act DECAPITATED as openers.
Also in 2004 CANNIBAL CORPSE would donate their rendition of 'Confessions' to the 'Seven Gates Of Horror' tribute album assembled by the Dutch Karmaggedon Media label in homage to pioneering Bay Area Thrash act POSSESSED. Just upfront of a US tour in July partnered with THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER and SEVERED SAVIOR Jack Owen quit the band in order to prioritise his ADRIFT venture. He closed his fifteen tenure with the explanation that his "heart just wasn't in it anymore". Rumours soon put ORIGIN's Jeremy Turner in the frame to fill the vacancy.