Cannibal Corpse's eighth album generally holds to established patterns. The band grinds out mechanistic riffs while George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher belches and grunts lyrics that the bassist and drummer handed him to "sing." This latest batch of songs isn't really any different from the last seven, but those with an ear toward picking out minuscule variations in the band's sound and making an argument for "evolution" will find a few small chunks of evidence. The disc's final track, "Grotesque," is nothing like the 1,000-mph rants that precede it. The song is slow, propelled by a groove-inflected riff reminiscent of late-period Killing Joke. The song's lyrics are also surprising, abandoning the band's usual outwardly directed rage for an investigation into the tormented mind of a maniac. "I want to escape," Fisher sings. "Stab myself, suicide wake me up, set me free."
Granted, it's not a huge leap forward, but it is a baby step in a promising direction, and that's to be applauded. Also noteworthy is the typically excellent cover art. (Look out, Wal-Mart shoppers!) Gore Obsessed won't win any new fans, but Cannibal Corpse devotees will be pleased.