David E. Gehlke of Blistering.com recently conducted an interview with bassist Alex Webster of Florida death metal veterans CANNIBAL CORPSE. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Blistering.com: Obviously, the big thing for 2012 is the new studio album [“Torture”]. I read a quote from you saying the quote was more varied, meaning some of the guys chipped in more than usual, so I’m curious to know who makes the final decision as to what songs make the album and what the sequencing is.
Webster: It’s very democratic. For the songwriting, the division was pretty even: I did five songs, Pat [O’Brien, guitar] turned in four, and Rob [Barrett, guitar] did three. I wrote lyrics for my five songs, Paul [Mazurkiewicz, drums] wrote lyrics for Pat‘s songs, plus one of Rob‘s, and Rob did lyrics for two of his. We wanted to make to make sure that having the different writers…we didn’t want to have five of my songs in a row. We spaced everything out. We tried to mix it up so that you’re getting each of the writer’s style that goes along. And I think me, Rob, and Pat, for each of the songs we did, we tried to make them different than the other one. If you have three different writers in the band, each of the writers is making an effort to make their songs its own character, you’ll end up with a really varied album. Not every song is fast. We have some slow songs, mid-tempo songs, and really fast songs…it will be an up and down thing. It’s all heavy, and all death metal, but there’s a lot of variety.
Blistering.com: You hit upon some really cool songs going the mid-tempo route on “Evisceration Plague” a few years ago. Is the new album picking up where you left off with the previous one?
Webster: The way I’ve been looking at it, my best description for this album is that it’s somewhere between “Kill” and “Evisceration Plague”. It sounds a little more raw and a little more old-school, but still has the precision and groove of “Evisceration Plague”, whereas “Kill” was a rawer and had more old-school aggression. It’s somewhere between those two.
Blistering.com: You’ve been releasing albums for 22 years now, so does worry ever set in about running out of things to say musically and lyrically?
Webster: So far, it hasn’t been a problem. Again, it helps having other guys in the band writing as well. For me, I never worry about running out of ideas with the music. Even though we’re working in the boundaries of pure death metal, there’s still a lot of room to be creative. Where it can be a little tricky is when writing lyrics. Every lyric we do, whether gory or not, we want to have some kind of horror topic. Fortunately, there are a lot of good horror topics where you can have fantasy horror about zombies, or something more real like serial killers, or supernatural or psychological horror. That is a little tricky…when you don’t want to go too far away from what you’ve done, you end up repeating yourself. We’re comfortable with repeating ourselves lyrically as long as the music is fresh, and I feel like we’ve been able to keep the music fresh.
Blistering.com: This is your third album working with Erik Rutan [HATE ETERNAL]. I would imagine the level of comfort between him and the band is pretty high at this point.
Webster: Erik is a great friend of ours and he’s a great producer. He’s the kind of guy that knows what death metal is supposed to be from his background in RIPPING CORPSE, MORBID ANGEL, and HATE ETERNAL. That is about as solid as a death metal resume as anyone can have, and he definitely recognizes the difference between something that’s brutal and kick-ass, and something that’s cheesy. We do write all the music before we come, but there are some small decisions to be made like adding guitar harmonies, where he’ll say something is corny, or a guitar solo, it’s good to have someone in there who understands our musically completely. And he’s really good at getting guitar and bass sounds… he’s really skillful and a metal expert. It’s a good combination.
Read the entire interview from Blistering.com.