Brian Giffin of Australia’s Loud magazine recently conducted an interview with bassist Alex Webster of Florida death metal veterans CANNIBAL CORPSE. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
On CANNIBAL CORPSE‘s new album, “Torture”:
Webster: “I think when someone hears ‘Torture’, they can tell it’s a band that’s not just going through the motions. We’re really pushing to try and make a great record, and try and make it our best record. We’re not content to just live off our legacy. Which we could. I mean, we have a strong legacy from the ’90s that we could just kinda sit on, but we don’t. We have tried to avoid becoming complacent and just saying ‘Oh we could just make a record that’s just ok’, and still get by. We really try to make each record the best one. I’m not saying we always succeed, but we are trying to do that. We wanna keep pushing forward. We wouldn’t still do it if we didn’t want to make each record the best one we’ve ever done.”
On the criticism that George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher‘s vocals are mixed less prominently on “Torture” than in the past:
Webster: “I didn’t notice George being softer level-wise. The things I notice, of course, because I’m the bass player in the band, I’m quite happy with the bass tone and the level it’s at on this record. I think we all, each member, we tend to focus on our own little contribution a bit. So I did not notice George being a lot quieter than on the other albums. I must say that in general I am quite pleased with the production that Erik [Rutan] gave us this time. I think it all gelled really well.”
On the band’s focus on writing effective songs as opposed to showing off the blazing instrumental skills:
Webster: “We just wanna write heavy songs that you can rage to. Don’t get me wrong. We definitely love playing chop-heavy music, but we don’t feel we have to do that with every song. That isn’t what it’s about. For example, we have a song on ‘The Wretched Spawn’ that’s really hard to play — ‘Frantic Disembowelment’. Pat [O’Brien, guitar] wrote that song to sound heavy, and it just happens that it’s also very hard to play. It wasn’t written to be hard to play, it’s just a side effect of Pat‘s writing style that it is.”
On how CANNIBAL CORPSE‘s sound has evolved over the years:
Webster: “It’s still the same style. I think it’s a better delivery now because we’ve improved as musicians over the years. But the style isn’t that different. At the time, when we were starting, we were very influenced by the kind of thrash metal bands that were almost death metal, in addition to being inspired by original death metal bands like POSSESSED, DEATH, MORBID ANGEL and AUTOPSY. We were also inspired by thrash metal bands that were borderline death metal, like SADUS, KREATOR, DARK ANGEL, SODOM. Oh, and SLAYER! I should definitely mention SLAYER. I think you can still hear those initial influences and that movement of the band to create this death metal style that’s also influenced by the dark side of thrash. It’s just in our style. A song like ‘Demented Aggression’ or ‘Encased in Concrete’ or ‘Intestinal Crank’ off ‘Torture’, those songs can sit side by side with songs from ‘Eaten Back To Life’ or ‘Butchered At Birth’ and not sound out of place.”
On the newer death metal bands:
Webster: “The one good thing about the death metal scene is that it’s always been around. Since it started, it’s never stopped. There’s been bands consistently putting out records, and there’s been bands entering the scene. Right now, a band like HOUR OF PENANCE… they haven’t been around all that long, but they’re making a big impact and that’s an incredible, killer death metal band. So I think the scene still has a lot of strength and a lot of potential for growth even. To me, the most important thing is the music itself. If the music itself is still good, if there’s still good songs being written, memorable songs, really heavy songs, and songs that feature innovation while staying death metal… I think it’s OK to innovate, but stay death metal.”
“If you look at some of these bands like SPAWN OF POSSESSION, for example, they just put out a great record on the same day we put out ‘Torture’; that’s a death metal record, but it’s also very progressive. So I think that kind of death metal is helpful to the scene to move things forward a little bit. And then there’s also some bands that are doing a more straight-forward kind of death metal like EVOCATION from Sweden. I know they were around a long time ago, they’ve been back in action and they’re doing a very old-school, for want of a better term, Swedish death metal even though they’re active right now and doing new records. So there’s still a lot of activity and a lot of of strength on the death metal scene. It’s maybe not as easy to find in the midst of all the stuff that’s sort of death metal, you know like deathcore bands and that sort of thing. I think especially for a casual fan, for them to find an album that’s pure death metal it might be a little bit more difficult, but it’s totally still there. And all of the classic bands are still very active and have never stopped being active, like NILE, IMMOLATION, KRISIUN, SUFFOCATION — they [SUFFOCATION] had a lay-off for a few years there, but they’re still putting out records.”
Read the entire interview from Loud magazine.