Cannibal Corpse

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Cannibal Corpse
Cannibal Corpse performing at 9:30 Club in Washington, DC, 2007. Left to right: Rob Barrett, Alex Webster, Paul Mazurkiewicz, George Fisher and Pat O'Brien
Background information
Origin Buffalo, New York, U.S.
Genres Death metal
Years active1988–present
Labels Metal Blade
Associated acts
Members Alex Webster
Paul Mazurkiewicz
George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher
Pat O'Brien
Rob Barrett
Past members Chris Barnes
Jack Owen
Bob Rusay

Cannibal Corpse is a death metal band from Buffalo, New York, now based in Tampa, Florida. Formed in December 1988, the band has released fourteen studio albums, two box sets, four video albums, and two live albums. The band has had little radio or television exposure throughout its career, although a cult following began to build after the release of the 1991 album Butchered at Birth and 1992 album Tomb of the Mutilated . As of 2015, they achieved worldwide sales of two million units for combined sales of all their albums, [1] making them the top-selling death metal band of all time. [2]

Death metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal music. It typically employs heavily distorted and low-tuned guitars, played with techniques such as palm muting and tremolo picking, deep growling vocals, aggressive, powerful drumming featuring double kick and blast beat techniques, minor keys or atonality, abrupt tempo, key, and time signature changes, and chromatic chord progressions. The lyrical themes of death metal may invoke slasher film-stylized violence, religion, occultism, Lovecraftian horror, nature, mysticism, mythology, philosophy, science fiction, and politics, and they may describe extreme acts, including mutilation, dissection, torture, rape, cannibalism, and necrophilia.

Buffalo, New York City in Western New York

Buffalo is the second largest city in the U.S. state of New York and the largest city in Western New York. As of 2018, the population was 256,304. The city is the county seat of Erie County and a major gateway for commerce and travel across the Canada–United States border, forming part of the bi-national Buffalo Niagara Region.

Tampa, Florida City in Central Florida, United States

Tampa is a major city in, and the county seat of, Hillsborough County, Florida, United States. It is on the west coast of Florida on Tampa Bay, near the Gulf of Mexico, and is the largest city in the Tampa Bay Area. The bay's port is the largest in the state, near downtown's Channel District. Bayshore Boulevard runs along the bay, and is east of the historic Hyde Park neighborhood.


Bassist Alex Webster came up with the name Cannibal Corpse. They have had several lineup changes since their inception, with Webster and drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz as the only constant members. The members of Cannibal Corpse were originally inspired by thrash metal bands like Slayer and Kreator and other death metal bands such as Morbid Angel and Death. [3] The band's album art (most often by Vincent Locke) and lyrics, drawing heavily on horror fiction and horror films, are highly controversial. At different times, several countries, such as Germany and Russia, have banned Cannibal Corpse from performing within their borders, or have banned the sale and display of original Cannibal Corpse album covers.

Alex Webster American musician

Alex Webster is an American bass player, who is best known as a member of the death metal band Cannibal Corpse. He is one of two current members who were of the original lineup of the band, the other being drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz. He is also the bassist for the band Blotted Science and the supergroup Conquering Dystopia, and before Cannibal Corpse was formed he was part of Beyond Death.

Paul Mazurkiewicz American musician

Paul Mazurkiewicz is an American drummer best known as a member for death metal band Cannibal Corpse. Mazurkiewicz was originally the drummer for the band, Tirant Sin, alongside two other future Cannibal Corpse members Chris Barnes and Bob Rusay. The trio joined Alex Webster and Jack Owen in 1988, forming Cannibal Corpse. Besides drumming, he also plays the guitar, and is the group's primary lyricist and contributes heavily to composing songs; he penned the songs "Dead Human Collection", "Frantic Disembowelment", "Monolith", "Carrion Sculpted Entity", and "Worm Infested". Mazurkiewicz, alongside with Webster, is one of the remaining members of the band since its inception.

Thrash metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal music characterized by its overall aggression and often fast tempo. The songs usually use fast percussive beats and low-register guitar riffs, overlaid with shredding-style lead guitar work. The lyrical subject matter often deals with criticisms of The Establishment, and at times shares a disdain for Christian dogma resembling that of their black metal counterparts. The language is typically quite direct and denunciatory, an approach borrowed from hardcore punk.


Members from earlier Buffalo-area death metal bands Beyond Death (Alex Webster, Jack Owen), Tirant Sin (Paul Mazurkiewicz, Chris Barnes, Bob Rusay), and Leviathan (Barnes) established the band in December 1988. The band played its first show at Buffalo's River Rock Cafe in March 1989, shortly after recording a five-song demo tape, Cannibal Corpse . Within a year of the first gig, the band was signed to Metal Blade Records, apparently after the label had heard the demo tape that the manager of the record store at which Barnes was working sent in. [4] Their full-length debut album, Eaten Back to Life , was released in August 1990.

<i>Cannibal Corpse</i> (album) 1989 demo album by Cannibal Corpse

Cannibal Corpse is the debut demo by American death metal band Cannibal Corpse. The demo is the predecessor to Cannibal Corpse's debut full-length album Eaten Back to Life and all the songs were re-recorded for that album. Although the correct title of the demo is simply "Cannibal Corpse", the demo is commonly referred to as "A Skull Full of Maggots" or simply "The Demo" among Cannibal Corpse collectors and fans.

Metal Blade Records record label

Metal Blade Records is a heavy metal independent record label founded by Brian Slagel in 1982. The U.S. office for Metal Blade is located in Agoura Hills, California. It also has offices in Germany, Japan, Canada, and the UK. The label is distributed in the U.S. by RED Distribution, and in Canada by Sony Music Entertainment. It was distributed by Warner Bros. Records in the United States from 1988 to 1993.

<i>Eaten Back to Life</i> 1990 studio album by Cannibal Corpse

Eaten Back to Life is the debut studio album by American death metal band Cannibal Corpse. It was released on August 17, 1990, through Metal Blade Records. The album was banned in Germany—censored versions of the album were not available, but the ban was revoked in June 2006—and other countries because of the violent cover and the extreme nature of the lyrics. Glen Benton of Deicide and Francis H. Howard of Opprobrium perform back-up vocals on "Mangled" and "A Skull Full of Maggots".

The band has had several lineup changes. In 1993, founding member and lead guitarist Bob Rusay was dismissed from the group (after which he became a golf instructor) and was ultimately replaced by Malevolent Creation guitarist Rob Barrett. [5] In 1995, during recording sessions for a new album, singer Chris Barnes was dismissed because of personal differences with the rest of the band [6] and was replaced by Monstrosity singer George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher. Barnes went on to perform with the band Six Feet Under and, later, Torture Killer.

Malevolent Creation is an American death metal band formed in Buffalo, New York in 1987. The band’s original members were vocalist Brett Hoffmann, guitarists Phil Fasciana and Jeff Juskiewicz, bassist Jason Blachowicz, and drummer Mark Simpson. Phil Fasciana was the only founding member who stayed with the band consistently.

Rob Barrett American musician

Rob Barrett III is the rhythm guitarist for the death metal band Cannibal Corpse. He played with the band from 1993 to 1997 and rejoined in 2005. He has cited Gary Moore, Malcolm Young, Randy Rhoads, Eddie Van Halen, Tony Iommi and Steve Vai, among others, as his influences. He currently resides in Tampa, Florida.

Chris Barnes (musician) American singer

Chris Barnes is an American musician mainly noted for his deep-throat vocals and explicitly violent lyrics. He was the founding vocalist and lyricist of the death metal band Cannibal Corpse, later working as part of Six Feet Under, and has appeared on the Finnish death metal band Torture Killer's second album Swarm!. Barnes designed the original Cannibal Corpse logo, the Six Feet Under logo and also created the artwork for Warpath, released in 1997.

In 1997, Barrett, who had replaced Rusay on lead guitar, left Cannibal Corpse to rejoin his previous bands Malevolent Creation and Solstice. Pat O'Brien, who first appeared on Cannibal Corpse's 1998 release Gallery of Suicide , replaced Barrett. Founding member and rhythm guitarist Jack Owen left Cannibal Corpse in 2004 to spend more time on his second band, Adrift. He joined Deicide in late 2004. Jeremy Turner of Origin briefly replaced him as rhythm guitarist on 2004's Tour of The Wretched Spawn . Barrett rejoined the band in 2005, this time as rhythm guitarist.

<i>Gallery of Suicide</i> 1998 studio album by Cannibal Corpse

Gallery of Suicide is the sixth studio album by American death metal band Cannibal Corpse. It was released in 1998 through Metal Blade Records. It is also the first Cannibal Corpse album to feature former Nevermore guitarist Pat O'Brien.

Jack Owen American musician

Jack Owen is an American musician, best known as a renowned guitarist in the death metal genre. He is currently the guitarist for death metal band Six Feet Under. He was one of the founding members of Cannibal Corpse. He stayed with the band from their formation in 1988 until 2004 when he left because he wanted to move on, as stated in the Centuries of Torment DVD. Later that year though, he was hired by Deicide—another influential and long-running Florida death metal band—with whom he recorded four albums. He left the band in 2016.

Adrift is a Tampa, Florida-based American heavy rock band featuring Jack Owen, former guitarist for Deicide and Cannibal Corpse, on guitar. Other members include Kevin Astl on drums, Jen Parker (Animosity) on bass, and vocalist Dean Pskowski (Synapse).

Writing for the follow-up to Kill (2006) began in November 2007, as indicated in an interview with bassist Alex Webster. [7] Evisceration Plague , Cannibal Corpse's eleventh studio album was released February 3, 2009, [8] to a highly positive response from fans. They also released a live DVD in 2011 entitled Global Evisceration. Cannibal Corpse released its twelfth studio album, Torture , in March 2012. [9]

<i>Kill</i> (Cannibal Corpse album) 2006 studio album by Cannibal Corpse

Kill is the tenth studio album by American death metal band Cannibal Corpse, released on March 21, 2006. This release marks the return of guitarist Rob Barrett, who had previously played on The Bleeding and Vile. The European version of the album comes with a live DVD filmed in Strasbourg in 2004 called Hammer Smashed Laiterie. The album was produced at Mana Recording Studios by Hate Eternal guitarist Erik Rutan.

<i>Evisceration Plague</i> 2009 studio album by Cannibal Corpse

Evisceration Plague is the eleventh studio album by American death metal band Cannibal Corpse. The album was produced at Mana Recording Studios by Hate Eternal guitarist Erik Rutan.

<i>Torture</i> (album) 2012 studio album by Cannibal Corpse

Torture is the twelfth studio album by American death metal band Cannibal Corpse. The album was produced at Sonic Ranch Studios by Hate Eternal guitarist Erik Rutan.

In February 2014, Cannibal Corpse announced that they had begun recording their thirteenth album, A Skeletal Domain , which was released on September 16. "Sadistic Embodiment" was released as a single in July, and all of the names of the songs on the forthcoming album were announced the same day. [10] The same month, Metal Blade announced the publication of the band's authorized biography Bible Of Butchery, written by the British author Joel McIver. [11]

In an August 2016 interview, drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz stated that Cannibal Corpse would likely begin recording a new album in 2017. [12] In September 2017, the band announced their fourteenth studio album Red Before Black , which was released on November 3. [13]

On December 10, 2018, lead guitarist Pat O'Brien was arrested for assault and battery; his bail was set at $50,000. [14] On the eve of the news of his arrest, Cannibal Corpse was announced as one of the supporting acts for Slayer's final North American tour, which will take place in the spring of 2019 and also be supported by Lamb of God and Amon Amarth. [15] On January 18, 2019, Cannibal Corpse announced that Hate Eternal frontman and former Morbid Angel guitarist Erik Rutan would fill-in for O'Brien on their future tours. [16]

Controversy and publicity

United States

In May 1995, then-US Senator Bob Dole accused Cannibal Corpse—along with hip hop acts including the Geto Boys and 2 Live Crew—of undermining the national character of the United States. [17] A year later, the band came under fire again, this time as part of a campaign by conservative activist William Bennett, Senator Joe Lieberman, then-Senator Sam Nunn, and National Congress of Black Women chair C. Delores Tucker to get major record labels—including Time Warner, Sony, Thorn-EMI, PolyGram and Bertelsmann—to "dump 20 recording groups...responsible for the most offensive lyrics". [18]

Cannibal Corpse also had a brief cameo appearance in the 1994 Jim Carrey film Ace Ventura: Pet Detective , performing an abridged version of their song "Hammer Smashed Face".


As of October 23, 1996, the sale of any Cannibal Corpse audio recording then available was banned in Australia and all copies of such had been removed from music shops. [19] At the time, the Australian Recording Industry Association and the Australian Music Retailers Association were implementing a system for identifying potentially offensive records, known as the "labelling code of practice." [20] [21]

All ten of Cannibal Corpse's albums, the live album Live Cannibalism , the boxed set 15 Year Killing Spree , the EP Worm Infested , and the single "Hammer Smashed Face" were re-released in Australia between 2006 and 2007, finally classified by ARIA and allowed for sale in Australia. However, they are all "restricted" and only sold to those over 18 years of age. Some are sold in "censored" and "uncensored" editions, which denotes the change of cover art. [22] Despite this, when displayed in some stores, even the "uncensored" editions are censored manually.

After discussion of banning them from touring, Australian comedy act The Chaser did a lounge music version of their song "Rancid Amputation" on their show The Chaser's War on Everything , claiming that the music, and not the lyrics, was the problem, by performing a lounge music version. [23]


All Cannibal Corpse albums up to and including Tomb of the Mutilated were banned upon release from being sold or displayed in Germany due to their graphic cover art and disturbing lyrics; the band was also forbidden to play any songs from those albums while touring in Germany. [24] This prohibition was not lifted until June 2006. [24] In a 2004 interview, George Fisher attempted to recall what originally provoked the ban:

"A woman saw someone wearing one of our shirts, I think she is a schoolteacher, and she just caused this big stink about it. So [now] we can't play anything from the first three records. And it really sucks because kids come up and they want us to play all the old songs — and we would — but they know the deal. We can't play 'Born in a Casket' but can play 'Dismembered and Molested'." [25]


Six of the eight planned shows from the band's 2014 Russian tour were canceled after protests from local Orthodox activists. A month before the tour, religious activist Dimitry Tsorionov said Cannibal Corpse's music was punishable under the Russian law because it "incites religious division." He commented unfavorably on the lyrics, saying they promoted "death, violence, as well as various kinds of sexual perversion." [26] The gig in Nizhny Novgorod was stopped halfway through the set, after police conducted a search for drugs at the venue. [27] The concert in Saint Petersburg was canceled at the last minute because of unspecified "technical reasons." Fans began rioting, and eighteen of them were arrested. [28] Band members stated that Russian authorities threatened to detain them if the band performed because they did not have the correct visas. [27]

Responses to critics

Cannibal Corpse at a concert in Innsbruck, February 9, 2009. CannibalCorpse@Innsbruck2009.jpg
Cannibal Corpse at a concert in Innsbruck, February 9, 2009.

Cannibal Corpse's lyrics and album/T-shirt artwork frequently feature transgressive and macabre imagery, including depictions of extreme violence and gore; the band has always defended this as artistic expression that is clearly fictional. In an interview for the documentary Metal: A Headbanger's Journey , George Fisher expresses the opinion that death metal is best understood "as art," and claims that far more violent art can be found at the Vatican, pointing out that such depictions are arguably more transgressive because they actually happened. [29] Some examples of Cannibal Corpse's most controversial song titles include "I Cum Blood," "Meat Hook Sodomy," "Entrails Ripped from a Virgin's Cunt," "Necropedophile," "Stripped, Raped, and Strangled," and "Fucked with a Knife." [30]

On the same topic, George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher once said in an interview:

"We don't sing about politics. We don't sing about religion...All our songs are short stories that, if anyone would so choose they could convert it into a horror movie. Really, that's all it is. We like gruesome, scary movies, and we want the lyrics to be like that. Yeah, it's about killing people, but it's not promoting it at all. Basically these are fictional stories, and that's it. And anyone who gets upset about it is ridiculous." [31]

In response to accusations that his band's lyrics desensitize people to violence, Alex Webster argued death metal fans enjoy the music only because they know the violence depicted in its lyrics is not real:

"I think people probably aren't that desensitized to it, you know including myself, like you know, we sing about all this stuff and you watch a movie where you know it's not real and it's no big deal, but if you really saw someone get their brains bashed in right in front of you, I think it would have a pretty dramatic impact on any human being you know what I mean? Or some terrible, gross act of violence or whatever done right in front of you, I mean you'd react to it, no matter how many movies you've watched or how much gore metal you've listened to or whatever, I'm sure it's a completely different thing when it's right in front of you. 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." [32]

He also believes the violent lyrics can have positive value: "It's good to have anger music as a release." [33] George Fisher explained the content of their songs: "There's nothing ever serious. We're not thinking of anybody in particular that we're trying to kill, or harm or anything." [34]

Band members

Current members

Former members

Touring members

Recording Timeline

Eaten Back to Life
Butchered at Birth
Tomb of the Mutilated
The Bleeding
Gallery of Suicide
Gore Obsessed
The Wretched Spawn
Evisceration Plague
A Skeletal Domain
Red Before Black
Vocals Chris Barnes Corpsegrinder
Lead guitar Bob Rusay Rob Barrett Pat O'Brien
Rhythm guitar Jack Owen Rob Barrett
Bass Alex Webster
Drums Paul Mazurkiewicz


Cannibal Corpse


Studio albums

See also

Related Research Articles

<i>Butchered at Birth</i> 1991 studio album by Cannibal Corpse

Butchered at Birth is the second studio album by American death metal band Cannibal Corpse. It was released in 1991 through Metal Blade Records. Even though the album was banned, it was not given a censored re-release or new artwork.

<i>The Wretched Spawn</i> 2004 studio album by Cannibal Corpse

The Wretched Spawn is the ninth studio album by American death metal band Cannibal Corpse. The cover art is by Vincent Locke. This is the last studio album to feature Jack Owen, one of the band's founding members, and up to 2012's Torture, the last with an album cover depicting violence and gore. The album was distributed with a making-of DVD produced by Nick Sahakian. The Wretched Spawn is Cannibal Corpse's fourth album to be named after one of the tracks on the album, after Butchered at Birth, The Bleeding and Gallery of Suicide.

<i>Tomb of the Mutilated</i> 1992 studio album by Cannibal Corpse

Tomb of the Mutilated is the third studio album by American death metal band Cannibal Corpse. It was released in 1992 through Metal Blade Records and is the last album recorded with the band's original lineup, as founding guitarist Bob Rusay was fired after the album's release. The album was banned in Germany, due to the violent cover and the extreme nature of the lyrics.

<i>The Bleeding</i> (album) 1994 studio album by Cannibal Corpse

The Bleeding is the fourth studio album by American death metal band Cannibal Corpse, released in 1994 through Metal Blade Records. It is the last album featuring singer and founding member Chris Barnes and is the first album featuring guitarist Rob Barrett. According to Soundscan numbers, The Bleeding is the fifth top-selling death metal LP in the United States, amassing over 98,300 copies sold. The Bleeding is also Cannibal Corpse's most successful album to date.

<i>Vile</i> (album) 1996 studio album by Cannibal Corpse

Vile is the fifth studio album by American death metal band Cannibal Corpse. It was released in 1996 through Metal Blade Records. It was originally titled Created to Kill and had partially been completed with Chris Barnes on vocals. Before the album was released, Barnes was dismissed from the band, which then brought in Monstrosity vocalist George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher to finish the album's vocal work. Fisher re-recorded Barnes's vocal tracks and the band released the album under the new title Vile. Vile also marks the last album featuring guitarist Rob Barrett until Kill, and features a brand new band logo, because the previous logo had been drawn by the departing Chris Barnes. During the Vile sessions, "The Undead Will Feast" from Eaten Back to Life was re-recorded with Fisher on vocals. This version of the song would first appear as the only bonus track on a Japanese import edition of Vile and then on the Worm Infested EP in 2003.

<i>Bloodthirst</i> 1999 studio album by Cannibal Corpse

Bloodthirst is the seventh studio album by American death metal band Cannibal Corpse. It was released in 1999 through Metal Blade Records.

<i>Live Cannibalism</i> 2000 live album & video by Cannibal Corpse

Live Cannibalism is a live album by American death metal band Cannibal Corpse, released in 2000 through Metal Blade Records. It was also released as a DVD.

<i>Gore Obsessed</i> 2002 studio album by Cannibal Corpse

Gore Obsessed is the eighth studio album by American death metal band Cannibal Corpse released in 2002 through Metal Blade Records.

Cannibal Corpse discography

Cannibal Corpse is a five-piece American death metal band formed in 1988 in Buffalo, New York. In 1989, they recorded a self-titled demo, and with the good repercussion drew the attention of Metal Blade Records, with whom they signed a contract to record their debut album Eaten Back to Life, that was released in 1990. Followed by two studio albums, 1991's Butchered at Birth, and 1992's Tomb of the Mutilated. In 1993, lead guitarist Bob Rusay was fired, and was replaced by Rob Barrett, who joined the group in time to appear with the band in Jim Carrey's film Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.

Pat OBrien (guitarist) American musician

Pat O'Brien is the lead guitarist for the death metal band Cannibal Corpse, as well as a former member for the heavy metal band Nevermore, and a former touring musician with the thrash metal band Slayer.

<i>Centuries of Torment: The First 20 Years</i> 2008 video by Cannibal Corpse

Centuries of Torment: The First 20 Years is a three-disc documentary DVD by Cannibal Corpse, released in 2008. It contains a three-hour documentary on the history of the band and several concert performances as extra features. It was released on July 8 in USA and July 14 in Europe. This DVD has also been certified platinum in Canada.

<i>Global Evisceration</i> 2011 video by Cannibal Corpse

Global Evisceration is a live video album by the American death metal band Cannibal Corpse, released in 2011.

<i>A Skeletal Domain</i> 2014 studio album by Cannibal Corpse

A Skeletal Domain is the thirteenth studio album by American death metal band Cannibal Corpse. The album was produced at Audiohammer Studios by Mark Lewis.

Serpentine Dominion

Serpentine Dominion is an American death metal supergroup consisting of Killswitch Engage guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz, Cannibal Corpse vocalist George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher and former The Black Dahlia Murder drummer Shannon Lucas. They released their debut album on October 28, 2016.

<i>Red Before Black</i> 2017 studio album by Cannibal Corpse

Red Before Black is the fourteenth studio album by American death metal band Cannibal Corpse. It was released on November 3, 2017.


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