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Cannibal Corpse: how one band took extreme metal to the mainstream

They took extreme metal mainstream decades before Kim Kardashian wore Morbid Angel shirts - and they’re still slaying. Cannibal Corpse explain why they’ll always be at the top of their game

“In the 80s, when we were all kids, zombies were underground! Horror movies were an underground thing. Now everybody loves zombies. Your grandmother loves zombies… so it’s no big deal anymore, and I guess it’s the same with music and the imagery we use. How can it ever have that initial shock value that it did when it was fresh? But then, we never did it to shock people anyway…”

Paul Mazurkiewicz and George ‘Corpsegrinder’ Fisher have been members of Cannibal Corpse for 29 and 22 years respectively. Two of the friendliest and most sweet-natured men the metal world has to offer, they are about to release one of the most insanely vicious and brutal albums of 2017 – their band’s 14th record, Red Before Black. Instantly recognisable as the work of the people that brought us Hammer Smashed Face and Make Them Suffer, it’s yet another strong effort from a band that have been relentless and unwavering during their three decades of active service. They are simply part of the heavy metal furniture: a steady force for extremity in a world that, conveniently, has become a lot more enthusiastic about horror stories in recent times. From The Walking Dead to the recent It remake, people all over the world are lapping up gore, so there could hardly be a better time for an album that features a song called Heads Shoveled Off. As Paul cheerfully tells Hammer, you can’t complain when the world comes round to your way of thinking.

“More people know what horror is about now, I guess,” he says. “It’s cool entertainment! That’s why we liked it when were kids. It’s just cool. So I look at death metal as kind of the same thing. Death metal isn’t changing; it’s blasting and brutal and Cannibal Corpse sounds like Cannibal Corpse, but maybe it’s not as underground as it was back in the day. It never used to be for mom and dad, it was just for us, just like horror movies, but things change and people get older and they stick with the things they love. After 30 years, we’re definitely accepted by more people.”


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