Gallery Of Suicide is a landmark album in the history of death metal. On one hand, it's the best album Cannibal Corpse have produced in a long, illustrious history filled with brutal achievement. But it's more than that: Gallery Of Suicide offers proof to the world that a death metal band need not slow down or lighten up in order to progress.
Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge fan of albums like "Swansong" and "Wolverine Blues", but I'd hate to see the death metal scene as a whole collapse back into 80s thrash, and as long as there are bands like Cannibal Corpse around to wave the flag for the battle-worn genre, I get to keep my hopes up. Over the course of 14 songs and 44 minutes, Cannibal Corpse build an epic scale monument to aggression. I can just imagine Gallery Of Suicide making many of today's second tier bands go back to the drawing boards in shame, determined to put forth their heaviest album yet next time around.
The entire album is one long highlight, but songs that I particularly liked were the title track and "From Skin To Liquid", a monstrous instrumental that adds some stellar shredding over top a slow, foreboding back beat, creating the kind of horror movie menace that hasn't been equaled since Godflesh's "Streetcleaner". The clean vocals heard on "The Bleeding" are gone this time, as George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher again sounds as if he's being choked with a flaming shish-kabob. It's obvious he's not singing about the national deficit. In fact, on "Disposal Of The Body" he takes time out from his free-form carnal musings to offer us useful advice on how to get rid of that pesky corpse you've been hiding in the garage freezer. Those who claim there is no social value in these types of lyrics obviously have never worked off a year's worth of stress in five minutes worth of moshing. Cannibal Corpse fans are some of the most mellow people I know. Is gore metal the hippie music of the 90s? Me thinks not.
With George Fisher completely integrated into the lineup and each of the band members honing their chops with each album release, it's clear Cannibal Corpse are on the upswing of a new era in technical brutality. Nothing about Gallery Of Suicide smells like a compromise, including the cover art by old favorite Vincent Locke (who really should be doing his own comics by now), which depicts a variety of suicide victims whose only resemblance to each other is their questionable state of health. Somehow I don't think Camelot will be putting up posters anytime soon...