Cannibal Corpse is a household name—it doesn’t matter where you’re from, or what you’re into, you’re likely familiar with the band. And if you’re a Metal fan, you’ve likely worshiped at the foot of their musical alter at some point in your life.
Cannibal Corpse has released 12 records with their 13th, on the way. Most remarkable about this feat is that even after 26 years and 12 albums of brutal aural assaults, Cannibal Corpse has been consistently heavy: not a one record has been watered down, not a one record saw the band filter their signature sonic splatter.
But the most astonishing is that the band’s new record A Skeletal Domain is even heavier.
“How is this possible?” you may ask. Well, I had the same question, and sat down with Cannibal Corpse rhythm guitarist Rob Barrett to learn more about the new record, and how the band achieved their heavier, darker sound.
I was able to listen to A Skeletal Domain: it’s incredible! How did you guys manage to get heavier? Did you set out to write darker music, or did it just happen naturally?
It just came out naturally—we didn’t make a conscious effort to try and make it sound darker; that’s just where we were at when we were writing—it was a natural thing.
I didn’t premeditate the parts I wrote to come out sounding darker—but I’m glad it did!
What do you most enjoy about the new record?
I am really happy with the over all production: the last three Cannibal Corpse records we did with Erik Rutan. We recorded A Skeletal Domain with Mark Lewis. We might work again with Erik in the future, but we chose to work with Mark this time around to change things up.
We do go to a different producer every three or four albums to get out of our comfort zone and to change it up so we don’t get stale. It was refreshing to get a different production sound.
Did working with Mark help bring out the darker sound; did he move you guys into that direction?
If anything, he brought that about when he was mixing, but I think it was the music itself that made the record sound darker!
But it could be a combination of both, really. We went into the studio with everything written, and we didn’t change anything except for a few parts here and there.
Did you use any new gear or set-ups during the recording or writing you haven’t used on previous Cannibal Corpse records?
We actually used the same triple rectifier that [we’ve used in the past]. [Cannibal Corpse lead guitar player] Pat [O’Brien] and I have a bunch different amps; we went in the studio with a bunch of different stuff, tried it all out, and singled it out to a couple of things we wanted to use.
For the last three records, we’ve used one of Pat’s Mesa Boogie Triple Rectifiers that always ends up winning the test. We use that for the main tracks.
We also used a Peavey 5150 EVH amp, which we never used before. We used that for the second guitars.
Do you use the same set ups for each record?
It’s been pretty consistent at least for the last four albums; we’ve been using pretty much the same stuff. But usually, technology will take control, and then all of a sudden, we end up using new stuff—like these Kemper profiling amp things everyone is using now a-days.
Mark Lewis was really used to using these Kempers in the studio, but we were doing everything in our power to not use these—we want to use a real amp, not an amp modulator. But that’s the way technology is going now a-days. I image 10 years from now, people are going to look at us funny when we go into the studio to record because we want to use these ancient tube amps!
Did you listen to any new music or Metal bands during the recording or writing process of A Skeletal Domain that inspired you guys to move into a darker direction?
No, actually, I was drawing my inspiration from old Slayer, Black Sabbath, and Judas Priest. I’m 44, and I like to listen to old Classic Metal—I don’t really listen to much new stuff like Alex [Webster], Pat, or George [Fisher]—they’re big into listening to newer stuff. I always go with the old classics, you know?
Classic Metal is my favorite music; it’s always gonna be. But when it comes to getting into writing mode, I don’t really listen to much of anything. I concentrate on what I’m trying to write and try to not be distracted by other stuff.
Cannibal Corpse is slated for a few big tours: what are you looking forward to most?
The day after tomorrow [Saturday, September 6th], we fly to Australia for some shows; from there we go to Japan for four shows. After that, we come home for a week, then go on to do eight shows in Russian and start a full European tour; we’ll be over there until early December.
We completed the Mayhem fest about two or three weeks ago, where we were only playing eight songs every day, so we’re going to follow-up that tour with a headliner or co-headliner tour in January or February in the States.
We’re most looking forward to getting back out there and playing some new material live!
A Skeletal Domain will be available via Metal Blade Records on September 16th; you can hear clips of the album here.
For more Cannibal Corpse updates, be sure to visit the Metal Blade Website here, the band’s Website, or Facebook.com/CannibalCorpse.