The list of good stuff with Cannibal in the name is pretty short. And deservedly so, because cannibals are dicks. Anyone who takes it as an invitation when you tell them “eat me” is far too dangerous to be out in normal society. Or at least they would have been whenever the last decade was that people actually said “eat me.” Eh, they’re probably still too dangerous to go mainstream. So for now we’ll have to take the precious few morsels of cannibal related pop culture we can find. Let’s see. There’s death metal band Cannibal Corpse, for whom their name might be the least scary part of the overall package (Just go read the song titles on Tomb of the Mutilated). There’s cult horror film Cannibal Holocaust, the film that was found footage before it was cool, and was banned because authorities thought it was an actual snuff film. And now we have Cannibal Crematorium, the latest album by Singapore death metal band Bone Gnawer, as another example to point to whenever someone asks “Cannibals, what are they good for?”
Cannibal Crematorium is thick on the atmosphere, opening up with a mix of samples of screaming, begging and the sound of chainsaws. This works perfectly to establish the overall mood of the album, with its gory lyrics, old-school horror vibe and straight-ahead approach to death metal carnage. However, straightforward isn’t always a bad thing and the chuggathon riffs mixed with frequent sound samples means the album has foreboding oozing out of its eye-sockets. It also helps that Bone Gnawer are accomplished at writing simple yet memorable riffs, and know how to occasionally interject some notier sections without compromising on the instant appeal. These sections help to break up the songs a little, giving them a more interesting flow and memorability than your standard death ‘n roll band. The overall effect is of a band who know exactly what they are doing. They want to make you curl up into the fetal position, and they have the skill to use any musical tool they please to accomplish the task. They just happen to have picked a rusty corkscrew, because that’s the best tool for what they want to accomplish. And as it turns out, the rusty corkscrew is bloody good at making you rock out. Which is handy, because it also sucks at opening wine bottles.
Cannibal Crematorium might not be the most complex death metal album, but Bone Gnawer have succeeded in writing an album that drips horror and is great fun. It’s not one for the music snobs, but anyone who enjoys the simple pleasures of well-written and produced death metal will have a good time with the cannibals. Modern Day Cannibal is embedded below and you can feast on the full album on Bone Gnawer’s Bandcamp.