One of the biggest challenges that inevitably comes up during these competitions is how to compare apples to oranges. Sometimes the impedence mismatch is huge, as when comparing a stoner metal album with a prog one, for example. But sometimes the disparity is subtle. Today's matchup offers a fun and interesting variant; how do you compare a band of pioneers at the vanguard of Floridian death metal, with a band whose origin was as a literal parody of them?
Inveterate veterans Cannibal Corpse start off the battle with Red Before Black, their fourteenth album; this in turn starts with a couple of typically Cannibalcorpsish tunes, satisfying if not particularly memorable. Fortunately, the second third of the album is redemptive of the first, and by the time Firestorm Vengeance comes on, the band deliver the goods more inspiringly than they have in years. All in all, if you're already a fan of Corpsegrinder and Co., you will not be disappointed.
But here's the thing: Cannabis Corpse (whom have half-distanced themselves from their humble beginnings as a tongue-in-spliff parody) are hunting bigger game on Left Hand Pass. From the very beginning of the album, there's an evident ambition to the songwriting and shredding that's missing from Red Before Black. And having taken a step away from the restrictive paradigm of cannibal-corpse-but-with-marijuana, the band have given themselves license to draw from more far-flung influences, which leads to more inventive riffs and motifs. Both albums provide solid death metal madness, but in the final analysis only Left Hand Pass gives you that sense of excellence which is ultimately what the Arsies are all about. And so, Cannabis Corpse defeat their namesakes, and move on to the next round.
That's it for our first week of the tournament, metal maniacs! Our next match is on Monday, with Fit For An Autopsy and August Burns Red vying for supremacy. That's gonna be intense.