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Cannibal Corpse is a death metal band from Buffalo, New Yorkmarker, formed in 1988. The band has released eleven studio albums, one boxed set, and one live album. Although Cannibal Corpse has had little radio or television exposure, a cult following began to build behind the group with albums such as 1991's Butchered at Birth and 1992's Tomb of the Mutilated. Cannibal Corpse reached over one-million in record sales worldwide in 2003, including 558,929 in the United Statesmarker, making them the top-selling death metal band of all time.

The members of Cannibal Corpse were originally inspired by thrash metal bands like Slayer, Kreator, and Sodom, as well as other death metal bands like Morbid Angel and Death. The band's lyrics and album art, which draw heavily on horror fiction and horror films, are highly controversial. At different times, several countries have banned Cannibal Corpse from performing within their borders, or have banned the sale and display of uncensored Cannibal Corpse albums.

Biography

Cannibal Corpse was made up of members from three earlier Buffalo-area death metal bands, Beyond Death (Webster, Owen), Leviathan (Barnes), and Tirant Sin (Barnes, Rusay, Mazurkiewicz). The band played their first show at Buffalo's River Rock Cafe in April 1989, shortly after recording a five-song demo tape, Cannibal Corpse. Within a year of that first gig, the band was signed to Metal Blade Records, apparently after the label had seen a videotape of a live show, and their full-length debut album, Eaten Back to Life, was released in August 1990.

The band has had many line-up changes over the years. In 1993, founding member and guitarist Bob Rusay was dismissed from the group (after which he became a golf instructor) and was ultimately replaced by Malevolent Creation guitarist Rob Barrett. In 1995, singer Chris Barnes was dismissed and was replaced by Monstrosity singer George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher. Barnes went on to perform with the band Six Feet Under, and later Torture Killer.

In 1997, Barrett, who had originally replaced Rusay on guitar, left Cannibal Corpse to rejoin his previous band Malevolent Creation. After Barrett left, he was replaced by guitarist Pat O’Brien, who first appeared on Cannibal Corpse's 1998 release Gallery of Suicide. Founding member and guitarist Jack Owen left Cannibal Corpse in 2004 to spend more time on his second band, Adrift. He joined Deicide in late 2005. Jeremy Turner of Origin briefly replaced him as second guitarist on 2004's Tour of the Wretched. Barrett rejoined the band in 2005 and was first featured on the album Kill, released in March 2006.

Writing for the next album began in November 2007, as presaged in an interview with bassist Alex Webster. Evisceration Plague, Cannibal Corpse's eleventh studio album was released February 3, 2009, to a highly positive response from fans. The band will tour in support of the album in the spring of 2009.Recently, bassist Alex Webster said, "We have never thought of being together for 20 years so we certainly don't plan to break up in the next 5 years, 10 years, or even 15 years."

Controversy and publicity

Australia

For more details on this topic, see Censorship in Australia.
As of October 23, 1996, the sale of any Cannibal Corpse audio recording then available was banned in Australia and all copies of such had been removed from music shops. At the time, the Australian Recording Industry Association and the Australian Music Retailers Association were implementing a system for identifying potentially offensive records, known as the "labelling code of practice".

All ten of Cannibal Corpse's albums, as well as the live album Live Cannibalism, the boxed set 15 Year Killing Spree, the EP Worm Infested, and the single "Hammer Smashed Face", were re-released in Australia between 2006 and 2007, or finally classified by ARIA and allowed for sale in Australia. However, they are all "Restricted", and only sold to those over 18 years of age. Some are sold in "censored" and "uncensored" editions, which denotes the change of cover art. Despite this, when displayed in some stores, even the "uncensored" editions are censored manually.

Germany

All Cannibal Corpse albums up to and including Tomb of the Mutilated were banned upon release from being sold or displayed in Germanymarker due to their graphic cover art and disturbing lyrics; the band was also forbidden to play any songs from those albums while touring in Germany. This prohibition was not lifted until June 2006. In a 2004 interview, George Fisher attempted to recall what originally provoked the ban:

United States

In May 1995, then-US Senator Bob Dole accused Cannibal Corpse—along with hip hop acts like the Geto Boys and 2 Live Crew—of undermining the national character of the United States. A year later, the band came under fire again, this time as part of a campaign by conservative activist William Bennett, Senator Joe Lieberman, then-Senator Sam Nunn, and National Congress of Black Women chair C. Delores Tucker to get major record labels—including Time Warner, Sony, Thorn-EMI, PolyGram and Bertelsmann—to "dump 20 recording groups...responsible for the most offensive lyrics."

Cannibal Corpse also paradoxically enjoyed a brief cameo in the 1994 Jim Carrey film Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, performing an abridged version of their song "Hammer Smashed Face." Carrey is apparently a death metal fan and insisted that they perform in the movie.

Responses to critics

Cannibal Corpse at a concert in Innsbruck, February 9, 2009.
Cannibal Corpse prides itself on overtly violent and sexual songs and album artwork as nothing more than an extreme form of over-the-top entertainment. In the film Metal: A Headbangers Journey, George Fisher said death metal is best viewed "as art," and mentioned far more violent art can be found at the Vaticanmarker, as such depictions actually happened. Some of Cannibal Corpse's most controversial song titles include "Meat Hook Sodomy," "Necropedophile," and "Fucked With A Knife."

The band's members have a rather lackadaisical approach toward those who criticize their sometimes violent lyrics: "We don't sing about politics. We don't sing about religion...All our songs are short stories that, if anyone would so choose they could convert it into a horror movie. Really, that's all it is. We like gruesome, scary movies, and we want the lyrics to be like that. Yeah, it's about killing people, but it's not promoting it at all. Basically these are fictional stories, and that's it. And anyone who gets upset about it is ridiculous."

In response to accusations his band's music desensitizes people to violence, Alex Webster argued death metal fans enjoy the music only because they know the violence depicted in its lyrics is not real:

He also believes the violent lyrics can have positive values: "It’s good to have anger music as a release."

George Fisher said in their songs "there’s nothing ever serious. We’re not thinking of anybody in particular that we’re trying to kill, or harm or anything...How can you say we’re promoting violence with imaginary creatures? The people doing the killing in our songs are zombies."

Members

Current
Former


Discography



References

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