CANNIBAL CORPSE, The Wretched Spawn (2004, Metal Blade)
This is just the censored version of the cover, which crops out a trio of zombie doctors presiding over a fairly implausible double caesarian/natural delivery. The skull in question is just a detail of the decor in their abominable operating theater, or something. It kind of looks like bone, but it would make more sense if it was just a carved detail in a larger wooden piece. The skull is splattered with blood, despite being what looks to be a fair distance from the table, so I guess you know that a lot of really nasty shit goes down here. Or whatever. Man, it’s hurting my head trying to impose narrative on a Cannibal Corpse album cover.
I’ve hated Cannibal Corpse for a long time. In fact, I’m sure I haven’t hated any metal band so vehemently for so long. I bought their first album, on cassette, shortly after I had discovered Carcass. I went back to the same shop and said, “Give me something like Symphonies of Sickness!” and that asshole sold me Eaten Back to Life. Now, I will grant that Cannibal Corpse have improved over the years, and some of their post-Chris Barnes albums almost sort of approach listenable, but in truth, even the best of them are fairly bad. It’s the same fucking shit, over and over, with the same inane lyrics belted out with the same charmless growl, and some of the most boring death metal drumming ever. I do understand the appeal of this band to angry, awkward teenagers who want to piss off their parents (it is eternally offensive after all), but I can’t for the life of me understand how an adult (who isn’t a sociopath) could find anything to like in Cannibal Corpse. Nostalgia for their awkward and angry adolescence? Who knows. Some day, arthritis of the neck will permanently disable Alex Webster and Corpsegrinder, and when that happens, here’s hoping the former retires to a quiet senescence making Blotted Science albums with Ron Jarzombek, and the latter leaves the scene forever to get fat in front of his monitors, playing the 17th iteration of World of Warcraft.
— Friar Johnsen