In no way was I excited for this review I had my eyes set upon being disappointed. I was certain that I would not like this record at all. A few weeks prior to it’s release I remember hearing that my favorite front man would be a part of this album. As soon as I had heard that, excitement over took me, curiosity followed in suit, and I waited to hear that one song. But as time progressed I found that I had forgotten about the release date. It would not be until a few days after the initial release that I would hear it. At first I didn’t know what to expect seeing this was my first encounter with Cannabis Corpse. The name was familiar but as far the music was concerned I couldn’t tell you a thing about how they sounded-other than stating the obvious “they are death metal”.
My ignorance was undesirable. Thus I back tracked through some earlier recordings. It was refreshing to hear a new sound. The thing that I liked the most about their writing style was unlike most death metal bands, it wasn’t too over the top. For some reason most bands in the modern death metal community seem to think all we want to hear is super technical, and insanely fast blast beats all the time. We love that stuff but it’s just that sometimes, we need something to go back to the roots. Technicality and speed are great but if you can’t write a song then there is no point in being fast. Cannabis Corpse seems to find a way to work the mid, slow, and fast tempo songs into their recordings. Many bands are capable of doing the same but then, most of the time majority of bands can’t make them work together for an album.
I sat to listen to the album, giving it my customary quick one through. Initially I wasn’t all that impressed. So I picked certain tracks that I thought stood out, and listened to them again. Over the next few days I would listen to it at least twice a day. Slowly but surely it grew on me. I took note again to pay special attention to the title, and collaboration tracks to see if those had quality the other songs didn’t have.
I have to admit the title track ‘From Wisdom to Baked’ is for me the lowest point in the entire recording. There are parts that I love in the song-but there is also that riff. UGH! That riff I find so nasty that I have to force myself to listen to it every time it comes on. Upon hearing the first few riffs I had high hopes, that were quickly thrown out of the window as soon as I heard the staccato, hammer on, pull off riff. I wasn’t all that disappointed because the rest of the album made up for that one song.
This album I would have to say is more akin to the thrashy death metal of the late 80’s and early 90’s. Catchy and crunchy are the two perfect words to describe the guitar tone. Drumming is on point and the way that HallHammer uses his kit is superb. The thing about Hall’s style that strikes out the most to me is that he doesn’t slam every ride, and splash he has, every ten seconds. As far as bass is concerned it’s good to see someone that doesn’t just rock the root. Sure Land Phil isn’t a Steve DiGiorgio, or Alex Webster. But it’s good to see a guy who has his own style instead of just rocking out on the root notes. Land takes great care to make sure his bass lines are just as pulverizing and bone crushing as the guitar.
But my favourite thing about the entire album would have to be the leads. Whether it is the solos or the fills that Brent Legion uses to connect two separate parts of the songs together it works, and it works so fucking well. His soloing style isn’t all that super flashy but the notes he uses, and most importantly the way that he builds up to the solos is great. That is one that bands of our modern age tend to overlook, which is the dynamic build up that leads to the solo. These guys know what they’re doing as far as writing is concerned.
This album has made its way into my top picks for the year. Favourite tracks include the opening track ‘Baptized In Bud’ and ‘THC Crystal Mountain’. I adore those two songs. With ‘Baptized in Bud’ the thing I fell in love with the most is how simple a lot of the writing is. Straight to the point with catchy riffs and a tasty chorus, it gets me hooked. I am impressed by most of the other songs but there is one other that stood out form the rest, that put big ol’ smile on my face : ‘THC Crystal Mountain’. The opening of the song is a slow build up with a few notes of an arpeggiated chord, a slow heavy bass line, and finally topped with a solo. The solo is really what made the intro work – the sound of a mideast inspired solo is always welcome in my book, and the note selection was excellent and simple. But the subtlety of the interplay between those notes is what made it stand out.
Outside of a few funky riffs the album is great. But those riffs alone make the album a little hard to listen to because they are so nasty. Overall the album made me a fan of band that I would have tried to brush off as nothing other than another death metal band. If you haven’t heard the album you need to, and if you aren’t a fan of the band this just may be the record that could change that opinion. This release gets a 90% – points off for those buck nasty riffs. If it isnt for those riffs this would be perfect!