Cannibal Corpse is a name synonymous with death metal. There’s little doubt that the band is one of the most recognized on the planet for the genre, having been around for over three decades. Ahead of the release of their 15th studio album Violence Unimagined, Metal Wani had the opportunity to chat with a long-time member, drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz to discuss all facets of the upcoming album, the band’s tour plans for 2021 and the possibility of the band live streaming shows.
The conversation begins by discussing the album, and the anticipation that comes along with releasing a new record. Having released 14 albums previously, this is something that Mazurkiewicz obviously doesn’t take for granted, remarking “It’s crazy to think we’ve been around for 32 years and about to release album number 15, it’s pretty remarkable, it’s pretty crazy to think that this all happened and is still going on and going strong, so we are very appreciative of that of course.”
Violence Unimagined is the follow up to 2017’s Red before Black, an album which the band had self-described as being the best album that the band had put out to that point, so when asked about how the band challenged themselves to top Red Before Black, Mazurkiewicz goes into detail discussing the time imperatives placed on the album, the difficulty of the tracks, and how the work ethic of the band, including himself, helped get the album across the line.
The discussion shifts towards the newest member Erik Rutan and his integration into the band, to which Mazurkiewicz comments “He’s a great guitar player, of course, great guy, a great asset, I can’t say enough about him. You know he’s an amazing person and a great musician, so having of course the skill that he has on guitar, it’s incredible. And the main thing of course is him just bringing his version of Cannibal Corpse to his songwriting – he wrote three songs on the record and those were songs he wrote individually… he’s just bringing that bit of a different flavor to him to the band now”.
The year 2020 was hard for many, with a lot of bands heading into the studio to record new music, and a lot of that music containing emotion related to the pandemic, and also to the political environment in the world. When asked if any of these factors influenced the writing process for the album Mazurkiewicz goes into great detail, stating “We usually don’t let anything on the outside affect us in any way you know, lyrically or musically. The music has to come from within basically, no matter what! It’s kind of weird or crazy the way it all went down in the music department where we were pretty much ready to go into the studio when the pandemic hit… We’re not a political band, we’re not a band that touches too much on current events or anything, you know we have a couple in there, and actually, the only thing that probably did push along in that way was Erik’s song Condemnation Contagion. I think he kind of loosely based that on what was happening at the time”.
Obviously touring is the bread and butter for bands — getting their feet on the ground and getting their music in front of their fans worldwide. With everything happening in the world there is obviously a ton of uncertainty in that respect, but when asked if the band had any plans on getting on the road again in the near future, Mazurkiewicz responded “I think everybody wants to get out as soon as they can. I mean we should have been out, the album should have been out in November, and we’d be on the road. That’s a key element of being in the band… We’ve got to take it day by day. There’s really nothing set right now, and you see what I see with tours being canceled”. The conversation then switches to Live streaming shows, and whether that is something that Cannibal Corpse had entertained, to which Mazurkiewicz speaks candidly about the band’s position.
The conversation closes on the topic of longevity and how the band sees their success over the past three decades and any insights into how the band sees themselves amongst the current death metal landscape.