Cannibal Corpse Bassist Alex Webster Discusses Band’s New Album ‘Torture’
Cannibal Corpse bassist Alex Webster talked to Full Metal Jackie over the weekend about the band’s upcoming album ‘Torture.’ If you missed Jackie’s radio show, here is her entire interview with Alex Webster:
We’re here to celebrate the upcoming 12th album that will be coming out from Cannibal Corpse; how crazy for you to think about the fact that you guys have your 12th album coming out?
It’s totally crazy because I mean when we got signed it was for seven years, seven albums and even that you know back in ’89 when we got signed that seemed almost unrealistic; it was kind of unheard of for a death metal band to have even five albums out. The fact that we’ve made it not only to that seventh album mark on the original contract but we’ve signed on for five more and even beyond it’s pretty incredible so we’re happy with how it all went and it’s all been with Metal Blade, too, its been really cool.
The new Cannibal Corpse album ‘Torture’ will be coming out in stores March 13 and Paul Mazurkiewicz has called ‘Torture’ a return to ‘Tomb of the Mutilated’ and ‘Butchered at Birth’ — what brought you back to those albums and how did you incorporate it into this new music?
I think that what Paul’s talking about is just that we ended up getting an old school vibe and an intensity that’s reminiscent of those records while I don’t know if it was something where we were really trying to imitate something from the old records but there’s just a couple songs on there that have that feeling. I would say that the album is really a good combination of the old and the new, where we’re got the old school kind of intensity, aggression vibe but we have still utilized all of our skills as musicians that we’ve developed over the past 20 years since we did those older records. So hopefully you’re gonna get the best of both worlds, where you’ll get the old school vibe but you’ll get the precision of a fully capable and seasoned veteran death metal unit that we are. Hopefully it’s the best of the old and the new.
A lot of people focus on the heaviness of Cannibal Corpse; what’s the most musical aspect of the band in general and specifically on ‘Torture.’
You know, it’s hard to say. We definitely focus on songwriting a lot and maybe a little bit more than some of the other bands that are contemporaries. There’s a lot of bands that are really heavy and really fast and that is awesome and I’m a big fan of a lot of those bands. We like to play heavy and fast too but we try to focus on making each song individual, that’s kind of our thing. Part of musicianship of course is being a good player and so that’s something a lot of people look at first, like, “Wow, how fast is the guitar player, how fast is the drummer, what kind of things can these people do as players.” That’s the one facet of musicianship that gets paid attention to the most I think.
Something that’s a little bit overlooked by fans and maybe some of the bands as well is just the song writing part of it, being able to write a memorable song, that’s something that does take a little bit of work and it’s something that we’ve worked on over the years. I hope that we are writing songs that people can remember right after the first one or two times they’ve heard them, we want those songs to stick with them, so that’s something that we focus on very very heavily. It’s a part of our musicianship that we’ve really tried to develop over the years, giving each song its own individual sound while still retaining the total brutality and heaviness of it all.
Musically, what sounds or techniques do you really like that just won’t work in Cannibal Corpse? Did you try any of that on ‘Torture’?
We did try maybe one or two new things and for use when we experiment a little bit, we’re never really going outside of the boundaries of death metal. For example on the song ‘Rabid’ off of the new album, that song has some picking patterns in it that we don’t normally use, like a more galloping, staggered kind of picking pattern that you might hear more in a thrash band, like an old Slayer or an old Razor song, so that’s just a little different for us. We still try to use it within a death metal context, it’s not like it’s a thrash metal song by any stretch although death metal and thrash are closely related anyhow. We’re open to trying different things but we’re not going to do anything that makes our music go outside of the boundaries of death metal; we are very comfortable working within those boundaries, that’s where we want to be.
You guys live in Florida and usually record there but some of ‘Torture’ was also recorded in Texas. Did the change of scenery affect this album at all?
I think it could have, I mean the music was written before we got down there. We spent the majority of 2011 just writing the record here at home in Tampa but once we were out in Texas, we went out there in September, we were very focused. That studio in Texas, Sonic Ranch, it’s about 40 minutes outside of El Paso and when you’re there it’s a very isolated situation, you’re pretty far away from the rest of the world and you can just concentrate on your record. There’s a focus and precision to the basic tracks that we recorded out there.
We recorded the drums, bass guitar and rhythm guitars at Sonic Ranch and then returned home to record everything else at Eric’s studio in St. Petersburg, Fla. Everything is as tight as we’ve ever been, it’s a really tight super solid sounding album. I think it was very helpful that we were all in the same place at the same time, 100 percent, 24/7 focused on the goal of making the most solid, heavy record we could.
This coming weekend, Full Metal Jackie will talk to Children of Bodom frontman Alexi Laiho. Full Metal Jackie can be heard on radio stations around the country — for a full list of stations, go to fullmetaljackieradio.com.