Monday, March 5, 2012

Cancer - Death Shall Rise [1991]

Here is an album that occasionally gets lost in the shuffle when discussing the best material to come out during the year 1991, which is one of the best years for metal in general, especially death metal. I don't want to lead you on and say that "Death Shall Rise" is the epitome of what death/thrash should be and that it is the greatest album of the subgenre, because it really isn't, but it is still an album that stands tall on its own feet and delivers a great eight-track onslaught of what you would expect a death/thrash record to sound like and one that certainly deserves some more recognition. 

Cancer already had an uphill battle when releasing their sophomore album, because their fellow UK comrades in Bolt Thrower and Benediction would both release two excellent albums later in the year. Luckily, this group of metalheads had a different sound than their countrymen, not settling for a doomier or groovier sound, instead they would release an unbridled assault that became apparent once the classic "Hung, Drawn and Quartered" punched through the listener's speakers. Fast riffs and tremolos that sounded like they could have been written by Chuck Schuldiner himself (Maybe it was because James Murphy played guitar on this album?) and heavy riffs guaranteed to cause some whiplash to the vertebrae are what were to be found on this track, as well as an incredibly catchy chorus (with guest vocals from Glen Benton). 

While the first track is the definition of brilliance, the rest never seem to catch up to the precedent set so early on. A lot of the riffs aren't anything overly special or anything that couldn't be heard from other bands that came out before, and the vocals are a little dry. The bass and drums also don't do anything that warrants much attention, either. The closest that Cancer comes to recapturing the greatness from the first track would be on the songs "Back From the Dead" and "Corpse Fire." The former track has a darker edge to it due to some melodies placed throughout, and the later song is a no-nonsense song that never lets up and even features some blast beats. After the eight songs have all gone through, there is an impression that is made on the listener, but it isn't on par with the same that are left by albums like "Dreaming with the Dead," "The Awakening" or "Idolatry." Not that it really matters, this album did have one of the best album covers out there, though, and had the music been as fantastic as the cover art then "Death Shall Rise" could have been an undeniable classic.

"Hung, Drawn and Quartered"
"Back From the Dead"
"Corpse Fire"

Final Rating
Awesome [8.5/10]