Album Review: Bone Gnawer – “Cannibal Crematorium”

Bone Gnawer - Cannibal Crematorium

Take a look at this album cover. I’ll give you three guesses as to what genre this album is. Since its inception, death metal by and large has always been about blood, gore and all sorts of unsavory things, and on their second full length, Cannibal Crematorium, transatlantic terrors Bone Gnawer absolutely go for the jugular. Everything here—from the hellish artwork to the gory song titles and the throwback, Florida-by-way-of-Sweden sound—makes this a journey through a ’90s death emporium.

Led once again by vocalist Kam Lee, the band pulls no punches; the lyrics are vile and the sound feels like all manner of lawn and garden implements being used as instruments of torture. After a quick, unsettling intro on “Anthropophagist Inferno,” we jump into “Modern Day Cannibal” and “Chainsaw Carnage,” which kick things into high gear with pummeling riffs and a crunchy tone that transitions from mid-paced speed to faster blasts. While listening, you almost have to wonder how many fingers were reduced to mere bloody piles during the recording process.

Later, “Chrome Skull” strikes a hell of a balance between melody and downright vicious riffing, and features some of the nastiest vocals of the whole album. It’s an easy pick for the highlight of the album. The knife slash sounds at the beginning and end are a nice touch as well.

The trouble is, “Chrome Skull” is virtually the only thing worth listening to on the second half of the album. This gem aside, everything after the unnecessary spoken-word midway point, “Il Sesso Bizarro di Cannibali,” just feels…monotonous. It plays out almost exactly the same as the first half did, so by the end of the titular closer, you feel like you’ve heard it all twice.

Which…is kind of a shame! Make no mistake, the album’s a fun enough listen for anyone that loves some good, old-fashioned death metal. But with all that repetitiveness, I can’t help but wonder whether I’ll still be listening to this in a couple of months…


Cannibal Crematorium will be available July 10 on Pulverised Records. For more information on Bone Gnawer, visit the band’s Metal Archives page.

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