VERSUS: Tomb of The Mutilated vs Effigy of The Forgotten

VERSUS: Tomb of The Mutilated vs Effigy of The Forgotten

Welcome to Versus. The series where we look at two albums in metal history, compare them to each other, and see which one was the better record.

In this edition of Versus, we are tackling two legendary death metal bands. Bands that would be influential in not only the development of the genre, but would also become some of the most successful bands in the genre's history. One band, who would take their gory, sadistic vocals and artwork to a whole new level, and increase their popularity with the help of a film appearance. The other, would showcase the more technical aspect of the genre. While also developing chugging and brutality into their sound, that would later influence and create its own subgenre of death metal called Slam. This is gonna be a good one. As these two titans of death metal battle it out in a matchup I'm calling "The Battle of Brutality against Technicality".

In this corner, we have Cannibal Corpse with the band's 1992 third album Tomb of The Mutilated. Following the infamous release and graphic artwork of Butchered at Birth, the band doubled-down on the graphic and obscene themes with its graphic sexual artwork and lyrical themes. The band would also gain huge popularity with their appearance in the 1994 comedy Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. The film's star, Jim Carrey, would even perform the album's lead single in the movie in a comedic performance. The appearance in the movie would also introduce many new people to the guttural and heavy sound of Cannibal Corpse in the Barnes-era of the band, as well as the death metal genre that was rising at the time. Let's take a deep dive into one of the band's most famous releases.

"Hammer Smashed Face" opens the album with the pummeling, pounding opening guitar and bass into POUNDING double bass by Paul Mazurkiewicz. Jack Owen and Bob Russy are just unforgiving in the opening guitar riff. Then, the gurgle of Alex Webster's bass segues the song into vocalist Chris Barnes' guttural, incomprehensible vocals. The song is classic Cannibal Corpse in it's guitar playing in the interlude, almost-inhuman low vocals at the time and the intricate playing of the riff. Along with the rhythm section of Mazurkiewicz & Webster. Mazurkiewicz's playing is unstoppable and all over the place throughout the song. With impressive speed up/slow down complexity throughout the track. Barnes is so deep and guttural throughout, especially going into the three quarters mark of the song. A behemoth of an opening track and truly one of the band's best tracks. Next is the follow-up "I Cum Blood". With its gritty and pounding opening riff and pummeling drums, along with Barnes' deep growl, the band is back to full speed in the opening. The riff almost has a groove or bounce to it when the verses section kicks in, all while Barnes delivers his unhinged guttural vocals and sadistic lyrics. Owen and Russy play around with the pacing of the song so well. With chugging, almost sludge metal like guitar playing, into quick tremolo like flurries. Along with Mazurkiewicz matching the performance. I love the wailing guitar solo closing out the track.

With "Addicted To Vaginal Skin", we open with a sadistic sound clip of someone confessing to the murder of a woman in graphic detail. Mentioning the song's title in the process. The riff comes roaring in with a slower tempo compared to the previous track. Barnes' vocals kick the pacing of the song up a notch. You hear Webster's bass playing begin to peak through with the high notes he plays. Also, with his short bass note flurry in-between musical sections. I love the riff speeding up to slow down and then back up again around the halfway mark. Creating peaks and valleys in the track, especially with Webster getting a moment to shine on bass after the halfway mark. The divebomb, whammy heavy solo near the close instantly hits hard with the backing drums behind it. "Split Wide Open" continues the unhinged and unmatched technical prowess of the band. Owen and Russy grab you by the throat with their playing on the album. Fast moments of chugging into tremolo guitars that were a trademark of the genre, to pacing sections, just shows how influential they were to the sound of the time. Barnes is keeping the pace of the song, while also still able to keep his gutturals deep and unintelligible. With "Necropedophile", the song opens with that gritty and gnarly guitar tone of the genre. Mazurkiewicz is unstoppable on the kit. Continued blasting double bass and blast beats, while also showing off little moments of drum fills throughout the track. The riff, again, has that nice bounce feeling during the verses at some points, which get accented by the drums. You hear Webster's bass gurgle underlying the intensity and punch of the guitars throughout. Ending with dark, ominous audio of kids at a playground. Showing more of the darker undertones and perversity in the album's theme.

"The Cryptic Stench" opens with a heavy, chugging riff with Webster's trademark underlying bass beneath it. Barnes gutturals still hit hard and have his grit and gurgle in them as Owen and Russy continue the fast-paced playing. Webster is featured more prominently on the track, with the guitars more restrained in their playing, giving Webster a chance for his bass to really be heard. Mazurkiewicz again just doesn't stop on his speed and precision on the kit. On "Entrails Ripped From A Virgin's Cunt", drums lead the charge in heavy reverb and pounding tom hits. Guitars continue to give a commanding performance on the track and throughout the album. There is some groove in the riff going into the quarter mark, which is a nice touch to add to Barnes' vocal prowess. Mazurkiewicz;s drums in the mix have so much power and punch in them with every double bass hit and snare strike.

"Post Mortal Ejaculation" has a almost traditional heavy metal opening guitar riff. Mazurkiewicz speeds up the drumming on the track as the riff slowly begins to mutate and get heavier and more complex as Webster's bass begins to rise from the depths. Barnes' vocals are faster as well, while keeping his growl range low, which is hard to do at a faster pace. I love the heavier riff development at the halfway mark. Matching drumming also adds more depth and punch to the riff. Barnes' high screams into Mazurkiewicz's blasting drums and simple guitar strumming by Owen and Russy, adds so much and is a great touch to the song. Album closer "Beyond The Cemetery" opens with unrelenting guitars and driving drums as this legendary act wants to close the album strong. The song is just overall heavy in it's playing, production and musicianship. Punchy drums, deep and heavy guitar tone, matched with unhinged and almost inhuman vocal depths. A heavy closing track to one of the best death metal records of all time.

Their opponents, are death metal slammers Suffocation with their 1991 debut Effigy of The Forgotten. Showcasing a more technical version of death metal following the release, along with one track on the album cited as the source of the slam death metal genre on the breakdown of "Liege of Inveracity". George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher, who would later join Cannibal Corpse, appears on a couple tracks on the album. Does this technical death metal behemoth of a debut bring enough to destroy the gory kings of death metal?

The album opens with the track "Liege of Inveracity". With pummeling, heavy, chuggy guitars of Terrance Hobbs & Doug Cerrito opening the song, the band is off to the races with the opening moments. Vocalist Frank Mullen's deep guttural growls join in the intensity. Drummer Mike Smith drives the track, matching the tremolo guitar pacing. Bassist Josh Barohn can be heard on some parts of the track, but he is very low in the mix, making it hard to pick him out. Impressive guitar solo at the halfway mark, into blast beats, and Mullen's growling gutturals. You can hear the slam death metal spark being formed during the track as well with the guitar playing at the three quarters mark and at the close of the song. Another nice, wailing, intense guitar solo before we hit the finish line of the song with it's caveman-slam guitar riff. STRONG opening track for this album. The title track opens with blast beat drumming and gurgling bass before the guitars join in. The song reminds me of early Cryptopsy, with its complex drumming, peak & valley guitar playing and start/stop pacing. Mullen sounds pissed in his gutturals and the guitar/drum combo really add more heft to his already commanding and deep guttural vocals. I love the solo around the halfway mark, with the divebomb, horse whinnying highs. Another strong one-two punch of opening tracks.

"Infecting The Crypts" is right off the bat pummeling with pounding drums, tremolo guitars and production. I love the double kicks mixing it up a bit before the vocals kick in. That slow, chuggy riff into Mullen's growls is SO good and gets me every time I hear it. Hobbs & Cerrito just don't let up on the riffs. Fast tremolo playing into chuggy, fretboard hopping highs. Showcasing their unique progressive elements and technicality in the band's debut, while also defining the band's sound. Smith's double bass has so much punch in the mix and adds heavy accents to the main riff when he does them. The slam death metal sound comes back around the three thirty mark. It shows that at the time, the band was ahead of their time. Creating that brutal, low and simple guitar playing just adds heaviness without doing a lot. On "Seeds of The Suffering", the riff and drums lead the charge. Mullen sounds even deeper in his vocal performance so far with this song. Smith flies all over the drum kit on this track. Mullen's vocals have moments of barking delivery and guttural lows throughout. Hobbs & Cerrito continue the constant punishing guitar riffs and technical efficiency of the track in their playing. Especially during the guitar solos near the three quarters mark.

"Habitual Infamy" opens with pounding blast beats by Smith with accompanied guitars matching his rhythm. Smith is again all over the kit with manic drum fills, driving double bass and blasts throughout. Hobbs & Cerrito match his drumming, also adding speed and proficiency. Even as the track slows to a chugging crawl at some points of the song. "Reincremation", the first song featuring Fisher, instantly starts heavy and fast, with no brakes as the drums speed the song up. The shortest song on the album, but it is one of the heaviest. With the band mainly focusing on just classic death metal. Not a lot of technical/progressive guitar playing and just straightforward old school death metal. Showing the band can be heavy without being technical. "Mass Obliteration", also featuring Fisher, starts with commanding and aggressive drums. Hobbs & Cerrito continue their heavy tremolo leads and chugging riffs as Mullen & Fisher deliver a strong vocal delivery throughout. A heavy as hell track that made me headbang along with every snare hit from Smith. The guitars have more aggression in their playing as the song progresses. On "Involuntary Slaughter" we start with a slow building chug on guitar and drums, before the band psyches the listener and the song speeds up.  The rising and descending guitars is a nice addition as it segues into the guitar solo around the halfway mark. It is a chug heavy song, instantly makes you want to bang your head along and give you that instant stank-face feeling as you do it. The album closer "Jesus Wept" starts with a pissed-off sounding opening riff and matching drums. Mullen sounds unhinged in his vocals, matching the unhinged guitar playing and drums. I love the slow down groove of the riff at the minute and half mark with underlying bass by Barohn. The double bass flurries by Smith add a little spice to the riff. The closing guitar solo is such a heavy end to this death metal classic.

After listening to these legendary and influential records, which albums stands on top of the death metal mountain? In my opinion, the winner is Tomb of The Mutilated. The record to me is just a pinnacle of death metal. It has the consistent death growls of Barnes, the impressive musicianship of all its band members and the influence it would have on countless bands following the release. Effigy of The Forgotten had some strong elements to it and it was a good, solid death metal record, but in my opinion, I think the band was still trying to finalize and perfect their sound, which they would do in future releases. Don't get me wrong, Effigy is one of my all time favorite death metal albums. But compared to it's competitor today, which is also one of my all time favorite death metal albums, it just didn't have the same punch as Tomb did. I still love both bands to this day and both bands were my introduction to death metal. These albums are essential death metal 101 to introduce someone into the genre and are classics in not only death metal, but metal itself.

Cannibal Corpse would follow-up Tomb of The Mutilated two years later with The Bleeding. The sound would be different than Tomb of The Mutilated, following in a more groove style sound that Barnes was doing with his side project Six Feet Under. Barnes' vocals were more understandable compared to the previous Corpse albums. The Bleeding would become the fifth top-selling death metal album in the United States. While working on the band's next album with the working title Created To Kill, Barnes would leave Cannibal Corpse in 1995 due to personal differences with the band, and would fully focus on Six Feet Under. George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher would officially join Cannibal Corpse as their new front man in late 1995. Making his debut with the band on 1996's Vile and has been with the band since.

Suffocation would have a lengthy career, though not without it's trials and tribulations. The band would release their follow up Breeding The Spawn in 1993, but was criticized for the production quality of the album. Which the band would re-record every song on the album on future studio albums. After the release of Pierced From Within in 1995, the band would face lineup changes and break up. Reuniting in 2003, they returned with their fourth album Souls To Deny the following year. In 2018, Mullen announced he would be retiring from the band following one last tour. The final concert was released as a concert DVD Live in North America in 2021.

In 2023, the band would officially welcome Ricky Myers of Disgorge as the band's new vocalist. The band would release their new album Hymns From The Apocrypha in November that same year. Receiving critical acclaim and positive response from the fanbase. Mullen would also make an appearance on the final track of the album "Ignorant Deprivation", the last track of Breeding The Spawn. Completing the band's goal to re-record all the songs from that album, and a swansong for the Mullen-era of the band.

Do you agree with my decision? Who do you think should have won? Cast your vote on the poll below, leave your comments on our social media, and your suggestions who you think should step in the ring next. I’m Justin, your friendly neighborhood metalhead, for This Day in Metal and this has been Versus.

VS: Tomb of The Mutilated vs. Effigy of The Forgotten - Online Poll - StrawPoll
What’s your opinion? Vote now: Tomb of The Mutilated, Effigy of The Forgotten…

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