Cannibal Corpse, easily considered one of the main death metal groups since the genre’s emergence, are still active and going strong. Last year, the band released their thirteenth album, ‘A Skeletal Domain,’ via Metal Blade Records. To continue promotion of the LP, the quintet head back out on the road with Cattle Decapitation as they venture to perform at this year’s Knotfest. While we caught up with him last year, Drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz spoke to Metal Insider again to chat about the upcoming performances and reflect back on the most recent album.
Cannibal Corpse will be starting their tour with Cattle Decapitation and Soreption this month. What is your relationship with these bands and what can fans expect from the show this go around?
I’m thinking it’s going to be a pretty good tour with some good death metal. Cattle Decapitation seem to be on the rise more over the years, doing better than they ever have. We’ve never toured with Cattle Decapitation before, so this will be a first. They’ve been on Metal Blade Records for quite some time now as well. Our paths haven’t really crossed, but I know the bass player, Derek [Engemann]. He was in Unmerciful for a bit. Soreption are a great band and we really like what they do.
Last year you released your thirteenth LP, A Skeletal Domain, via Metal Blade Records. Since it has been about a year, reflecting back on the process, were there any moments within the writing or recording process that stood out to you?
Not too much really, which is a good thing I think. You want everything to go relatively smooth and it pretty much did. I just remember preparing so much more extensively before going into the studio. I guess the one big thing that I remember about the session was working with Mark Lewis for the first time. He wanted me to really focus on hitting as hard as I could. And I was going through a transition of lighter to heavier drum sticks. That first day, I was just really feeling it in my shoulders. But, the drums sound great and looking back, I’m glad I did it.
Right, the album sounded great and I would say the overall consensus to the album was positive. The only thing critics claimed was the sound was about the same as previous works. Is this something you’re going to try to avoid with future albums or do you prefer staying true to the death metal genre?
You always try to have an identity and it’s tough when you’re working with different producers. We’ve released thirteen albums over the length of our career and we’ve been with six different producers. We just want to get the best sounds that we can get and that depends on the producers you’re working with. There was an issue with Pat [O’Brien] and Mark [Lewis] with wanting to do a different guitar sound on the record. I think the guitar sounds good, but if you ask Pat, the answer might be different. I think it’s important to have your own identity and not sound generic. We’ll see what happens next record.
Speaking of a possible next album, is there any material or ideas towards the next album yet or is it too soon to say?
It’s a little too soon to say because we still have some tours left. I think a few ideas are floating around with the guys, but nothing concrete. Once we’re done with the touring, then the writing hits pretty hard.
When approaching lyrics nowadays, is their a specific inspiration whether it be your personal life, politics, society, etc?
For my lyrics, there’s really not much of an inspiration other than an internal kind of thing. We have the song title and it stems from there. Everything comes out from what I’ve absorbed over the years. I don’t really do any research, I just sit down and write what the song needs and what comes out of my head.
You guys will be included on the upcoming festival, Knotfest, later this month. What bands are you looking forward to seeing there?
Yeah, it’s a pretty cool festival going on out there. It’s nice playing with bands like Clutch and I know we’re sharing the stage with Helmet. Unfortunately, we’re going to miss seeing Judas Priest, but it’d be really cool to see those guys.
If you had the option to add more bands on the lineup, who would be on your list?
That’s a tough one. I’d throw in any of the bands we grew up with. They’re already on there, but we got to see Judas Priest in Europe and got to meet Rob Halford. It was a dream come true. Any of those bands like Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Metallica, or Slayer would be great.
What do you have coming up after this tour?
We’re only home for a couple days and then we’re over in South America opening for Testament, which will take us to a holiday break. We may have a couple tours beginning next year, that’s all being worked out. A few more tours and then we’ll get started on the new record.
You’ve been active with Cannibal Corpse for almost thirty years now. What do you seen in the far future of the band or your personal music career?
It’s really tough to say these days. I’m pretty much focusing on Cannibal Corpse and it has been for a long time now. We have to take it day by day. Luckily, we’re still doing strong and hopefully we’ll still be around another twenty years. Maybe down the line, I could have a side-project for myself. I have previously had a side-project in 2001 or so and it was very blues rock sounding. We played a couple shows, but it was short-lived. If anything happens in the future, it’d be cool to do something like that again. I have a big passion for rock music, so it’d be fun to do that one more time.
[photo: Nathan Katsiaficas]