Cannibal Corpse is the best death metal band of all time. Period. The band’s 13th release, A Skeletal Domain only solidifies my point even more.

For the few years prior to the release of 2006’s Kill, the band seemed to be almost phoning it in for a few albums. A few bangers here and there scattered throughout a sea of tunes that screamed that they were just going through the motions. With Kill the band sought out famed Hate Eternal frontman, Erik Rutan, to produce their record. Working with Rutan and the return of Bleeding and Vile era guitarist, Rob Barrett seemed to be just what the doctor ordered. For next three albums the band sounded rejuvenated and returned with that pulverizing aggression that reminded me a lot of the Chris Barnes albums but with better production and better vocals. It appeared that the band found something that worked for them and 8 years later they decided to break the mold. In what seemed to be a bold move, the band opted to not return to Rutan and stay close to home, choosing to record at Audio Hammer Studios in Florida with underrated metal producer, Mark Lewis. Would this prove to be a costly decision and ruin the momentum the band had going for it?

The answer is simply. No. If you did not know that Erik Rutan didn’t produce this record, you would never be able to tell the difference. Mark Lewis did a fantastic job of recreating the production value of the previous records. The crunchiness of the guitars and heart stuttering pop to the drums remains completely intact. As for the band, they still perform their duties as incredible as ever. The last few albums have been utterly perfect and the ball keeps rolling with this outing. Impeccable transitions from frenzy blast beat based riffs, to those pummeling slow stomps, to that signature Cannibal Corpse groove. A keen sense of being straight forward yet technical without being overdramatic about it. There is a clearly a reason that there are none bigger than Cannibal Corpse in the death metal community.

The one thing I really, really enjoyed about this record is its ability to flow freely from one song to the next. Everyone seemed to gravitate towards the song Scourge Of Iron from 2012’s Torture. It was a slower paced, chug fueled track that really separated itself from the rest of the record. Although it occurred early in the record, it was a song that really broke up the album mostly because it never picks up. For A Skeletal Domain, there is no oddball tune like Scourge. While there definitely parts that are cut from the same cloth, the album returns to what made Cannibal Corpse famous and keeps the pace up from start to finish. Each track blends right into the next one while still maintaining its own character. I’ve said it before, an albums flow is key to my enjoyment level and this flows like a good book. I never once want to skip a track. I just want to strap in and enjoy the ride.

Argue all you want but you will be wrong, Cannibal Corpse is the best. A Skeletal Domain keeps the momentum of the previous three records going and is easily a top 10 (maybe top 5) record for 2014. For a band that I thought was about to flatline in 2006, I’m excited to state that Cannibal Corpse is on top of their game, even this late in their career. I’m excited to hear these songs live and see what the future holds for these living legends of heavy metal.