Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Why Cannibal Corpse is the Perfect Soundtrack to Mortal Kombat

We all saw the recent commercial for Mortal Kombat X, the one directed by System of a Down’s bassist, Shavo Odadjian with “Chop Suey” as the soundtrack. There was pretty much a near universal agreement that it was a poor song choice. Most would say that the ubiquitous techno classic “Techno Syndrome (Mortal Kombat)” by the Immortals should’ve been featured. Especially considering that that song has been used in the original Mortal Kombat commercial and is basically played in anyone’s head the moment that the words “Mortal” and “Kombat” are uttered, it should have been a severed no-brainer. A fan took it upon himself and had the anthem spliced into the new commercial. I think that person could’ve done better. Obviously this blog is about metal music and video games, so of course I’ll be picking a metal band. Now what we need a band that is extremely violent, uncompromising, long running, and as influential as the arcade classic. And that band would have to be the almighty Cannibal Corpse. Let me explain why they are such a bloody good match for each other.

Why Cannibal Corpse? What about other bands like Death? Autopsy? Deicide? Obituary? Morbid Angel? Aborted? Immolation? Carcass? It is because Cannibal Corpse focuses far more on extreme violence than the aforementioned bands tend focus on. And while there are some bands out there that put lyrics of Cannibal Corpse to shame; those bands usually push it in the direction of sexual violence. OK, sure in their first few albums they had quite a bit of sexual violence going on with “Stripped, Raped, and Strangled” and “Entrails Ripped from a Virgin’s Cunt” but those topics were toned down and became near nonexistent after Chris Barnes was kicked out of the band. Mortal Kombat doesn’t really have sexual violence in it but some of its female fighters act in a sexual manner so it’s not that much of a stretch.

Morbid Angel, Immolation, and Deicide also deal with religious topics, generally anti-Christianity and Satanism which is something that the quarter munching fighter doesn’t really dabble in. If anything, Mortal Kombat just apes mythology from China and films like Big Trouble in Little China to create their own mythology. There might some critique of religion somewhere but it certainly not as overt as the previously mentioned bands so it doesn't even factor into the decision here.

Mortal Kombat’s primary focus is violence. It’s a fighting game! Just reading through Cannibal Corpse’s coffin catalog and it’s obvious that most of the song titles would be perfect as fatalities, which many have become at some point.

Take “Purification by Fire” for example, it can obviously describe Scorpion’s classic fatality where he removes his mask then sets his opponent on fire. Or it could even describe Sonya Blade’s fatality of blowing her opponent a flaming kiss of death. Additionally, Sektor’s fatality of roasting his opponent alive could match the song title.

Then there is “Barbaric Bludgeonings” which could refer to Quan Chi’s fatality where he removes the leg of his opponent and beats the shit out of him. And there’s Darrius’ similar fatality but has him removing his opponent’s arms then beating them with it.

Mileena’s fatality of swallowing nails and spitting them back out at her opponent could be a reference to “Five Nails through the Neck”. That might be a bit of a stretch but it would be suitable for the most part.

There really aren’t any fatalities that have opponents “Pounded into Dust” but there are fatalities where the victim is pounded enough to explode into chunks that they might as well be dust. Bo’Rai Cho’s fatality of bouncing on his opponent is one example. Ermac’s fatality of lifting his opponent repeatedly and slamming into the ground is another gory example.

The classic “Hatchet to the Head” from Gore Obsessed perfectly describes Nightwolf’s fatality of delivering a hatchet to the head of his victim. And instead of a hatchet, Shao Kahn likes to use a hammer to smash the face of his victims in his fatality. I don’t really have to name the song since I already did and it’s the band’s absolute classic. Drahmin’s fatality could be a literal example of that song as well, even though he doesn’t use a hammer; his fist is enough of a blunt weapon to work.

And of course songs like “Frantic Disembowelment” or “Savage Butchery” or “Bloodstained Concrete” could easily describe the general violence of the digitized fighter. And it’s not just the song titles and their penchant for violence that make the band perfect for slaughter happy fighter.

Mortal Kombat brought the violence mainstream and helped usher in the ratings board ESRB that Americans know all too well. When the original Mortal Kombat was released on the Super Nintendo, Nintendo had the game censored turning all of the blood into sweat (or dust as I thought it was when I was a wee pixelated metalhead). Cannibal Corpse has garnered similar controversy with releasing censored alternate covers and their first three albums being banned in Germany until recently. They also made the shit list of politicians like Bob Dole. And Mortal Kombat made the shit list of Joe Lieberman (along with Night Trap).

Neither the band nor the game series were the first to do what they do best but they both have pushed the envelope in their respective areas. Just a simple severed eyeball glance at the back of Cannibal Corpse’s catalog should show that just about any song there would be perfect for any of the Mortal Kombat games (especially the most recent ones). Both the band and games have courted controversy and remain largely relevant in today’s world that would more than likely want to shy away from extreme violence.

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