#13: George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher (Cannibal Corpse)
MetalSucks recently polled its staff to determine who are The Top 25 Modern Metal Frontmen, and after an incredible amount of arguing, name calling, and physical violence, we have finalized that list! Writers were asked to consider vocal ability, lyrics, and live presence when casting their votes; the only requirements to be eligible for the list were that the musician in question had to a) play metal (duh), b) be a frontman or woman (double-duh), and c) have recorded something AND performed live in the past five years. Today we continue our countdown with George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher from Cannibal Corpse…
When you think of a death metal band, you think of Cannibal Corpse. There’s a reason for that: the band has never drifted away from their crushing, technical form of chug-driven death metal; and their lyrical content has never strayed too far from their tried-and-true themes of violent murder, corporeal horror, and inhuman perversion. But it’s more than that—the band themselves look like a death metal band from a dream, the shadow of a death metal band on the cave wall that Plato is losing his shit to. At every show, the members of Cannibal can be found windmilling their unkempt hair, raising clawed hands or clenched fists to the air, and standing firmly with their legs soldier-width apart, as if to steel themselves to the gut-wrenching sonic assault they’re forced to create. And while every member of the band gives off this death metal look onstage, no one does it quite like frontman George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher.
A little history: Fisher left Florida death metallers Monstrosity to join Cannibal Corpse in 1995, replacing former Corpse vocalist Chris Barnes. While Barnes’ hoarse grunting and upsetting lyrical themes were considered vital to the band’s appeal, Fisher’s throaty growl was immediately welcomed by longtime Corpse fans. This alone is a feat on Fisher’s part that’s worth praise—replacing a band’s frontman is always hard, even when said vocalist isn’t loved by the fans. But from 1996’s Vile onwards, Corpsegrinder was seen as an easily worthy substitute to Barnes, and for many a superior vocalist and frontman, even if he didn’t help write groundbreaking albums like Butchered At Birth and Tomb of the Mutilated. In fact, the tracks from those albums seemed infinitely better sung by Fisher; something about the man’s thick, throaty deliver made him sound like he was screaming through a mouthful of half-chewed intestines.
Granted, I’ve only seen Barnes perform with Cannibal on video, but I’d go so far as to say that Corpsegrinder suits the band far more than his predecessor, that he was the missing piece needed to make Cannibal Corpse perfect. His complete lack of onstage bullshit suits the band’s sense of inevitable no-frills brutality—the dude stands there like an unmovable slab of hate, hair almost obscuring those hard glaring eyes, neck thicker than your thigh, and he just screams at you. While he may headbang furiously or raise a clawed hand to accentuate the right lyric, Fisher really just holds fast, grounds himself, and tirelessly delivers one roared and gurgled tribute to violence after another. It’s an incredible lesson in stamina, but also in stage presence; Corpsgrinder doesn’t need to do mid-air splits or ride foam dragons, he just needs to stand there and bellow. And given that he’s been part of the band during their recent popular renaissance within the scene, one cannot help but respect him as one of the better frontmen out there.
One commonly mentioned fact in recent years is that Fisher was the basis for Dethklok’s fictional frontman Nathan Explosion, which is wholly unsurprising. When you picture a death metal band that takes over the world in the name of true brutality, George Fisher is on the mic.
THE LIST SO FAR:
#14: Chance Garnette (Skeletonwitch)
#15: Vincent Bennet (The Acacia Strain)
#16: Mike Patton
#17: Tony Foresta (Municipal Waste)
#18: Joe Duplantier (Gojira)
#19: Oderus Urungus (Gwar)
#20: Nergal (Behemoth)
#21: Jens Kidman (Meshuggah)
#22: J.R. Hayes (Pig Destroyer)
#23: Jamey Jasta (Hatebreed)
#24: Travis Ryan (Cattle Decapitation, Murder Construct)
#25: Chino Moreno (Deftones)