The final album of the Chris Barnes era, The Bleeding continues the trajectory Cannibal Corpse had established during their early-'90s heyday, that being a progressively over-the-top approach to gore-themed death metal that pushed the envelope in every imaginable way, from cover art to song titles to the music itself. The cover art here, as usual, speaks for itself, as do elaborate song titles like "Stripped, Raped, and Strangled," "Staring Through the Eyes of the Dead," and "Force Fed Broken Glass." (Though it's probably obvious, it's worth noting for novices that this stuff isn't for the lighthearted and shouldn't be taken too seriously, even if songs titles like "She Was Asking for It" perhaps go too far, even for this genre.) However, it's the music itself that is perhaps most notable, or at least what should be, especially given the key addition of guitarist Rob Barrett (in place of Bob Rusay), who co-writes a number of songs and plays on all of them. Ace producer Scott Burns gives the album a wonderful sheen that instantly sets Cannibal Corpse apart from most of the other death metal bands out there in 1994. The riffs absolutely grind, just as the rhythms pulverize and the vocals thunder. And it's indeed the thundering vocals of Barnes that make The Bleeding so special, definitely one of the standout death metal albums of the mid-'90s -- he's one of the best growlers in the business, and his subsequent departure (to join Six Feet Under) would be a gaping one, albeit one that wouldn't prevent Cannibal Corpse from lumbering on for many more years with their colorful madness.
AllMusic Review by Jason Birchmeier