Cannibal Corpse Singer Paul Mazurkiewicz is the Dexter of Heavy Metal Lyrics

For many local fans of death metal, the biggest show of the year is happening on Friday, March 11, at Club Red in Mesa. There will be lots and lots of growling vocals, double bass drums, and dual guitar attacks drowning out the bass lines. The legendary purveyors of the deepest, darkest, dead body-desecrating music ever created, Cannibal Corpse (of Tampa, Florida by way of Buffalo, New York), are headlining the most completely ridiculous lineup ever with Obituary (also from Tampa); Canada’s heaviest death dealers, Cryptopsy; and Abysmal Dawnfrom Los Angeles opening the show.

Seriously, this show is going to rock.

None of the bands on this bill are for the weak at heart, whether you like your death metal played with the technical precision usually reserved for the most intense neurosurgery, or if you like your lyrics to be about neurosurgery gone bad. If hearing a large, sweaty man dressed mostly in black scream about eating a heaping slab of maggot-infused brain matter is not appealing to you, you might want to stay away from Mesa this weekend.

For Paul Mazurkiewicz, who plays drums for Cannibal Corpse, and is a founding member of the band, this tour is all about getting out there and delivering a great show for the fans regardless of whether you call it metal, “death” metal, or something else. 
“On this tour, we’re all extreme heavy metal bands. Maybe it’s easier to call it that. We all do extreme forms of metal,” Mazurkiewicz says.

In fact, as the principal lyricist for the band, which also features George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher on vocals, Alex Webster on bass, Pat O’Brien on guitar, and Rob Barrett on guitar, all of Mazurkiewicz’s lyrics come from the recesses of his own mind and are not influenced by other bands at all.

“I’m in a great position for [writing lyrics] because I don’t listen to anything else. I don’t listen to what’s around me in the new sense. I have no idea what half of these bands are doing,” Mazurkiewicz shares.

There is something disarming about this, though. To speak to Mazurkiewicz, you might as well be speaking to an accountant. The man on the other end of the phone line speaks in the matter-of-fact tone of someone who would seemingly be more used to working with numbers than drumsticks. He has a style of speaking that features the measured bursts of someone truly accustomed to being interviewed and used to being on the defensive when asked about his lyrics, which are often about the violent removal of organs or someone all too eager to eat some flesh, whether it is dead or alive.

The father of a 10-year-old daughter, Mazurkiewicz isn’t concerned about how his child will perceive his pursuit of writing about corpse dismemberment.

“I think she is still too young for her to comprehend what is going on. She knows what I do, but you can’t talk to your kid in every [stage] of their life about everything that is going on with your life. … When I’m home, it’s completely the opposite of what I do. I’m not home blaring music ... It’s all separate. I believe there will come a time when she’s older where she might want to understand. My daughter is fully aware of what I do, but she’s not interested in it. In fact, she doesn’t like it and that’s okay. I want her to be her own person. She may get into it or she may not, and that’s fine,” Mazurkiewicz concludes.

While discussing the merits of Cannibal Corpse with a 10-year-old is probably not high on most people’s list of things to do, it chills the brain to think about explaining song titles like “Entrails Ripped from a Virgin’s Cunt” or “Orgasm Through Torture” to a tween.

Somewhere, Tipper Gore’s pencil is shaking at the thought of it.
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Tom Reardon has written for Phoenix New Times since 2013. He's been in several notable bands over the last 25 years including Hillbilly Devilspeak, North Side Kings, and the Father Figures.
Contact: Tom Reardon