Florida death metallers CANNIBAL CORPSE will release their 15th studio album, "Violence Unimagined", on April 16 via Metal Blade Records. Erik Rutan, one of the death metal's most acclaimed guitarists who is known for his time as part of MORBID ANGEL throughout the '90s and early 2000s, as well as handling vocals/guitars for HATE ETERNAL, lent his guitar as well as production skills to the effort, which was recorded at his Mana Recording in St. Petersburg, Florida. Rutan previously produced four CANNIBAL CORPSE albums (in addition to "Violence Unimagined"), alongside the likes of GOATWHORE, SOILENT GREEN and BELPHEGOR. Filling in live on guitar since 2019, in 2020 he became a full member, contributing to the writing process.
Speaking to Eclectic Arts, CANNIBAL CORPSE guitarist Rob Barrett stated about Rutan's addition to the band (hear audio below): "We've been friends for so long, and I always thought, like, 'Wow, man. It would be cool to do a project with Erik some day.' It was always just in the back of my mind that it would be really cool doing something with him instead of just working with him on recording stuff. And now we're in a band together. So, yeah, it's just a great fit.
"I'm not intimidated by him at all," Rob explained. "I respect him as a guitar player, and I think we work well together. I respect his opinion, he respects mine, so I think we're both benefiting off of playing in a band together, 'cause we respect each other.
"I will add that he's definitely the better guitar player — I won't shy away from saying that — but it is what it is," he added. "We both have different things to offer. I'm not the best guitar player, but I think my strong point is songwriting. So that's where I come in."
Rutan joined CANNIBAL CORPSE as the replacement for longtime guitarist Pat O'Brien, who was arrested in Florida more than two years ago on charges of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer and burglary of an occupied dwelling with assault. Deputies said he burglarized a house and charged at a deputy with a knife.
O'Brien allegedly broke into a Northdale, Florida home on December 10, 2018 and shouted that "the rapture is coming" before pushing a woman to the ground. He ran toward a responding deputy with a knife and was subdued with a stun gun.
Less than half a mile from where O'Brien was arrested, a fire broke out at the house he was renting, sending flames billowing into the night sky from the roof. Fire marshals found a large cache of weapon, locked safes and potential explosive devices inside O'Brien's home.
The owner of the home where O'Brien was arrested wouldn't go on camera but told ABC Action News he thought the guitarist was hallucinating when he spoke to him and claimed "someone was after him." The homeowner added O'Brien seemed scared and at one point even hid in his closet.