Carcass

Diesel 11

As you scream into the web of silence...
While I'm taking a breather from Buckethead for a while, I've decided to go through other discographies, and first off is Carcass. Didn't see a thread for them, and they're not strictly death metal, so what the hell, giving them their own thread.

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Reek of Putrefaction

The band's first album, lots of shorter songs, 22 of them in fact. Was quite interested in seeing how different it is from their death metal offerings, but that also kinda put me off as well.

Pros:
—There are a lot of songs here, as I already said, a grand total of 22 (11 on each side). However, they're all pretty short, which, as is the case for many albums with many short songs, it goes by fast.
—I enjoy when Steer and Walker pass the vocals back and forth, and if I heard correctly this album has no shortage of that. Side 1 is particularly cool.

Cons:
—As I've said, lots of short songs. Lots. This means that there's little in the way of individuality and it does get samey fast.
—Side 2's vocals sound a lot more like regurgitation and whatnot, which I'm sure they like given the song titles, but it's not what I'm in the business for.
—The production is shit. It sounds like fucking black metal, and that's not what I want.

So as a whole, it's not perfect by a long shot, but I'm willing to put that aside because it's their debut. Would I return to this? Yeah, I probably would. Was an interesting listen.

Rating: 6/10
 

Diesel 11

As you scream into the web of silence...
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Symphonies of Sickness

This is a more standard album, but I'm not sure if I prefer it. Reek had a kind of charm to it for all its shortcomings, but this one... I dunno. Longer songs don't automatically make for a good album, but it's decent. Still, I don't think I'll come back to it too often.

Rating: 6/10
 

Diesel 11

As you scream into the web of silence...
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Necroticism - Descanting the Insalubrious

This was excellent. Corporeal Jigsore Quandary is one of my favorite songs, though when I first heard the others on here I was underwhelmed. Listening to the entire album though - very enjoyable. It's easy to see why it's a favorite. It'll probably become one of mine given enough listenings. Nice shit. Or should I say, "Unpresumptuous feculence"? I love the thesaurus.

Rating: 9/10
 

Diesel 11

As you scream into the web of silence...
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Heartwork

It's certainly different from the stuff they did before this, and yet it's still not a bad album. Very nice riffing, great growls, and this time there were three definite highlights - "Buried Dreams", "No Love Lost", and "Heartwork". "Buried Dreams" really caught me off guard - it's an amazing song, probably now one of my favorites from them. "No Love Lost" was the song that basically got me to give them another chance - I heard "Corporeal" and "Heartwork", thought they were okay, but didn't like the other songs by them I heard. Then I heard "No Love Lost" and realized I was missing out. As for the title track, I've heard it numerous times so there's that. All in all, very good album. Not as good as Necroticism but very good indeed.

Rating: 9/10
 

soundwave

Educated Fool
No love lost is an awesome song. I know a lot of people wrote them off with this record because of the grooves and the production, but I thought it was badass.
 

Diesel 11

As you scream into the web of silence...
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Swansong

Not as bad as what many say, the opening "Keep On Rotting In The Free World" is an awesome song. Still, a step down from the level they had hit with Necroticism and Heartwork. Gets old after a while, but an enjoyable listen overall. Guitars aren't as good, neither are lyrics, but the vocals are still perfection.

Rating: 8/10
 

Diesel 11

As you scream into the web of silence...
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Surgical Steel

And six albums later, my Carcass listenings have come to a close. My issue with Surgical Steel is that the production is off. The cover makes you expect an awesome death metal album that's shiny, crisp, and clean. Look, I don't want a heavy metal album, but I do think the production could have been a little different. It makes the songs seem kind of a drag. But that's not to say it isn't a good album. "Captive Bolt Pistol" and "Mount of Execution" are both good songs, and "Noncompliance To ASTM F899-12 Standard" has got to be the greatest song title ever. Ever. Still, could have been a little better, placing it in the same category as Swansong.

Rating: 8/10

Overall Conclusion

I enjoyed listening through these! Carcass are a popular band for a reason and they've crafted together quite a career. Will definitely be coming back to them again.
 

Wayne Bond

Educated Fool
Carcass are a superb band and one that will hold a place in my top 10 bands of all time. I remember getting into them just before necroticism was released. Reek was a bit of a joke album along with the first 2 napalm death records. No coherent structure to any of the songs at all. Symphonies of sickness however was a big step up in my eyes and sounded great.

Then the video for incarnated solvent abuse started getting some regular play on mtv’s headbangers ball. That song was brilliant. The addition of Michael Amott was a master stroke and the song writing was such a step up from the first two albums it was almost like a new band. That album is one of the finest death metal albums of all time in my eyes and one of my favourite ever albums.

Heartwork was another slice of brilliance and almost the equal of necroticism. I also enjoyed swan song a lot despite the obvious stylistic change to try and be a bit more commercial.

Surgical steel is a great album and only slightly below necroticism and heartwork for me. It was great to hear new music after all these years.

I wish they would tour more as sadly my one and only time I got to see them was spoiled by a bit too much to drink as it was one of my mates birthdays on the night of the gig and we over celebrated a bit. Woke up the next morning and could barely remember the gig. They seem to be content just playing the festivals now and don’t seem to tour properly.

Oh well, time to go and blast some carcass now!
 

Diesel 11

As you scream into the web of silence...
New Carcass song!


Great one to jam too. Not one of their faster songs but lovely trudge to it and a lot of old school vibes. Really digging it.
 

karljant

Ancient Mariner
Carcass discography flash review:

Reek Of Putrefaction: Dirty, fast and disgusting ROP simply created a subgenre of grind that bands only had the guts (no pun intended) to rip off several years later (Gore Grind). I confess I'm not a fan of the formula and sound but still a well needed stepping stone on their evolution and a hell of an influential record. For that alone I'll give it 5/10 points.

Symphonies Of Sickness: Now things start to evolve and take a more elaborate approach. While still dwelling in the universe created in the previous album and being gory and dirty as hell, SOS is way more polished and portraits a band trying to bring new elements to their sound. Reek Of Putrefaction, Exhume To Consume and Ruptured In Purulence are great examples of that. 6.25/10

Necroticism - Descanting The Insalubrious:
OMFG! I had the privilege to have this some days after it came out and man... nothing prepared me for what I was about to experience. To this very day this is THE Carcass album as far as I'm concerned and still listen to it often almost 30 years after. First and foremost this thing is stunningly well composed and played and there's not a single filler from start to finish. The melodic death metal traits mixed with some grind passages, the eerie thematic, gloomy intros and almost indecipherable forensic terminology makes out of Necroticism one of extreme metal's best releases EVER (if not the best) without shadow of doubt! 9.25/10

Heartwork:
After such a masterpiece Heartwork had everything to seem feeble but fact is it didn't. The band put even more relevance to their melodic death metal vein, even getting a bit of a rock and roll vibe here and there and continued to write amazing tracks. Blast beats can still be heard here and there but only as a secondary trait. This album is really guitar melody prone and in thatr regard it's simply stunning. Lyrically you won't need a pathological dictionary by your side anymore to understand what Jeff is talking about. Put it simple: it's once again an evolution regarding the previous album and is still a landmark in heavy music (and rightfully so). Another Carcass win hands down. 9/10

Swansong:
In an era when lots of death metal acts were trying to mix other styles to their recipe (mainly retro metal/ rock creating the "Death and roll" movement) Carcass found that it would be the natural evolution regarding the evolution from Necroticism to Heartwork (and if we think about it for a second it makes perfect sense). One could fear they would become another new trend bandwagon jumper but this is Carcass. And Carcass is special. Keep On Rotting In The Free World; Tomorrow Belongs To Nobody, Child's Play, Polarized, R**k The Vote or Go To Hell are tracks so wll crafted and full of hooks that even the most avid fan of their last two albums can't help but fall in love with Swansong. 8.75/10

Surgical Steel:
After Swansong came out, Bill left the band and the remainder of the guys still released an excellent and even more experimental approach to Swansong's blueprint (under the name of Black Star and their excellent Barbed Wire Soul) and then called it quits. Several years after Steer and Walker buried the axe and Carcass was back (unfortunately without the drum stick magus that was Ken Owen who suffered a brain hemorrhage that limited his performance permanently). And in a no time Surgical Steel was born. The intro 1985 and the opener Thrashers Abbatoir are masterfully reworked from their first early tapes and for the rest of the album we're offered basically a mix between Necroticism and Heartwork. Don't get me wrong... this is extremely well played material but it sounds derivative and used. For the first time Carcass is far from surprising me. Nevertheless songs like Captive Bolt Pistol and Noncompliance are still really enjoyable and what the heck: these guys reinvented themselves in 4(!) consecutive albums and who am I to bitch about them not doing so after a 17 year hiatus? 7.75/10
 
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Diesel 11

As you scream into the web of silence...
The Scavenger's Guide to the Carcass Chronology
(aka Diesel's Run-Through 2021)

A new Carcass album comes out on Friday, and I'm going to take some time to dive deep into the band's overall discography somewhat like Mosh did for Iron Maiden recently. Aside from the six core albums (soon to be seven!), I'll also spin some EPs, demos, live material, and whatnot to get a better impression of the band's overall career. I'm starting with the band's first release and will lead up right to their most recent one once it drops. No clue how long this will take but I don't intend to take too much time. Probably seven posts in total so a week's worth of listening? Anyways, let's begin!

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Flesh Ripping Sonic Torment (1987)
Carcass's debut demo is kind of interesting because it's the only release of theirs to feature original vocalist Sanjiv. I won't even lie here, his presence on this demo quite clearly showcases how much better Jeff Walker is. Sanjiv just sounds like a run of the mill growler. His vocals turn the band into dimestore extreme metal. It's deeper than Jeff's, but has so much less bite and personality to it. The band is much better for him being just a one-off on this album.

Apart from Sanjiv, though, there's very little reason to listen to this demo. The songs got re-recorded for their first actual album and the sound quality of this release is so bad there's no need to spin it except for completists. The songs all blur together into one horrible fuzz, and I can only recall offhand finding one single track decent. You can tell that behind the din this is certainly Carcass, but it's a young Carcass that needs a chance to prove themselves. They haven't cemented themselves yet at all.

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Reek of Putrefaction (1988)
Reek is a pretty big step up from the demo. The key is undoubtedly the production. Sure, it's still pretty shite, but everything sounds so much clearer now by comparison that it really doesn't matter so much. There's a much roomier sound echoing through as the guitars mingle with the drums to create an awful racket. In a good way. Bill Steer pretty much acts as the lead vocalist here. His voice is similar to Sanjiv's in that it's much deeper than Jeff's, but it has a lot more personality to it and I like it.

But speaking of Jeff, he is certainly here too, trading off lines with Bill to keep things varied. His voice isn't fully ironed out yet. At times he sounds like a young David Vincent from Morbid Angel (especially in the final track), and at others times he even throws in high pitched squeals just because he can. Both Bill and Jeff constantly seem to try to one-up each other in the 'gruesome' department, throwing in all sorts of stomach-churning gargles to really make this feel more grotesque than it already is.

And boy, is this ever grotesque. At this point in time, the band members were going by the names of "Frenzied Fornicator of Fetid Fetishes and Sickening Grisly Fetes" (Jeff), "Grume Gargler and Eviscerator of Maturated Neoplasm" (Ken), and "Gratuitously Brutal Asphixator of Ulcerated Pyoxanthous Goitres" (Bill). As if that wasn't enough, they came up with song titles to match that energy. "Genital Grinder", "Carbonized Eye Sockets", "Vomited Anal Tract", "Oxidised Razor Masticator", and 18 other gory songs make up this tracklist. This was a Carcass with an intent on sickening the masses, and coupled with the album cover, a collage assembled from real pictures of real autopsies, they almost certainly succeeded with that idea.

One thing I love so much about early Carcass is how much deeper they pull than a lot of their extreme metal peers. Reading through the lyrics is like reading through a medical dictionary twisted sickly into psychopathic territory. So many medical terms float around, harnessed just so Carcass can growl about eviscerating your hollow corpse or some shit like that. So many English words that you didn't think existed. And all coughed up and spewed across the listener like a sideshow attraction turned sour. Man.

But I must say that the downside to this album is that every song kind of blends together. With the shortest track a mere 22 seconds and the longest just over 3 minutes, these 22 songs work together as a collage a la the album cover, but don't stick out much on their own. It's a fairly fun forty minute journey, but also not one that I can blast every single day. In fact, I think the album works best for me as background music, to add a dash of that gruesome extreme metal noise without needing to get really invested in the music, which is just riffing and blast beats (with the rare solo coming in and cutting right through the raw and spacious production).

All in all though, I do like this album quite a fair amount. It's nothing like what Carcass would solidify themselves to be as they evolved with the coming years, but there is something endearing about the nature of this record. It's a good sign of things to come - just don't get too invested in this aspect of Carcass's music. Their songs won't be this short, snappy, and brutal again.

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Symphonies of Sickness (1988)
This demo, released the same year as Reek, bridges the gap between that album and the one to follow, Symphonies of Sickness (same name as this recording). The production is pretty bad - some songs and moments are louder than others, for instance - but I think it fits the music quite well. It's somewhat cavernous, tinged with darkness, and feels more horrific than Carcass has been yet. The cover of this record looks like what the actual recordings sound like.

I actually think this is a step up from Reek, although it's somewhat close. The band's compositional approach has matured, the riffs now have more emphasis than sheer blast, and all three members take turns on vocals. The songs are now longer and feel more satisfying, particularly "Embryonic Necropsy and Devourment", which even has some tasty guitar solos. "Crepitation Bowel Erosion", the demo's final track, sounds like an eruption from the bowels of hell. The sound works with the material.

It's far from perfect though. Lack of proper structure holds back some of this material. "Ruptured in Purulence" is honestly kind of boring. But the deciding factor that bumps this one up above Reek is simply its length. Its 24 minutes help make it a more enjoyable experience and I can't even say that I'd use this as background music because I was bobbing my head for most of the duration. I'm interested in revisiting the full Symphonies of Sickness album tomorrow (every song on here is re-recorded on there), and seeing if it's better or worse than this bite-sized portion of the full plate.
 

Diesel 11

As you scream into the web of silence...
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The Peel Sessions (1989)
This EP features content from the John Peel Show on British Radio One. Several extreme metal bands were doing this series at the time, and Carcass were no exception. If you like your goregrind grimy and filthy then this is certainly for you. However, I unfortunately don't think I'm quite the target audience for this. All four of these songs already appeared on the Symphonies of Sickness demo, and only "Crepitating Bowel Erosion", the opening song, is done better here. It has a real sense of that filthy raw sound and does something cool with it.

Every song that succeeds it just has worse and worse quality. "Reek of Putrefaction" does stand out because of its excellent, classic, memorable Bill Steer riff, but otherwise the highlights are few and far between. It's a shame they couldn't capture the same sound of the first track, or - sigh - have better songs on here. It's a little disappointing overall, but it's also fine I guess. I'll probably come back to the first track and not much else from here.

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Symphonies of Sickness (1989)
From the very moment this record kicks off, with the immense opener of "Reek of Putrefaction", you can already tell that Carcass have stepped up into another league. Some of that is due to the atmosphere they're cultivating - the slow building intro featuring all sorts of swoops and dives before heading into the riff - we didn't hear this stuff in both of the recordings we had prior to this album, and yet these are the same damn songs! It's so good to hear them fully fleshed out at last and with better production to boot.

With this album, Bill Steer really cements himself as one of the best riff-masters in metal. His dirty but roaring guitar just eats through the speakers and god does it sound good. If your head isn't moving up and down to the music at all during this album, then something's wrong with you. It really grabs your attention and takes you on a ride and boy is it fun.

Bill also does a lot of the vocal work on this record, but this is the first time we're really hearing what Jeff Walker's got in store for us with future Carcass albums. Alongside Bill's riffs, his dicing vocals define the band for me. Which isn't to leave Ken Owens out of the picture - his clinical approach to the drumkit is another highlight, and all three members really come into their own with Symphonies of Sickness. Special praise must be given to Ken for the little sprinkles of the ride cymbal that he puts on some of these tracks. So good.

The songs here are far more intense and involving than before. So many little details to love, like the pauses in "Embryonic Necropsy and Devourment", or the outro riffs in "Excoriating Abdominal Emanation" and "Ruptured in Purulence", where you almost wish those riffs lasted even longer. And "Empathological Necroticism" might be the best song here - riff after riff of just godtier excellence. There's few guitar solos on the record but because the riffs are so good it barely matters.

I will say, though, that while Side A is damn near perfect, Side B does start to run a little long and holds the record back from truly being the be-all-end-all Carcass album like a lot of fans would say. Still, it's such a step up from everything they've done to this point, and it's really fantastic to see them evolving into something more than just a shock-grind band. What they execute excellently here will be perfected soon.
 

Diesel 11

As you scream into the web of silence...
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Live at St. George's Hall, Bradford, UK, November 15, 1989 (1989/2008)
St. George's Hall, Bradford, 15/11/89 is a three song, ten minute live EP from 1989, but I was unable to find that original edition. Instead I found this 2008 release featuring the full concert, all 29 minutes of it. There are six tracks here (although two of them are medleys) and therefore gives a better overall impression of live Carcass during the Symphonies era.

As interested as this recording is to hear, it's also not very good. I think it's the worst thing since Flesh Ripping Sonic Torment. The sound quality is a new low, it's incredible bad and inconsistent. One moment you have raw and fuzzed guitars and the next vocals come out on top choppily. The band do play a pretty tight set, but it's ultimately not something I'm going to come back to often if at all. Only for hardcore fans.

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Necroticism - Descanting the Insalubrious (1991)
This is it. This is fucking it. Everything built up to this. Whether Necroticism or Heartwork tops your list, it's hard to argue that they aren't the pinnacle of Carcass's career. This is the record where Carcass truly becomes Carcass. Adding in Swedish guitarist Michael Amott (who would go on to found Arch Enemy after Carcass disbanded in the '90s) really seals the deal. Everything about this album fucking kills. It's one of the finest pieces of extreme metal ever recorded and deserves so much praise.

If ever there was an album to argue in favor of extreme metal's musicality, this is it. The riffs are truly among the finest ever written. Bill and Michael just nail it time and time again. The dirty but polished guitar sound makes every track spring to life. It almost makes me want to cry thinking about it. I don't usually place a heavy, heavy emphasis on riffs because I believe that it's the entirety of the song that's important, not just one specific aspect - but all eight of these songs are constructed from tons and tons of riffs that just blow my fucking mind with each one that sweeps in. They're all perfect and it amazes me how on point the band is consistently constantly throughout this record.

And the impeccable musicianship doesn't end there. In the guitar department, adding in a second guitarist means there's so much more room for leads and god to both of the boys deliver. Bill plays more straightforward but beautifully maneuvered leads while Michael isn't adverse to dipping into some shreds, and both of them complement each other so so well. And the drumming on this album is awesome. Ken throws in so many fills and gives what could otherwise feel like stale blast beats a lot of personality with surgical precision.

In the vocal department we know have Jeff really ascending to the podium as the band's true frontman. His razor sharp voice guides the music immensely. Everything works so well that while I can respect those who dislike harsh vocals, I can't comprehend it at the same time. Not with Carcass. The vocals are amazingly ripping, dicing, mangling, fucking cool as shit. And Bill isn't gone, mind - he pops up and plays around with Jeff on the mics to devastating effect.

This is the album where Carcass really played the part of pathologists. Every song bar the last two opens with some morgue speak spoken word piece which really adds to the overall vibe of the album. (I do wonder why they didn't have that intro in those last two songs though; seems slightly inconsistent, although it doesn't hurt the album any.) And with every member of the band playing precisely and deviously it really makes them seem like surgeons dissecting your skull.

All the songs rule. The opener "Inpropogation" verges on prog territory with its shifting moods, changing from mid-paced tempos to breakneck speed at the flip of a dime (and also throws in some haunting atmospherics). On "Symposium of Sickness", Bill and Jeff act the parts of salesmen advertising their pernicious hobbies publicly. "Pedigree Butchery" throws in some really interesting and melodic quieter bits towards the end. "Corporal Jigsore Quandary" and "Incarnate Solvent Abuse", which both had music videos made, are two extreme metal masterpieces, with the latter having possibly my favorite riff of all time. "Carneous Cacoffiny" moves forward deftly with mid-paced thrashy riffage, "Lavaging Expectorate of Lysergide Composition" places a high emphasis on instrumental work, and "Forensic Clinicism / The Sanguine Article" closes out the record with one final romp in the office.

What's not to love about this album, man? I don't think it's quite perfect but it also has no major flaws that I can see. It's better structured, better assembled, better performed, more fun, more intense, and just overall better than anything else they released up to this point. It's also one of the best albums in all of the extreme metal genres, let alone death metal. It shows a constantly evolving band nailing the styles they fluctuate to, and while their restlessness and yearn to prove themselves will lead them in even more directions going forward, this is a masterpiece of the style and deserves to be heralded as such. Long live the bloody Carcass.
 

Diesel 11

As you scream into the web of silence...
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Tools of the Trade (1992)
A short little EP released in the gap year between Necroticism and Heartwork, Tools of the Trade is a bit of a continuation of that first album mixed with a bit of Symphony of Sickness's style. In a way, that almost makes it a good introduction to the band for newcomers. The highlight is the opening title track "Tools of the Trade", where Jeff screeches his list of utensils into the microphone in a whirlwind of heavy metallic awesomeness. There's also some cool melodic solos within this one as well.

We also get "Incarnated Solvent Abuse" again, and a re-recording of "Pyosified", the latter of which is quite decent and is probably better than the original. "Hepatic Tissue Fermentation II" closes us out with a nearly seven minute runtime. There's some snags along the way but it builds from sheer mania into a deeply dark and slower atmosphere which I really like. Wish it kept building and didn't fade out.

As a whole it's a good EP and the best of the non-albums we've gotten through so far. It's not perfect but it's a fun listen, and at under 20 minutes in length there's no reason you shouldn't check it out. If you like Carcass then you'll likely like this, and if you're new to the band then this is a good little taster of some of their various styles.

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Heartwork (1993)
Carcass started as a band aiming to gorify the world, but gradually started shifting their approach to writing music. Every Carcass album sounds different from the last - Reek is all about fast bites of the grotesque; Symphonies works with longer stitchings of goregrind; Necroticism irons out that sound with better song structures. Each seems like a positive shift forward for the band. But then Heartwork dropped, and suddenly anyone's guess as to where Carcass was going next had to be scrubbed. For a band that was consistently inconsistent, this was something completely different.

However. It also fucking rules.

Where Necroticism breached into prog territory at points, Heartwork shows them streamlining their sound, yet upping the intensity at the same time. I know I keep saying every Carcass album is more intense than the last, but it's so true. The song structures here are more typical ones (verse/pre-chorus/chorus), but they help keep things in-your-face and able to stick out to the casual listener better. The guitars sound completely stacked. It's an impressive wall of sound that never lets up. Each song runs right into the next one with only seconds of rest between them. And although these songs are shorter than on the previous album (most are under the four minute mark; the longest is five and a half), they cover so much ground that it's almost surprising.

This is the first album where Bill doesn't provide any vocals and leaves everything to Jeff. Although I do miss his input a lot, it ends up working out as Jeff ravages the mic will Bill and Michael truly showcase their talents as a guitar duo. There are shades of Harris and Murray here, and Mustaine and Friedman there, yet they never feel like their leaching off of those guitarists. This is still a genuine Steer / Amott sound for sure. They just use those influences to cultivate an intense yet melodic sound that grabs you instantly.

So what about the songs here? They're all fucking excellent. This is a record to headbang to for sure. From the opening, drawn-out punch of "Buried Dreams", to the closing "Death Certificate", which leaves as fast as it enters, you're riding a wave of ten excellent melodic death metal mastercrafts. Whether you're rocking out to the darkly musical title track, the gripping semi-epic "Embodiment", or the fantastic riffage in "No Love Lost", it's hard not to get moving. Additionally, Carcass paint terrifying pictures throughout, with "Carnal Forge" sounding like a battlefield erupting, and "Arbeit macht Fleisch" feeling as intense as a militaristic assembly line.

Lyrically, the band strays somewhat from the pathological approach in favor of explorations of topical issues. There are definitely bits you'll need a dictionary for, but by and large they shift into wordplay a lot more, often saying the same line more than once, but with a change of just a word or two. "Arbeit macht Fleisch" is a good example of this - a well-known phrase changed to highlight a bigger amount of despair. Genius, honestly.

This was the band's only major label release, and god did they really use that for everything it's worth. It's hard to pick between Necroticism and Heartwork because both records are nigh on perfect - shocking that a band could so successfully accomplish that when the two sound so different, but that's Carcass for you. I think I'm tentatively going to give Heartwork the edge though, because it wastes no time throughout and is both compact and well executed throughout. In the world of metal as a whole, both albums are proof that Carcass belong with the greats. Truly a fantastic pair of records that will give you years of enjoyment. I really can't praise them enough.
 

karljant

Ancient Mariner
Carcass - Torn Arteries:

As I wrote before, I am a Carcass a fan since 1991 and up to their break up (and even including the Black Star project) Carcass was all about power, great riffage and latter excellent melodies, virtuoso playing, groove and song composing. But There was one aspect these dudes added to their arsenal that made their records sound absolutely magical: EVOLUTION. After helping to define the Grindcore genre Carcass couldn't make 2 similar records and absolutely nailed every new costume they dressesed (and even helped creating some new sub genres). Want some Death Metal where melody and chaos go along in a creepy as fuck pathological ambiance? Here you have Necroticism. What's now? Melodic Death Metal with gorgeous leads versing on the dark side of humanity? Heartwork. Death N' Roll with tons of groove and amazing leads dealing with social issues? Swansong. And then for my dismay and many others Carcass disbanded. (Hey... if you want to include Barbed Wire Soul as an extension of the now buried Carcass - no pun intended - add a Sax, even more groove, an obsession with sabbath like riffs and personal lyrics).

So when the band got together again and later released Surgical Steel I was eager to listen to it. And yes... Amazing riffage? Check! Great leads? Check! Sounds like Carcass? Check! But the more I listened to it the more I noticed there something was kinda off. And that's when it hit me: one of the ingredients that I always loved in the band was missing: EVOLUTION. Up to Swansong, not only they wrere enchanting me with their sound but always managed to SURPRISE ME. And as much of a great record with great riffs and leads Surgical Steel is it is basically built upon Heartwork's template with some Necroticism chops here and there. And although being kind of an accessory aspect, the lyrics themselves are a re ash of their first 3 albums. So much that the two songs I like the most is the opening combo 1985/ Thrasher's Abattoir which is a remake of two songs written in 1985. Also like Captive Bolt Pistol, 316L Surgical Steel and Noncompliance to ASTM F 899 12 standard (man even the song titles sound like stuff from their first records). Now, since it was their first record in 17 years I kinda enjoyed it for what it was since I regarded it as a blessing from a band I honestly wasn't seeing recorning a new album ever again. So that was the only great surprise Carcass offered me with that new release.

And that leads us to Torn Arteries and what it brought to my table? To be fair it's pretty much reminiscent of Surgical Steel with all its virtues but also all the same atavisms and almost the same molde. Neverteless for this one the band also recovered some of their groovier Swansong era sound and put it to the mix (while preserving the pathological theme all over once again). And to be fair the songs where these elements are more noticeable are the ones I enjoyed the most: In God We Trust, Dance Of Ixtab, Under The Scalpel Blade, Wake Up And Smell the Carcass are truly cool and well penned acts. And yeah.. there are some intros and interludes where the band threads new ground like The Scythe's Remorseless Swing or Flesh Ripping Sonic Torment or even the clapping in In God we Trust. And BTW we're presented here and there with lots of energy like on the opening track. But even regarding those tracks when it comes to their bulk it resides massively in stuff they've already done.

So do I like Torn Arteries? Yes, I find it overall enjoyable. Is it well played? Sure, no question about it. Now does it fulfills what I expect from Carcass and the high regard I have for them? I think not because once again the band built an album solely based upon things they have already explored. I don't know if it is to please their more elitist fans since I remember Swansong kinda got some flak when it was released (I personally loved it... it's no Necroticism but truly loved it). And one of the reasons I loved it is precisely because I knew that trying to do again something along the lines of albums like Necroticism or even Heartwork would seem an underachievement no matter how well written or played it would've been. And now with Torn Arteries and Surgical Steel released I am DEAD CERTAIN about this.

So yeah... Torn Arteries is indeed a cool record but lacks the excitement of novelty a new Carcass album used to cause on me when I put the new record to play and went "Wow... Carcass doing this? And it sounds GREAT!". I don't like to compare different genres but check another veteran band with a well defined style that recently released a new album: Iron Maiden. Do I think Senjutsu's much more energetic or better played than Torn Arteries? No I don't. But even following an established formula, Maiden can still add new stuff to their bag like the tribal war song that is the title track or the southern rock vibes of Writing On The Wall. And I can't say the same about Torn Arteries. And bear in mind: Carcass and Maiden were bands that evolved from record to record in their early days. But while Maiden started following a formula roughly at their 12th, 13th album (you have the two Di'Anno records , then Number Of The Beast, Piece Of Mind and Powerslave where they cemented their signature 80's sound, The synth and keyboard epic experiments of Seventh Son and Somewhere In Time, the more Rock stuff from the early 90's, the gloominess and darkness of The X Factor and finally Brave New World And Dance Of Death kinda revamping their sound for this century), Carcass seems content on doing roughly the same thing after their 5th record.

And hey... Not that this more established type of Carcass is a mandatory sign of worst Carcass. If that's what the band anfd the majority of fans truly enjoy, fine... more power to them. But as far as I'm concerned Carcass without the surprise effect loses a lot of its charm no matter how well played it is. 7.5/10
 
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Forostar

Ancient Mariner
Does any (old) band surprise us (a lot) these days ("wow are they doing this")? It's rare.
If that expectation (or wish) is stripped away, a lot could be left. Great melodies, solos, atmosphere, riffs. Can this be special these days, still?
No? Then all that is left is a bleak gloomy look at the beauty of music.
 

karljant

Ancient Mariner
Does any (old) band surprise us (a lot) these days ("wow are they doing this")? It's rare.
If that expectation (or wish) is stripped away, a lot could be left. Great melodies, solos, atmosphere, riffs. Can this be special these days, still?
No? Then all that is left is a bleak gloomy look at the beauty of music.
Maiden can still add new stuff to their bag like the tribal war song that is the title track or the southern rock vibes of Writing On The Wall.
... and I can name many more.
 

Night Prowler

Customer Deathcycle Manager
Staff member
Does any (old) band surprise us (a lot) these days ("wow are they doing this")? It's rare.
Judas Priest tried with Nostradamus and everyone hated it (I didn't), so I kinda understand bands not wanting to chance it.

I listened to the new Carcass album; I'm not a big fan but it was an enjoyable listen. Nothing groundbreaking but it was fun.
 

karljant

Ancient Mariner
Judas Priest tried with Nostradamus and everyone hated it (I didn't), so I kinda understand bands not wanting to chance it.

I listened to the new Carcass album; I'm not a big fan but it was an enjoyable listen. Nothing groundbreaking but it was fun.
Exactly @Night Prowler. BTW although not thinking it's Priest's finest hour (yet far from hating it and thinking it's Priest's worst album) I gave the band props for being so daring this deep on their career. Jugulator was also on hell of a change with its almost Salyeresque heaviness. Same with Turbo's synths and poppy vibe. But there are other examples:

WASP - Compare their first 3 albums with The Headless Children and The Crimson Idol. And then compare it with KFD (BTW these are my 3 favorite albums by the band). 90's WASP was indeed a box of surprises the biggest of them was KFD when they were already deep on their careers.

Paradise Lost - Started as Death Doom, by their 4th album they were Gothic Metal, by their 6th Alternative Goth Rock with electronics and then going full Electro Rock on Host. Their sound shifted through 10 albums during a 15 year span before coming back to Doom Gothic.

Anathema - Start as a Doom Metal band, by their 4th album they're with an acoustic and Alternative Goth Metal under their bag and by their 7th they're already a soft Prog/ Atmospheric band. After that they floated between folk, prog, alternative and even athmospheric music. They disbanded this year but fact is since their inception in 1990 no one knew what Anathema was really going to do next.

Devin Townsend - Always shape shifting since 1995... one of the most unpredictable artists in metal.

Ihsahn - Same as above.

Enslaved - After starting as a Black / Viking Metal band these guys throughout the ages started adding stuff like psychedelia, Folk and Prog just to name a few. Almost every album released since their debut in 1994 has something different.

Ulver- Another legend former Nowegian Black Metal act. Now these dudes are absolutely unpredictable. Started by making an entire folk album, then went through experimental rock and psychedelia. They have Art rock albums, Electronic Albums and 100% ambient music albums. Another case of veterans you never know what to expect from. Always changing styles since 1995.

Celtic Frost - first two records are Thrash/Black, then Heavy Metal with some Goth influences on Into The Pandemonium, Hard Rock on Cold Lake, Heavy Metal on Vanity Nemesis. After 16 years of silence the band finally returned with whatever is that dark and heavy multitude of demonic sounds on Monotheist that blew every single fan of extreme metal away (ah there's still the Prototype demos from 2002: Industrial Rock). 22 years without knowing where the band was going next.

Bathory - Quorthon made 3 albums of Black Metal, then almost invented the Viking Metal on his own and by Blood On Ice the man was releasing a pure nordic epic heavy metal record.

Opeth - Started as Prog Black Death, then Prog Death (released an acoustic record along the way) and ended up becoming a pure prog/ psychedelia retro band.

Pantera - Started as Glam Rock, became Heavy/ Speed Metal, then groovy Thrash Metal, invented what would be called Groove Metal getting heavier each album they released.

Sepultura - Early Black, then Thrash, then Death Thrash, Groove/Thrash, Nu-Metal with batucada, and returning to Groove/ Thrash since the mid 2000's with increasing prog undertones.

These are only few I can recall of now. And notice I only mentioned Metal bands... Because outside its boundaries when it comes to bands that are/ were constantly changing there's Yes, Pink Floyd, Peter Murphy, Zappa, The Cure, The Beatles, Depeche Mode among many others.
 
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