09 September, 2013

Carcass: Surgical Steel – new album


(Hopefully you don’t depend on me for your breaking news.) CARCASS, one of “the first bands of the extreme metal genre to try a different lyrical approach - one that reflected a fascination with surgical gadgets and peculiar words straight out of a med student's textbook” (Greg Prato, AllMusic – more here), and one of grindcore's founding fathers, are back after way too many years with a new album. Fittingly called ‘Surgical Steel’, visualised by photographer Ian Tilton, the album is available for free listening below, courtesy that fine label Nuclear Blast Records. ‘Surgical Steel’, the band's first studio release since their 1996's LP ‘Swansong’, was produced by Colin Richardson and mixed and mastered by HELL's Andy Sneap. Joining the band's co-founder guitarist Bill Steer and bassist and vocalist Jeff Walker are TRIGGER THE BLOODSHED's Dan Wilding on drums and PIG IRON's Ben Ash on guitar. Do expect some guest vocals from CARCASS' co-founder and original sticksman Ken Owen as you click the play button. Out on September 13th, 2013 in Europe, on September 16th in the UK and on September the 17th in North America, ‘Surgical Steel’ awaits you here (Nuclear Blast Europe), here (Nuclear Blast US store), on iTunes, on Spotify and at Amazon's.

Hailing from Liverpool, England, CARCASS were formed in 1985 by singer and guitarist Bill Steer and drummer Ken Owen. As bassist, vocalist and known hunt saboteur, Jeff Walker, joined the worthy cause in 1987, a deal with Earache Records matrialised. Sharing vocal duties on the trio's debut LP, 1988's ‘Reek Of Putrefaction’, the band had been reportedly displeased with their debut album's production; ‘Reek Of Putrefaction’ nevertheless peaked at position number 6 on the UK Indie Chart, with BBC Radio One's John Peel declaring it his favourite album of the year, while AllMusic's Ned Raggett stressed CARCASS is “both one of the best and funniest bands around” (Example: “Your vagus implodes, as nausea strikes / Savaging your body in terminal retch / Violent spasms and decaying enzymes / Engulf your throat as you belch” – from ‘Vomited Anal Tract’) – more here:
Featuring “some of the deepest male vocals ever recorded and overall feedback doom crunch” (Ned Raggettt, AllMusic – more here) as well as track titles their fans have come to expect (‘Embryonic Necropsy And Devourment’, 'Cadaveric Incubator Of Endoparasites’, ‘Crepitating Bowel Erosion’ etc), CARCASS' second album followed in 1989. Ladies and gentlemen, ‘Symphonies Of Sickness’:
Adding ARCH ENEMY's Michael Amott to their ranks as second guitarist, CARCASS “continued to develop and expand their music” on 1991's ‘Necroticism - Descanting The Insalubrious’. Their third LP, a guide to economical disposal of dead bodies, turned out to be “a death metal album through and through, make no mistake”:
“It may lean toward thrash as much as it does grindcore, but it’s still awfully damn ferocious,” [wrote Jason Birchmeier, AllMusic] “Jeff Walker spews out his septic vocals in a manner sure to send children and grandparents fleeing, and his lyrics are just as medically jargonistic as ever, though a bit toned down in terms of shock value.” [More here:]
“Whereas he once sang in a growling voice à la a dragon desperately in need of some Pepto-Bismol, Walker adopted a slightly more traditional metal singing style, while the band was no longer afraid to let IRON MAIDEN-esque guitar work enter the mix,” introduces CARCASS' fourth full-length work, ‘Heartwork’, Greg Prato (more here). Issued in 1993, the album entered Billboard's Heatseekers chart at number 23 and the UK Album Chart at number 67. Delineated as “that rare album that so carefully dissects and reconstructs its original form that its additional body parts seem like they were there all along” by Johnny Loftus, AllMusic (more here), visit Earache on BandCamp here for its “full dynamic range edition”:
Amott would leave the band after recording the ‘Heartwork’ and would form SPIRITUAL BEGGARS in 1994 and ARCH ENEMY in 1996. Steer, Owen and Walker contracted guitarist Carlo Regadas with whom they recorded one final CARCASS's album (until now), 1996's ‘Swansong’. Viewed as their most divisive album (“fans of unadulterated grindcore should approach with caution, listeners seeking out an excellent example of technical thrashing will love what ‘Swansong’ has to offer” advised Eduardo Rivadavia, AllMusic – more here), ‘Swansong’ was followed by an array of CARCASS compilation albums and tributes. Owen, Walker and Regadas continued on with hard rock band BLACKSTAR, while Steer founded a blues band FIREBIRD in 2000 and has recently hooked up with GENTLEMAN'S PISTOLS.

CARCASS features: Bill Steer – guitar, Jeff Walker – bass and vocals, Daniel Wilding – drums and Ben Ash – guitar

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