Carcass – Surgical Steel – A Review
I am a big “Melodic Death Metal-era” Carcass fan, The first time I heard Heartwork I was utterly and completely blown away. The mix of crushingly heavy as fook guitars with intelligent riffing and melodic interludes was exactly the kind of thing I had been looking for. Since 1993, many bands have tried to emulate, some have succeeded, some have failed – but none have bettered in my opinion.
Sadly, Carcass themselves went off the boil and eventually fizzled out due to label woes which was a big shame, but perhaps the right thing given the Death-N-Roll direction they were heading in. Anyway, fast forward 18 years and here they are again – back with a new album, like every other previously defunct band on the planet. I have to admit, having heard most of the post Carcass output from the various members and seen them live at the odd festival, I wasn’t expecting anything amazing…However, instead of being a lacklustre cash-in, Surgical Steel is anything but.
Having listened through it a few times, my initial impression is that CARCASS ARE BACK!
The overall feel of the album is somewhere between Necroticism and Heartwork, which is exactly where I hoped it would be. Bill Steer seems to have returned to his old (fabulous) playing style, complete with the kind of vibrato in his riffs that makes me extremely happy. I was extra pleased that Mike Amott didn’t rejoin, he would definitely have ruined it – Instead we have Steer in all his glory!
New drummer Dan Wilding is excellent, and even throws in the occasional Ken Owen style blast, which is nice to hear. Ken makes an appearance on guest vocals which is also nice. Also returning to the Carcass fold is Producer Colin Richardson of Heartwork fame, which could explain the similarity in guitar sound!
As Andy Sneap mixed and mastered it’s no surprise that seemingly his only snare sound (last heard on the previous several Megadeth albums) has made an appearance, which is only slightly disappointing, and certainly nothing to get upset over!
Early stand out tracks for me are A Congealed Clot of Blood, Noncompliance to ASTM F 899-12 Standard and Cadaver Pouch Conveyer System, the latter containing a truly brilliant melodic hook which makes me smile every time – a definite rarity! It’s also good to see they haven’t dumbed down the titles/lyrics as had started to happen on Swansong.
If you are a Carcass fan, you will not be disappointed with Surgical Steel – it is a winner. Go and buy it immediately!