Thursday, November 14, 2013

Carcass - Surgical Steel

Surgical Steel
Nuclear Blast

It's finally here, the first new Carcass album since 1996's aptly titled Swansong. Already legends in the grindcore and melodic death metal scenes. Carcass is one of the rare bands (along with At The Gates) that got more popular after they broke up. Pretty much since the Winter of 1996, the metal public has been demanding that Carcass reunite. After 16 years, three presidencies, three pointless wars, and 27 fully-unnecessary seasons of Survivor, it's finally here. The vinyl has been shipped and Surgical Steel has landed on the shelf of your favorite record store.

So, how does it sound?

For those holding out hope for a return to the Symphonies of Sickness/Reek of Putrefaction style of gore-grind, it pains me to tell you that you'll be disappointed. For everyone else on the planet, Surgical Steel is without a doubt the album of the year.

If Surgical Steel sounds like any of the old stuff, it most closely sounds like Necroticism. For the uninitiated, this 1992 album marks the change in the Carcass sound from gore-grind to melodic death metal. Necroticism, along with Slaughter of the Soul, was the playbook for the American metalcore movement of the early 2000s.

Surgical Steel does pick up where Necroticism and Heartwork left off but, more importantly, the new record sounds fresh. The stench of desperation doesn't cling to this reunion unlike so many of the others (have you heard that new Orgy? Yikes...). Unlike the other reunions, the public actually has a thirst for new Carcass music and Carcass has something to prove.

What tore apart the band during its initial run was record label politics and typical showbiz crap. Plus, at a time in the mid-90s when death metal was a watered-down shell of itself (it's since recovered), founding members Jeff Walker and Bill Steer wanted to play other styles of music. Now, Carcass has unfinished business. In a recent interview, Steer said that Surgical Steel was written with heavy emphasis placed on writing strong riffs. This is to counteract the newer bands that play rhythms more than they play riffs (think the Acacia Strain).

Unfortunately, original drummer Ken Owen, who suffered a brain hemorrhage in 1999, is physically unable to continue as a full-time member. In his place is Daniel Wilding (ex-Aborted, ex-Trigger The Bloodshed) with guitarist Ben Ash replacing Michael Amott, who is busy being the head honcho of Arch Enemy. The point of all of this is that Carcass is back and Surgical Steel marks another new chapter in the history of this band.

This is the necessary reunion. Now we just need someone to get Phil and Vinnie talking again and then we've got a stew going, baby.


No comments: