Thursday, October 10, 2013

Review: Carcass - Surgical Steel

Carcass - Surgical Steel- rating: 4 out of 5 mutilated and eviscerated corpses Even though it's a few weeks out, I decided to post this review because its still a relevant album that was recently released. And what album is this? Carcass's long awaited new album, Surgical Steel. When news of an official Carcass reunion album were announced, mouths were agape and heads were ready to bang. It had been five years since official reunion, but questions remained about whether or not there would be any attempt from the band to put themselves fully on the map again with a new album. There were also the questions about what the musical content would be, would it be a return to the classic grind of the first three albums, or would it be more in line with the later more melodic strains of 1993's Heartwork? We all got the answer in mid September, when the band released their first album since 1996's Swansong. The album is (likely) a comeback album far more than say, the new Queensryche, as Carcass really seems to have made an effort to recall their glory days but with some new twists and turns as well. It is almost a missing link between Heartwork and Swansong, though with a few nods to previous albums such as 1991's Necroticism – Descanting the Insalubrious. It starts out with the harmony laden instrumental intro "1985" and quickly picks up pace with "Thrasher's Abbatoir", a fast paced song whose lyrics almost read as a more literate version of a typical 1985 Exodus "posers suck" song, complete with the "medical textbook" style lyrics that were a staple of their early work. It quickly goes into "Cadaver Pouch Conveyor System", a song that could definitely have fit well on Heartwork. On this song, a lyrical approach that combines the "goregrind" approach mentioned earlier is mixed with cleverly veiled and sardonic political lyrics (a theme which continues through the album). The album then continues with such future classics such as "The Master's Butcher's Apron" and other songs in the same vein (pun intended) and concludes with the (near) ballad (!) "Mount of Execution". 11 songs that would make newcomers as good as they are like Arsis or Obscura blush. The songs definitely have enough twisted (but accessible) riffs to recall the glorious days of yesteryear, in fact, even the production (by none other than Colin Richardson, who produced most of their classic work) recalls something from the mid-nineties rather than the overly compressed production jobs that are the norm today (though I will admit the mastering could be a little less brickwalled). Is the album perfect? In a word, no, its hard to really recapture the magic of a time long gone by, but it certainly comes close. It certainly stands with "classic reunion albums" that have been released in the past by metal and rock veterans such as "Perfect Strangers" by Deep Purple, or "Brave New World" by Iron Maiden (their classic 2000 reunion with the "classic" lineup of Maiden). And that is some great company to keep.

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