When a band like Carcass reunites for a highly successful world tour (like they did in 2007 – a tour that crushed and slayed all from one corner of the globe to the other), they can go two ways – keep playing the classics night after night or endeavour to create something new to further bolster their legacy as a band.
Fortunately, they chose the latter and so reconvened to plan and execute some new torture forged in Surgical Steel.
Right from the beginning, it is quite apparent that Carcass aren’t here to fuck around. After the dual guitar harmonies intertwining in the intro ‘1985’, ‘Thrasher’s Abattoir’ hammers out of the speakers with a vicious ferocity laden with the classic elements that made Carcass what they are known and loved for – sharp and precise riffs, blasting drums and Jeff Walker’s unmistakable vocal snarl that sounds a whole lot more pissed and irate than he was 17 years ago – and that’s saying something.
Surgical Steel’s musical foundation sits right between where the band went on 1991’s Necroticism – Descanting the Insalubrious and their iconic 1993 release Heartwork by mashing the straight forward death metal vibe of the former with the melodic sensibilities of the latter, with a dash of Swansong and their grind days all thrown into the pot.
Tracks such as ‘The Master Butcher’s Apron’, ‘316 L Grade Surgical Steel’, ‘A Congealed Clot of Blood’, ‘Unfit for Human Consumption’ and the melodic and dark album closer ‘Mount of Execution’ throb along with an unmistakeable Heartwork-ian groove with the rhythm section of bassist Walker and new drummer Daniel Wilding keeping everything tight. ‘Cadaver Pouch Conveyor System’, ‘Captive Bolt Pistol’ and ‘Noncompliance to ASTM F 899-12 Standard’ detonate with metal shards grinding, sparking and flying in every direction at an frantic level. Guitarists Bill Steer and new recruit Ben Ash match the frenetic pace by letting their fingers fly at an equal, if not faster velocity with solos sure to make fingers ache at the thought of even attempting such handiwork.
Carcass have reclaimed their tools of the trade from all of the plagiarists, polished them up nice and clean into some sharp and deadly Surgical Steel. It takes the best elements of the past, gives it a new and fresh approach that is refined down to the point of pure Carcass perfection. It further cements their legacy as purely one of the best death metal acts ever.
Are Carcass back? You better fucking believe it and trust me: it was well worth the wait.
2. Thrasher’s Abattoir
3. Cadaver Pouch Conveyor System
4. A Congealed Clot of Blood
5. The Master Butcher’s Apron
6. Noncompliance to ASTM F 899-12 Standard
7. The Granulating Dark Satanic Mills
8. Unfit for Human Consumption
9. 316 L Grade Surgical Steel
10. Captive Bolt Pistol
11. Mount of Execution