December 18, 2013

Filthy Music Review - 'Carcass: Surgical Steel'

Carcass – Surgical Steel (2013)

Nuclear Blast

Review by Trevor Proctor

Releasing a new album is a daunting prospect for any band after a 17 year break from the studio and, some might argue, it's actually 20 years since Carcass had any release of note (Heartwork).

A "leak" of the track "Captive Bolt Pistol" gave fans a taste of the return to form that was to come & ensured anticipation was at a peak well before their album was officially released on 17th September. 

Lifelong fans & naysayers alike waited patiently, some hoping for a return to the genre defining form of the early 90's whilst others were predicting sell out & failure. Granted, the album sounds cleaner & clearer than any previous release, with the anti-Carcass brigade crying it's too clean & clinical to be Carcass. Whilst it IS more clinical than any previous album we need to remember this has been the case with every Carcass album From "Reek...." right up to "Swansong" and to me it's simply advances in technology & production standards rather than a radical change of musical direction as perceived by some.

The album starts with a brief instrumental taken from a demo tape hidden deep somewhere in guitarist Bill Steer's past, a nice touch and a good potential gig intro but it's only the start of things to come. The fast paced thrash assault of "Thrasher's Abbatoir" showcases the "New Carcass" playing at speeds as fast, clinical & heavy as anything they've ever released. The pace continues with the excellent "Cadaver Punch Conveyer System" a track that will appease fans of Heartwork era Carcass with its distinct, catchy, dual guitar melodies & signature Bill Steer solos.

The pace slows slightly with "A Congealed Clot of Blood" a standout track harking back to the days of "Necroticism" heavy, brooding & menacing, it showcases Jeff Walker's rasping vocals in all their gory glory.

"The Master Butcher's Apron" starts at a furious pace but in less than a minute they drop a riff that could make a zombie headbang at 50 paces, a hard heavy, mean track that should appease all fans of the band.

Pardon the pun but I'll not dissect every track on the album, needless to say it's a return to form that we could have only dreamed about a year ago when rumours of a new album gathered pace due to the announcement of Carcass as headliners for Damnation Festival in November 2013.

From start to finish there are elements of all previous Carcass albums here, Jeff Walker jokingly told "Zero Tolerance" magazine the album rested somewhere between "Necroticism" & "Heartwork" yet despite his joking, as a lifelong fan I have to agree with him, but let's not concentrate too much on their past. Let's revel in the glorious fact that Carcass are back & have reclaimed their place as the most important death metal band of any generation.


01. 1985
02. Thrasher's Abattoir
03. Cadaver Pouch Conveyor System
04. A Congealed Clot of Blood
05. The Master Butcher's Apron
06. Noncompliance To ASTM F 899-12 Standard
07. The Granulating Dark Satanic Mills
08. Unfit For Human Consumption
09. 316L Grade Surgical Steel
10. Captive Bolt Pistol
11. Mount Of Execution

Surgical Steel is released by Nuclear Blast and is available now.

No comments: