Carcass – Surgical Steel13th August 2013
Album: Surgical Steel
Record Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Release Date: 9/13/13
Reviewed By: Frank Rini 8/12/13
1. 1985 (Instrumental)
2. Thrasher’s Abbatoir
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
For fans of: Carcass Necroticism/Heartwork era
Standout Tracks: The Master Butcher’s Apron/ Noncompliance to ASTM F 899-12 Standard/ Captive Bolt Pistol
This is the reunion album that everyone and their mother have been waiting for since the rumblings began that not only were Carcass playing reunion shows but that a new recording was in the works. So was it worth the wait? Does it hold up to their prior recordings? Is this a fitting album in this legendary band’s career?
Well yes it is, Swansong, this is not, I can assure you. Now I panned Swansong for years until very recently actually giving it a chance and actually really liking it now, it was like Heartwork, light, minus blast beats, but still very good metal. The new Carcass material is a continuation of the Heartwork style, with some Necroticism in there as well and Swansong style songs too.
Things begin with a rather mundane instrumental that goes into a very short song, Thrasher’s Abbatoir. And it starts off thrashy, like the name of the tune and it has blast beats in there as well. A good song but it is not as intense of an opener as I would have liked. The Master Butcher’s Apron would have been more of an appropriate opener. It blasts right out of the fuckin starting gates and does not let up. Having an intensity like Arbeit Macht Fleisch, off Heartwork. This is one of the better songs on the album which mixes in the blast beats with some groovy soloing. The next track, Noncompliance to ASTM F 899-12 Standard, is another brilliant blaster and the melodic scorching guitar riff, over the blast beat is simply too catchy for you not to hum along, it is that incredible and also one of the longer songs on the album, clocking in over the six minute mark. Their single, Captive Bolt Pistol, is another killer tune, which I feel was the perfect tune for them to release first as it really captures
the majority of what this new album sounds like.
However not everything is peaches ‘n’ cream. Tracks 7-9 kinda reduce the intensity of this album and they closely resemble the Swansong style. Groove based numbers, very melodic and more in tune with some NWOBHM groups, that while played very well, brings this album down a few notches, for me. I would rather have had Carcass continue along the bludgeoning path, but that does not happen. The closer, Mount of Execution, is the longest track on the album and pretty much remains in a mid paced groove throughout the album, with some fabulous crunchy guitar, however, for a closer, I would rather have seen them close with a tune, like their single.
Jeff Walker’s vocals sound killer on this and he said this is kinda what he envisioned Heartwork to have sounded like, if he would have had Bill Steer continue doing vocals with him. So yes, Mr. Steer’s gutturals make appearances on this, but are more relegated to singing back-up parts. You will hear Walker’s raspy vocals and alongside his, Steer’s gutturals. Having separate tracks for Bill Steer, to truly let those killer low end growls shine, ala Corporal Jigsore Quandary or Ruptured in Purulence are sadly not present.
If you’re a fan of Andy Sneap’s clean production style, you will love this. Colin Richardson was producing the album, but due to outside commitments, Andy came in to finish the job. So if you like the Exodus/Kreator albums that Sneap made sound fabulous you will drool over this. And the album sounds wonderful. Every snarl, killer riff or blast beat will fuckin punish you. Also having new drummer Daniel Wilding (Trigger the Bloodshed), blast behind the kit, should make fans of Ken Owen happy, as he does a killer job. Not as tasty in the rolls/fills as Ken was, back in the day, but still does a great job of adding that intensity back into the Carcass sound. Also Ken does some fuckin guest vocals on 2 songs, and it’s wonderful to still have him part of the newer Carcass incarnation.
Also, you will be surprised, that even along all the brutality, how melodic this album is-extremely melodic, I would say this is even more melodic than Heartwork. The digi-pak has an extra song and another 4 songs were left on the cutting room floor, probably will surface as some extra special edition, down the road. I have heard the songs not making it onto the final album are more inline with the Swansong style.
So in a year where their have been some outstanding releases, this is a keeper, not as strong as the new Exhumed album, since they are similar and yes I know Exhumed have been playing their Carcass inspired death/grind now for a bit, but I feel Carcass played it a tad safe on this release, where they could have unleashed a lot more brutality, they kinda stuck to the safe path. However at the end of your long ass work day, pop this sucker in and smile. Having a new Carcass album with blast beats, growls and memorable killer riffs is what this band delivered and I’m happy as a pig in shit that Carcass put out such a strong comeback album. Buy or Die!