This is a response to the Band Of The Week: Carcass thread.

Surgical Steel

Estimated reading time: 9 minute(s)

To the moment we’ve all been waiting for! Surgical Steel. In a way, my plan for the week backfired a bit, since my brain is thoroughly Carcass-addled after my immersion in their oeuvre. It’s very likely I looked like an idiot, or possibly a madman, as I was incessantly humming riffs sotto voce in the hospital halls this weekend in between (and even sometimes while—I couldn’t stop) examining patients. Genital Grinder, Corporal Jigsore Quandary, Ruptured in Purulence, Keep on Rotting—these are some catchy fucking riffs! And I am I the only one that periodically exclaims: “Alcohol force fed—goes straight to your head?” I have trouble sleeping at night, and I can’t concentrate during the day: thanks, Carcass!

5 listens to the new album today, and it’s pretty f-ing good. Now, I can’t agree with those that say it’s their best album, or even quite in league with the two pillars of their catalogue—that’s the excitement of having a new album at all talking. But it is quite enjoyable, and amazingly a successful summation of the various aspects of their career; the fact that they are able to have riffs that could have come off one of their more grindy albums side by side with ones straight out of Swansong (and there are actually plenty of those on the album, which no one seems to be complaining about) is an achievement.

Highlights: Cadaver Pouch Conveyor System—though I was initially put off by the harmony section placed so early in the song, which brings it to a bit of a crawl before it even gets started, it’s all made ok by hearing Jeff spew: “Blood-lust-MOHHHHHRRRRRDDD” in as vitriolic a screech as you could hope for. That shit’s going to be going through my head for another couple of weeks. The chorus riff in “Unfit for Human Consumption” is just as hot as a riff could be, for this old school metalhead. Captive Bolt Pistol is short, sweet, and as bludgeoning as the title instrument itself.

Jeff’s lyrics are particularly inspired (except for the sort of title track, which is a bit forced for my tastes). The anti-carnivore Unfit and Captive Bolt serve to harken back to their earlier albums, with a more streamlined approach to lyricism. His commentaries on the world of metal in Thrasher’s Abbatoir and Noncompliance are laugh out loud funny, and his forays into war like Master Butcher and Cadaver Pouch are biting.

One complaint I’d make on the musical side is that I think that the leadwork suffers a bit for the lack of a foil for Bill Steer—he and Amott brought out the best in each other, and I think a bit of competition would have raised the bar for what for me are well played, but less inspired solos than his best.

Overall, I’ll laud them for a nice return to form. A couple of listens is not nearly enough for this, and I look forward to it growing on me over time, though I may force myself to take a day off to clear the sludge and grime from my cranium. If only I could score a ticket to one of their NYC shows this week, but don’t look like it’s going to happen—ALL SOLD OUT.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little survey of the discog of a fine metal band. Don’t be too surprised if you’re walking through the hospital ward and hear an occasional: “BLOOD—LUST–MOHHHHRRRRRDDDD!”