Carcass are a band considered by many to be a major inspiration for most deathgrind/goregrind bands, along with being at the forefront of the evolution of melodic death Metal and 'Surgical Steel' is their first album for seventeen years.
You may be forgiven for initially thinking it's a post reunion cash-in but you would be very wrong. The release of the pre-album single 'Captive Bolt Pistol' earlier in the year pretty much put an end to any concerns anyone may have had. It was death Metal, raw, aggression rich, vintage Carcass, but this time around I think they are even better and this is something that is reinforced on the first listen to the whole album.
They are quite clearly back and they mean business.
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Soundwise 'Surgical Steel' seems to be a continuation of the work achieved with 'Necroticism...' and 'Heartwork', technical flawless death Metal, rather than a return to their earlier goregrind days.
Consisting of eleven tracks spanning forty seven minutes of musical excellence, opening with the brief, atmosphere building instrumental '1985' (the year they were formed) I certainly felt the levels of anticipation and excitement building and with the arrival of 'Thrasher's Abattoir', a short sharp chunk of in your face death Metal delight, I was captivated.
Interestingly, this track, along with 'Unfit For Human Consumption' features extra vocals from former drummer/vocalist Ken Owen.
Drum work for this album is competently supplied by Daniel Wilding (ex Aborted) as, although Ken has resumed playing drums after his brain haemorrhage he isn't quite up to the full brutality required for Carcass. The rest of the vocal duties on the album are covered by Jeff Walker and Bill Steer.
The guitar work across the album, in my opinion, surpasses previous releases. You get the classic Carcass sound but this album is much more solo rich, particularly on 'Noncompliance To ASTM F 899-12' which has a good repeated technically edged element as well as a couple of nice solos.
All the tracks are good, fully listenable but the other standout tracks for me were; 'A Congealed Clot Of Blood' which is slightly slower in tempo with a sinister 'death groove' running through which made it a favourite track with me.
There were a couple of tracks that, by the third listen had me singing along; 'The Granulating Dark Satanic Mills', a catchy track that just made me smile from ear to ear although I am not quite sure why, I just loved it, especially the closing solo and also 'Unfit For Human Consumption' which was awash with catchy riffs.
Also worthy of a mention were '316 L Grade Surgical Steel' which had a tiny bit of a sleazy Southern groove feel in places to the guitar work and 'Mount Of Execution', the album closer, the longest track, slower in tempo throughout, but because of the length was a wonderful, building piece, a dark, chugging and memorable ender. I loved the more drawn out, reflective approach of this final offering.
Surgical Steel' was produced by Colin Richardson and mixed and mastered by Andy Sneap. If you liked the 'Necroticism...' and 'Heartwork' albums you will love 'Surgical Steel' and given the obvious level of dedication and effort that has quite clearly been put into this album and the quality of the final result, this has to be the beginning of a new era for the band. I certainly hope so.
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