Metal Review: Carcass: Surgical Steel (2013)

Carcass Surgical Steel

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UK death metal legends Carcass are back with their first album in 17 years, “Surgical Steel.” Fans of the band of old know how important they were to the metal scene from their grindcore work to their melodic death metal. Arch Enemy would not exist in its current form if not for Carcass. Opuses like “Heartwork” and “Swan Song” are loved in the metal community (as they should be).

With the dawn of 2013, comes their latest effort, “Surgical Steel,” and Carcass seems to have not missed a beat. From the opening intro 1985, they begin with a grandiose, albeit brief, introduction leading into Thrasher’s Abattoir, which goes back to Carcass of old and their grindcore sound. The first two track end up being a nod to old school Carcass with 1985 being the year that Carcass was formed by by guitarist Bill Steer and drummer Ken Owen. Thrasher’s Abbatoir was the title of Carcass’ first original composition. It can be found on their old 1985 rehearsal tape that used to circulate underground. The current version of Thrasher’s Abbatoir is an altogether different song now though.

Once those two opening songs are complete, Carcass shifts right back to the Carcass that more are familiar with. For those in the know with Carcass, they basically had two versions of the band. Their early releases were grindcore tracks about as extreme as anything done back at that time. Around 1991, they made a drastic shift in sound to more of a melodic death metal sound. The majority of metal fans are very familiar with these later album as they are more accessible to listeners.

Beginning with Cadaver Pouch Conveyor System, Carcass’ shift is still heavy, but focuses on their more melodic sound. The Master Butcher’s Apron is an excellent example of that with some truly great guitar riff and a on of nice melodic playing surrounding the death metal riffs. A Congealed Clot of Blood incorporates more strong riffs and some familiar grooves that Carcass has always fully utilized.

While Swedish guitarist Michael Amott of Arch Enemy fame is long gone, his contributions to Carcass’ sound can still be heard in their later works which are still being used in “Surgical Steel.” Carcass’ sound is still so fun that you cannot help but have fun with their music.

Surgical Steel Track Listing:
1. 1985 (1:15)
2. Thrasher’s Abbatoir (1:50)
3. Cadaver Pouch Conveyor System (4:02)
4. A Congealed Clot of Blood (4:14)
5. The Master Butcher’s Apron (4:01)
6. Noncompliance to ASTM F 899-12 Standard (6:07)
7. The Granulating Dark Satanic Mills (4:10)
8. Unfit for Human Consumption (4:25)
9. 316 L Grade Surgical Steel (5:20)
10. Captive Bolt Pistol (3:17)
11. Mount of Execution (8:25)