Released: 2013, Nuclear Blast
Reviewer: Ilias Pap (Greece)
Carcass are back in the saddle again! At last! This is one of the most long-awaited in the history of death metal. And if their position in the history of extreme sound is assured, the attempt that Carcass makes of a return in 2013 could be causing some concern. The anxiety about what they can offer after so many years of absence, always poses a risk. Remember what happened with Morbid Angel! They made their comeback with an album inferior with previous ones.
Personally speaking, I was straining in the leash for this album. And now it’s here. Bill Steer expressed his doubts whether the end result would be successful. I strongly say at the outset that the return of Carcass after a gap of 17 years is magnificent. I could have drawn a parallel with the comeback of Testament a few years ago when ‘The Formation of Damnation’ was released, we kept all our breath waiting for the crashing down, but eventually it didn’t happen. Something similar is happening now. Carcass released a truly sharp, focused, restless, and pitilessly ferocious revival album which deserves plenty of attention will earn Carcass even more much-deserved praise for their consistency and unfettered excellence.
The overture ‘1985’ reminds us the early days of the band and abruptly and frantically the sweeping and aggressive ‘Thrasher’s Abattoir’ begins, which is followed by the fast melodic ‘Cadaver Pouch Conveyor System’. Carcass wittingly have chose to vary their new album with alternation of fast and slow groovy songs such as the third song, ‘A Congealed Clot of Blood’, which is followed by the amazingly sharply fast ‘The Master Butcher’s Apron’, which contains one of the most catchy and incredibly breathtaking riffs in 0:42. The whole album is moving in this mood of fast and slow parts among the songs combining the feeling of ‘Heartwork’ and ‘Swansong’ and ‘Surgical Steel’.
As far as technical things concern, Andy Sneap puts his hand for one more time in mastering and mixing and the album is expertly and deftly produced by Colin Richardson, who worked with almost the elite of extreme metal (Napalm Death, Cannibal Corpse, Behemoth are a few only of them). The sound of Carcass is totally refreshed but not modern or trendy, some songs are of long duration, but you don’t notice this because they grab you and you cannot think of anything except for your escape! Here, death and gore is not delivered with a joke, and it is not light-hearted. Instead, there is a smirk and contempt in the eyes of the beast. It wants to brood alone. ‘Surgical Steel’ is not an album to be cleansed with, it will only wind the pent up emotion pushing you closer to pulling the trigger. This is the ultimate Carcass strike and they serve us and they have such an intuitive grasp of what makes grindcore metal such an irresistible sonic force by delivering this thrilling, vicious and balls-out stuff!