Necroticism: Descanting The Insalubrious
Released: 1991, Earache
Reviewer: The Punishment Due
Hidden Gem Selection
This album is the epitome of metal greatness in my opinion. With the introduction of Michael Amott to the band, Carcass had the ability to create a very in-depth, technical, musical masterpiece. Not only has Amott given the band more options on guitar, but his own musical influence has taken the band in a new direction.
The album opens with what I consider to be the best song Carcass ever wrote – “Impropagation.” The song immediately lets you know Carcass’ intentions on this CD, with an array of riffs, changes in tempo, excellent lead play, wonderful drumming with perfect blast beats, and the fact that all the songs are long and complex, making this CD very interesting. Bill and Michael play in an Iron Maiden style fashion, with dual guitar assaults played in different, yet harmonic keys. The guitar work is very technical and often, both Bill and Michael play leads off each other. Lots of different influences and contrasting riff patterns are to be found – it’s quite easy to differentiate between the two axemen, and see who was the brains behind certain songs and passages. Bill likes to play fast skillful rhythm, with sharp tempo changes and solos with lots of range and speed, with a bluesy hint to it. Michael seems to prefer slower, melodic rhythm that gradually builds into epic phases, and solos that just spew emotion – like “Incarnated Solvent Abuse.”
Jeff Walker’s vocals are just brilliant. They are very decipherable and vary between a growl that resembles his own voice “gruffed up” and a savage throat cutter only he can re-create. His bass play is great and forms a solid foundation for each track, albeit it’s not the most amazing individual four-string work. What’s good about it is that it’s clear and never lets the rhythm play sound thin. Lyrically, this album has drifted into a more intelligent and very articulate way of describing such themes as solvent abuse, drug abuse and even piecing a dismembered body back together - “Corporal Jigsore Quandary.” The gore is still there, but the focal point of the album is not to sicken people.
Ken Owen’s drumming is an absolute pleasure-and-a-half to listen to on this CD. His double bass is the core of his rhythms, but he goes much further with it than the standard “helicopter” beat. He very often blasts out triple/quadruple kicks at high speed, with a rasp off the snare, machinegun fills and he plays the hi-hat and cymbals with a groove. A lot of his double bass is unpredictable, but very appropriate – essentially the same rhythm throughout certain riffs, but complex, like he wouldn’t ever reproduce the exact same rhythm live. Makes me wonder if jazz drums interested him, his improvisation is one of his great characteristics. His blast beats fit perfectly within the songs, giving power rather than plainly brutalizing everything.
This album is amazing technical metal, incorporating loads of skill, melody, variation and depth. An absolute masterpiece that will forever stand high on the altar of heavy metal.