Released: 2009, Listenable Records
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
The year was 1991. Carcass had released their groundbreaking NECROTICISM album and was riding a surge of popularity. Grindcore was still in its relative infancy and Carcass was recognized by critics, fans, and artists alike as the progenitors and leaders of the gore-grind scene. As often happens when one band finds new success, the inevitable glut of clone bands emerge, with varying degrees of quality and success. That same year, General Surgery would release their first EP of Carcass worship, NECROLOGY. NECROLOGY was an 11 minute, 5-song blitz of raw death/grind, featuring Dismember frontman Matti Karki on bass, among members of other various Swedish underground acts of the day. The EP wasn’t marketed as a serious band, but more of a side-project homage to the house that Carcass built (think about Bloodbath today). The band split up shortly thereafter and General Surgery would be a footnote in the history of grindcore.
That was until 2003, when original guitarist Joacim Carlsson would resurrect the band for a series of split EPs and the hopes of reviving General Surgery as a real band. In 2006, General Surgery released their first full length, LEFT HAND PATHOLOGY through Listenable Records. The album was met with mixed reviews, but the band soldiered on with new vocalist Erik Sahlström in tow to deliver full length #2, CORPUS IN EXTREMIS: ANALYSING NECROLOGY. The sound of General Surgery 2009 is firmly rooted in the past, but amazingly the songs don’t sound dated or rehashed. Everything about the album has the earmarks of nostalgia: the open ended sharp tone of the guitars, the punchy bass lines, the Walker/Steer style high/low death growls, even the production qualities recall the old Sunlight Studios heyday. But the material itself that comprises the album sounds fresh and current, and is delivered with tight performances from each member of the band.
Thematically, the album doesn’t break any new ground – death, gore, and more death are the topics of the day. From the opening chaos and whammy bar dive bomb of “Necronomics”, you know exactly what you’re in for. The songs are short, fast, and relentless, leaving little room to breathe in between. The longer songs such as “Restrained Remains”, “Virulent Corpus Dispersement”, and “Deadhouse” are more fleshed out affairs (no pun intended) than their blast beat counterparts, but still maintain the breakneck pace. “Idle Teratoma Core” will get you barking the song title along in what could be considered a brief chorus. “Necroticism” is bound to put a smile on your face, as it liberally “borrows” and rearranges riffs from several Carcass songs as they pay tribute to the band that started it all.
There have been countless grind gore bands that have sprouted over the years, each trying to outdo each other with a “who’s got the goriest album cover” contest. But beneath the shock value, there’s little else. CORPUS IN EXTREMIS: ANALYSING NECROLOGY has style in spades, showing the kids how the grown ups do things. General Surgery doesn’t profess to be anything that they’re not, sticking to what they know and refining that to a level of mastery. CORPUS IN EXTREMIS is one of the best grind records that I’ve heard in a long time and some of the best old school Swedish brutality on the market period.