Released: 2007, Relapse
Gimmick or no gimmick?
The County Medical Examiners are certainly a gimmick/novelty band, there’s really no question about it. From the Carcass clone style (the even steal the cut and paste body part art style!), to the story (made up or true, it’s cool) of the band being made up of legitimate doctor’s, to the new album being scratch and sniff and smelling like rotting meat (yes, it really does, and it made me nearly gag). The band is complete novelty but the band has never denied the limited appeal or the novelty nature of their music. They say they do it for fun and I’m not going to lie, there’s some fun to be had here.
The band started their initial rise to media curiosity with their 2001 demo, FETID PUTRESCENT WHIFFS, which received a nice amount of publicity and ended up helping the band get a deal with Razorback Records to release the band’s debut album, FORENSIC FUGUES AND MEDICOLEGAL MEDLEYS. The album got a lot of buzz, based on the hype of the band member’s day jobs and eventually received a lot of talk when it was revealed Dr. Guy Radcliffe (Bass, Vocals) was 60 years old. 2003 saw a split with General Surgery, while 2004 saw a 9 and a half minute EP. 2007 sees the band signed to Relapse Records releasing their second full-length album, OLIDOUS PERETTAS, which has the dubious acclaim of smelling like rotting meat (which it does and thanks to transfer, so does the booklet), not to mention coming in a slipcase reminiscent of a biohazard bag.
As I stated earlier, The County Medical Examiners are a Carcass clone, and while there are many bands to have been written off as such in the past few years, no band has attempted to capture Carcass’ sound as purely as this band has. While most new bands taking up the sound usually sound somewhat clean, TCME still sound dirty and have that grit and (seeming lack) of musicianship to portray that SYMPHONIES OF SICKNESS sound so well. With this new album though, I can hear a touch of Carcass’ NECROTICISM peeking through the muck, which I’m sure anyone else can notice considering the album’s opening track, “Casper’s Dictum”, opens in the exact same manner as Carcass’ “Corporeal Jigsore Quandary”.
The Carcass aping doesn’t stop there, nor does the band intend to, seeing as they freely admit they create nothing new and merely pay tribute. The songs oscillate from your Carcass clinical gore grind to a few mid-paced sections to break up the dynamics, much in the same way Carcass did throughout their early period. There really is nothing new or much to say here, TCME really beyond need of a review as their music is a straight carbon copy of a sound from near 20 years ago.
The County Medical Examiners bring nothing new to the table and really do ape riffs and moments from Carcass’ back catalogue. Yet they receive praise and hate alike. Why? Quite possibly because they do it so well and convincingly and sometimes that’s enough for some people. Did I have fun listening to OLIDOUS OPERETTAS? You bet your ass I did. Would I suggest it as anything more than pure fun? Not on your life.