Carcass: Surgical Steel (Nuclear Blast)
With Surgical Steel, Carcass have released what might well be the metal album of the year. It would be a surprise to me if this album did not feature highly in many polls come Christmas.
Reformed after a lengthy hiatus in 2007, the Carcass machine has gathered monumental pace. The band have already etched their names into the history of metal. They didn’t need to record a new album; they could have just carried on touring and rested on their already legendary status. However their first album in 18 years is a complete and utter master class in gore laden extreme metal. After being so influential in the late eighties and early nineties, the band are in scintillating form throughout Surgical Steel, with which many metal bands with any sort of aspirations should check out for inspiration.
Opening with the aptly titled 1985, the bands rising harmonic guitars invoke the spirit of classic thrash. From there, Thrasher’s Abbatoir follows. The opening two tracks clock in at around three minutes and the band already has you by the jugular. Cadavar Pouch Conveyor System allows for more of a varied pace with some excellent soloing over a slower tempo beat, that is bookended by thrash rhythms of utter brilliance.
A Congealed Clot of Blood is powered by a driving rhythm with some great double kick drum work from drummer Daniel Wilding. Again, the tempo changes are rife and the chiming guitars sound sinister and menacing. The Master Butcher’s Apron follows, and this is one of many high points in the album. A furious, blood curdling opening, gives way to a riff that would have any true metal fan wrecking their neck head banging. It is absolutely glorious. Again, the thrashy pace picks up and another obliterating track is in the bag.
Carcass’ penchant for technicalities in their titles of showcasing gore is evident on Noncompliance to ASTM F 899-12 Standard. Upon researching the title, the meaning of the title is a reference to the standard specification for wrought stainless steels for surgical instruments. Unfit for Human Consumption has a more self explanatory title, but the track oozes class and brutality in its guitar work. The undulating riffs that lurk around the edges of the track are mesmerizing. More frantic drumming helps build the track towards its stunning conclusion.
As the album draws too a close with the epic Mount of Execution, it is evident that Bill Steer and his band show no signs of slowing down. In November, Carcass form part of the quite excellent Defenders Of The Faith bill from Metal Hammer, along with Amon Amarth and Hell. They are sure to dazzle these shores with their entirely unique blend of gore and riffs. With Surgical Steel, they have released what might well be the metal album of the year. It would be a surprise to me if this album did not feature highly in many polls come Christmas.
Tour Dates: Buy tickets here.
November 12th Birmingham 02 Academy
November 13th Manchester Academy
November 14th Glasgow Barrowland
November 15th Bristol 02 Academy
November 17th London Forum