Carcass – Surgical Steel
Release Date: September 17, 2013
I generally assume anyone reading this knows the band Carcass, and that you are most likely jamming “Surgical Steel” as you read this review. If you are asking yourself, “Who is Carcass?” Carcass are death metal and grindcore legends. Now stop reading right this second, and go check out the albums “Symphonies of Sickness“, “Necroticism…“, and “Heartwork“. Once you have done that, please come back and continue reading.
After the release of 1993’s “Heartwork“, I think we were all admittedly more than a bit disappointed by “Swansong” in 1996. “Swansong” is not a bad album at all, it just should never have been what came next. “Heartwork” is a work of art. “Surgical Steel” is the proper follow-up to that album. It picks up where “Heartwork” left off and carries Carcass forward.
The lineup for “Surgical Steel” are founders Jeff Walker (vocals, bass) and Bill Steer (vocals, guitar), and new drummer Dan Wilding. Wilding got the gig after Steer heard him play and felt he sounded like former drummer Ken Owen. He does too. Walker and Steer are the heart of Carcass, and Wilding provides the pounding pulse. The production is rightfully brought to you by another legend, Colin Richardson (Behemoth, Slipknot, Machine Head). Andy Sneap (Amon Amarth, Killswitch Engage, Accept) mixed and mastered.
The band was so into doing this album they actually financed it independently. They had no immediate label backing. The tools pictured on the cover of Surgical Steel were purchased by the band themselves to do the album cover. It’s hard not to want to get behind a band of legends who believe so fully in their new material they choose to go total DIY.
Instrumental album opener “1985” eases you right in. It is simple and flowing, and then it dumps you into the depths of “Thrasher’s Abattoir.” From there you are just riding on the edge of a scalpel blade.
Every song is sharp, built for purpose, and bloody exquisite. With Walker’s voice as sick and twisted as ever, Steer sounding formidable and focused, and Wilding propelling it all onward, every song is a sonic brush stroke in this masterwork. The album is a bewitching balance of brutality and melody.
Carcass simply outdid themselves with “Surgical Steel“. Everything about it is pure Carcass. Yet it is also Carcass today. It is completely uncompromising and feels like a statement. A return. There were a thousand terrible ways this album could have gone, but Carcass delivered another piece of art. They put themselves into this album and that is evident on every track and in every note. It deserves a listen, and if you dig it, your support.
“Surgical Steel” was selected as Metalholic’s #1 album of 2013.