Carcass - Symphonies of Sickness
"Symphonies of Sickness" is the second studio album by death metal/goregrind band Carcass. On their sophomore release, Carcass expands on the occasional death metal sound that had appeared on their debut. So much so, that I would consider this half-and-half Grindcore and death metal. The songs are longer, there is more room for variation in the musicianship, and an overall improvement over their decent debut.
Something that has always bugged me, is when bands have songs that are the same name of one of their albums, but it's on a different album. So stuff like Led Zeppelin's 'Houses of the Holy' being on "Physical Graffiti" and Testament's 'The Legacy' being on "Souls of Black". This happens on this album with the opening song being titled 'Reek of Putrefaction', which shares the name of their debut. Now that I've got that out of the way, how's the song itself? The song is one of the strongest on the album, opening the album really well. It gets you ready for the sound of the album, which is recognizably pretty different from the debut. You still have the grindcore machine gun-drum work, but it's mixed with a lot more thrashing and groovy riffing, making it easier to digest. 'Embryonic Necropsy and Devourment' might very well be my favorite on the album with one hell of an addicting groove that goes into a short but effective solo.
Vocally, you still have some of the almost pig-like grunts mixed with the higher and lower growls. They are much less frequent though, which I like as I find the pig-vocals can get annoying after awhile. Lyrically, it's all remained the same, with the same disgustingly gory lyrics with vocabulary words that only someone in the medical field would know. I do find some of them a bit more clever this time around though, like in the infamous 'Exhume to Consume' which some have speculated there is a pro-Vegetarian message in there. Speaking of 'Exhume to Consume', that along with 'Excoriating Abdominal Emanation' are a couple more of my favorites, being full of easy to get into grooves and a nice balance between low and high growls. 'Empathological Necroticism' is another strong track, with some especially gritty yet groovy and punchy riffs and a strong vocal performance.
The production has improved immensely from the debut, as I can hear most of the instruments much better now. The previous muffled production is gone for the most part, while still retaining a very raw sound. It's still gritty, but the grooves are very easy to get into to my ears.
Overall, "Symphonies of Sickness" acts as a natural progression from debut to sophomore release. Adding in more grooves and solos into their deathgrind sound really heightened their sound, and this improvement would only lead to the masterpiece of death metal that is their third album. I recommend this album to any fans of gory deathgrind. Hope you found this review helpful.
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