CARCASS
Grindcore / Melodic Death Metal / Death Metal / Death 'n' Roll • United Kingdom

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Carcass is a goregrind/death metal band formed by Napalm Death guitarist Bill Steer together with drummer Ken Owen in 1985 and is considered by many to have been one of the most influential and talented bands within the extreme metal scene.

Carcass was originally based in Liverpool. On their first demo, Sanjiv contributed vocals. In 1987, bassist and vocalist Jeffrey Walker, formerly of the Electro Hippies, joined them.

The band focused on topics mostly relating to the medical field and bizarre combinations of medical equipment and chemicals with human anatomy, such as "Intenacious, intersecting / Reaving fats from corporal griskin [...] Skeletal groats triturated, desinently exsiccated". This lyrical focus led many in the music press to falsely believe that one or more members of the band had studied medicine. There is more evidence to show that this lyrical focus was a method of pushing vegetarianism (For example, "Exhume To Consume").
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HeartworkHeartwork
Import
Earache Records 2004
Audio CD$9.49
$9.48 (used)
HeartworkHeartwork
Earache Records 2016
Vinyl$16.50
$23.38 (used)
Necroticism - Descanting the InsalubriousNecroticism - Descanting the Insalubrious
Import
Earache Records 2011
Audio CD$6.63
$6.62 (used)
Necroticism - Descanting The InsalubriousNecroticism - Descanting The Insalubrious
Import
Earache Records 2017
Vinyl$14.29
$23.38 (used)
Symphonies Of SicknessSymphonies Of Sickness
Import
Earache Records 2003
Audio CD$7.39
$7.38 (used)
Surgical Remission/Surplus SteelSurgical Remission/Surplus Steel
Nuclear Blast America 2014
Audio CD$4.00
$7.99 (used)
Wake Up & Smell theWake Up & Smell the
Import
Earache UK 2008
Audio CD$7.51
$4.49 (used)
Surgical SteelSurgical Steel
Nuclear Blast America 2013
Audio CD$7.48
$2.64 (used)
Tools of the TradeTools of the Trade
Relativity 1992
Audio CD$29.99 (used)
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CARCASS Discography

CARCASS albums / top albums

.. Album Cover 2.72 | 18 ratings
Reek of Putrefaction
Grindcore 1988
.. Album Cover 3.55 | 21 ratings
Symphonies of Sickness
Grindcore 1989
.. Album Cover 4.35 | 47 ratings
Necroticism: Descanting the Insalubrious
Death Metal 1991
.. Album Cover 4.09 | 59 ratings
Heartwork
Melodic Death Metal 1993
.. Album Cover 3.28 | 28 ratings
Swansong
Death 'n' Roll 1996
.. Album Cover 4.26 | 21 ratings
Surgical Steel
Melodic Death Metal 2013

CARCASS EPs & splits

.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Pathologic
Grindcore 1989
.. Album Cover 2.07 | 2 ratings
Peel Sessions
Grindcore 1989
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Live St. George's Hall, Bradford 15.11.89
Grindcore 1990
.. Album Cover 4.47 | 7 ratings
Tools of the Trade
Death Metal 1992
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Gods of Grind
Death Metal 1992
.. Album Cover 3.55 | 3 ratings
The Heartwork EP
Melodic Death Metal 1994
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Carcass / Cerebral Bore
Melodic Death Metal 2014
.. Album Cover 4.12 | 5 ratings
Surgical Remission / Surplus Steel
Melodic Death Metal 2014

CARCASS live albums

CARCASS demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

.. Album Cover 1.00 | 1 ratings
Flesh Ripping Sonic Torment
Grindcore 1987
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Rock Hard Presents: Gods of Grind
Death Metal 1991
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Zochrot
Death Metal 2013

CARCASS re-issues & compilations

.. Album Cover 3.30 | 5 ratings
Wake Up And Smell The...
Death Metal 1996
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Choice Cuts
Death Metal 2004

CARCASS singles (0)

CARCASS movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
3.00 | 1 ratings
Wake Up and Smell the... Carcass
Death Metal 1996

CARCASS Reviews

CARCASS Reek of Putrefaction

Album · 1988 · Grindcore
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
siLLy puPPy
While the 80s was finding heavy metal to be catching on amongst the public, a few sick minds were going places that Mötley Crüe and Bon Jovi wouldn’t have dared! As thrash, death and doom metal were in their nascency, so too was another fledgling subgenre in the metal universe. Coming out of the same English city as the Beatles, Liverpool was a much grimier place than in the 60s and the members of CARCASS were busy stitching together all the most extreme elements of thrash, noise rock and hardcore punk to create their new uneasy listening experience. Although their early pioneering sound has been tagged as splatter death metal, hardgore and goregrind, the style has become universally known as grindcore, and just one look at the album cover collage of autopsy photos of their debut album REEK OF PUTREFACTION is enough to signal a very sick and disturbed musical experience awaits whoever dares play this one!

The band’s roots go back to the days when Bill Steer (guitarist) and Ken Owen (drummer) played together in a school band which led to Steer joining the D-beat punk band Disattack. After a few lineup changes in Disattack, the band changed its name to CARCASS but kept a lot of the punk influences as they sashayed their aggressive noise into metal territory. The new style was fairly original at the time with only Napalm Death even close to where they were going. Their debut album REEK OF PUTREFACTION perfectly displays a midway point between the hardcore and crust punk in the vein of Discharge alongside other angry punk rockers of the early 80s with the early old school death metal sounds that were emerging from the other side of the pond. REEK OF PUTREFACTION was an instant hit on the UK Indie Chart and thus CARCASS was one of the pioneering bands for ushering in a whole new wave of extreme metal above and beyond the more mainstream metal bands dominating the pop charts.

REEK OF PUTREFACTION is one of those albums that i have a love / hate relationship with. On one hand i totally dig the complete anarchic musical experience that has been laid down. The birth of grindcore was a messy affair with the lo-fi indie underground production values made all the more filthy sounding via down-tuned guitar abrasiveness, overdriven bass and blastbeat drum freneticism. The tempos can be blitzkrieg lightning fast or sort of meander on slow burn. Borrowing from the punk playbook, CARCASS adopted the “microsong” approach with no less than 22 songs laid out in the short playing time of 39min 47sec. I also totally love the beautifully titled “Genital Grinder,” “Maggot Colony,” “Microwaved Uterogestation” and “Manifestation Of Verrucose Urethra!” Oh, it’s just so wrooooong, but in a right way ;) On the second hand, REEK comes off as a grandiose experiment that was meant to create a certain reaction but doesn’t quite leave an invitation for repeated visits. Innovative for sure, pleasurable rarely. Luckily CARCASS would continue to evolve and soon become one of the most memorable melodic death metal bands of the 90s but for album number one, a quite memorable but only occasional interesting listening experience.

CARCASS Heartwork

Album · 1993 · Melodic Death Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
UMUR
"Heartwork" is the 5th full-length studio album by UK death metal act Carcass. The album was released through Earache Records in October 1993. While Carcass first two albums were both groundbreaking goregrind/death metal releases, it was with their third full-length studio album "Necroticism: Descanting the Insalubrious (1991)", that they experienced some commercial success (underground commercial success, and pretty surely nothing they became rich by, but still success). It´s an album that made quite an impact on the death metal scene in the early 90s and propelled Carcass to underground stardom. The lineup on "Heartwork" is intact since the predecessor, but Swedish guitarist Michael Amott left Carcass almost immediately after the recording sessions to form Spiritual Beggars and later Arch Enemy.

The gore themed yet melodic oriented death metal style on the predecessor was unique at the time, and in many ways "Heartwork" is the more sophisticated and streamlined big brother to "Necroticism: Descanting the Insalubrious (1991)". There are quite a few differences between the two albums too though. What you notice right off the bat is that the gore themed lyrics and image are gone and the band now focus on other subjects like politics, religion and society, which is a pretty big change considering how much the controversial gore image was a part of Carcass identity from day one. The lyrics are pretty well written and quite intriguing.

The music ifself is still unmistakably the sound of Carcass though with sharp heavy death/thrash riffing, melodic guitar solos, and Jeff Walker´s snarling aggressive vocals in front. This time around with clear references to traditional heavy metal and hard rock too but still with room for the occasional blast beat part. Bill Steer´s deep juicy growls are not a part of Carcass sound anymore and in that respect the vocal side of the music is a bit more one-dimensional than was the case on the predecessor. It has the effect that the music is more accessible though. The musicianship are generally strong and it´s great to hear a band with a strong musical identity, where you can recognise instantly that it is them playing. Compared to the more organic sounding predecessor, the delivery is a bit clinical though and the same can be said about the sound production which is somewhat sterile. It´s a very professional sounding album and powerful too, but personally I could have wished for a bit more grit and filth.

The material are generally well written but there are tracks on the album that don´t stand out as much as the strongest material. highlights include "Buried Dreams", the groove based and hard rocking "No Love Lost", the title track, and "Death Certificate".

As you might have noticed I´m not all positive regarding "Heartwork" and in my book it´s overall a bit too sterile and cold sounding compared to it´s brilliant predecessor. The more streamlined and relatively more accessible nature of "Heartwork" don´t score high in my book either. Subjectively seen it´s always been a disappointment to me and no matter how many spins I´ve given the album over the years, it´s never been able to fully captivate me. Objectively seen it´s a high quality album though and in addition to that it´s another groundbreaking release by Carcass, that had quite an impact on the more melodic part of the death metal scene at the time and in the years to come and therefore a 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating isn´t all wrong despite of my reservations.

CARCASS Necroticism: Descanting the Insalubrious

Album · 1991 · Death Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Vim Fuego
Michael Schenker once said that when punks finally learned to play their instruments, the music would be called metal. Whether he was being facetious or remarkably astute, he was correct. Carcass, with roots firmly planted in the fledgling mid-80s grindcore scene, created ‘Necroticism: Descanting The Insalubrious’, an album widely hailed as one of the all-time greats in death metal. The progress in the years since the release of the bloody pulp of ‘Symphonies Of Sickness’ and the indecipherable white noise of ‘Reek Of Putrefaction’ was remarkable. The punks had indeed learned to play their instruments. Because the band approached the music from a different background to traditional death metal bands, Carcass were not constrained by its invisible but impenetrable boundaries, and “Necroticism…” is not strictly a pure death metal album, but contains a grindcore component. Carcass’ 1987 debut album ‘Reek Of Putrefaction’ was a balls-out one-riff-per-song blast, with only one song passing the three minute mark, while many were considerably shorter, as was the old grindcore tradition. Fast forward to 1992 and the band’s songwriting and composition skills had developed to the point where songs were now six or seven minutes. Riff after riff was strung together, like a DNA double helix. Carcass adapted many songwriting conventions, like introductions, and rudimentary choruses, but part of the charm of this album is the delight they took in throwing in an unexpected blast passage or discordant solo. Ken Owen’s drumming in particular had matured from frenzied flailing, where he seemed to hit as many drums as possible as rapidly as he could, to a powerful, fluid and accurate sound, part death, part grind.

Part of the problem (or part of the appeal, depending on how you look at it) with Carcass’ first two albums was the indistinct guitar sound. It was loud and blurred, and so poorly defined it is near on impossible to hear what Bill Steer was playing, but was probably true to the band’s live sound at the time. However, producer Colin Richardson reassembled Carcass’ wall of noise on this album, brick by brick, so the riffs and solos shared and traded by Steer and new boy Michael Amott are crisp and clear, yet heavy and menacing. The opening passage of “Lavaging Expectorate Of Lysergide Composition” bounces along like an Iron Maiden riff on steroids.

Many bands missed the point of Carcass’ lyrics and copied the gore theme while trying to be as offensive as possible. Jeff Walker’s lyrics have a hidden depth to them. Yes, there are horrific gory passages, which are designed to shock. Behind the medical dictionary verbosity though, lies a witty, satirical sense of humour. Each song has a story to tell. Opener “Inpropagation” is a tale of using human remains as fertiliser. “Incarnated Solvent Abuse” is a recipe for creating glue from rendered down corpses, while “Lavaging Expectorate Of Lysergide Composition” explains how to get high from chemicals created by decaying bodies. Perhaps most repugnant is “Pedigree Butchery”, in which human babies are processed as dog food, with wonderful lines like “Rheological, twisted nursery chymes/The fluxing of the defleshed/Paedophilosophical, carnage knowledge/As the illegitimate to the domesticated is fed”. The lyrics are still completely indecipherable without a lyric sheet, while Walker took on a bulk of the vocal duties, rather than the three way sharing of the previous albums.

The overall sound of this album was far removed from Carcass’ early albums, and quite a distance from most death metal bands of the time, except perhaps Bolt Thrower. Before ‘Necroticism: Descanting The Insalubrious’, Carcass had been a bit of a cult band in death metal circles, too chaotic to gain wide acceptance, but their perverse lyrical bent was much appreciated. After this album’s release however, all things gory and grindy in the underground were loudly professing their love for Carcass. So imposing is this album that few bands have ever tried to imitate it’s sound, and none have ever succeeded, not even Carcass.

CARCASS Symphonies of Sickness

Album · 1989 · Grindcore
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Unitron
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.

Feel free to comment!

CARCASS Symphonies of Sickness

Album · 1989 · Grindcore
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Vim Fuego
If you were a latecomer to Carcass, and think “Heartwork” was their crowning glory, then steer well clear of this. It will rip your face off, semi–digest and regurgitate the pieces, and then reassemble them in a magnificent unrecognisable mess.

And a magnificent mess this is, on the first listen. However, you will be drawn back to this album repeatedly out of sheer morbid curiosity, similar to rubbernecking at a serious motor accident. Later listens show beneath the white noise, Carcass created some incredibly catchy riffs. The gargled vocals are sublime– instantly recognisable and incoherent at the same time. And the lyrics? They are not for the weak stomached, as the graphic and detailed descriptions of all things sick and depraved, and downright unspeakable will have you retching.

The song titles are pure gore soaked genius in themselves. “Cadaveric Incubator Of Endoparasites”, “Swarming Vulgar Mass Of Infected Virulency”, “Excoriating Abdominal Emanation”, “Exhume To Consume”… The list goes on. Most of the lyrics seem to be taken straight from the pages of Gross Anatomy 101, and paint revolting mental images in blood, bile, and any other bodily fluid you could care to name.

There were few clues from this release Carcass would eventually go down the “Heartwork”/”Swansong” path. If you think Metallica's departure from their original sound is a huge jump, listen to this alongside “Heartwork”.

The collage of real–life gore from the cover art saw Earache’s offices raided by the obscene publications department of the police, so all the better if you can find that version. Whatever the cover art, this is a symphony of sickness, pure and simple.

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