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4.38 | 74 ratings | 6 reviews
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Album · 1993


1. Buried Dreams (3:59)
2. Carnal Forge (3:55)
3. No Love Lost (3:22)
4. Heartwork (4:33)
5. Embodiment (5:36)
6. This Mortal Coil (3:50)
7. Arbeit macht Fleisch (4:21)
8. Blind Bleeding the Blind (4:57)
9. Doctrinal Expletives (3:39)
10. Death Certificate (3:40)

Total Time: 41:56

Bonus disc: Pre-Heartwork Parr Street Demos February 1993
1. Blind Bleeding the Blind (5:14)
2. Buried Dreams (4:06)
3. Carnal Forge (4:05)
4. Death Certificate (3:49)
5. Deliverance (5:52)
6. Doctrinal Expletives (3:45)
7. Heartwork (4:37)
8. No Love Lost (3:26)
9. This Mortal Coil (4:05)
10. Arbeit macht frei (4:31)

Total Time: 43:35


- Michael Amott / Lead guitar
- Ken Owen / Drums
- Bill Steer / Lead guitar (and all rhythm guitar tracks)
- Jeff Walker / Bass, lead vocals

About this release

Release date: October 18th, 1993
Label: Earache Records

Thanks to UMUR, adg211288, diamondblack for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

"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.
Completing their break from their earlier grindcore style and ramping up their melodic and technical capabilities, Carcass followed up Necroticism with Heartwork, and as far as I can tell many find it a toss-up to work out which is better. Personally, I prefer the more accomplished songwriting and musicianship on here, which suggests that Carcass had become comfortable enough with both their new genre and the inclusion of Michael Amott in the lineup, enabling the group to really start testing and expanding its boundaries. Hardline grindcore fans who consider melodic death metal to be tantamount to be selling out may grouse, but I think most listeners will find it an interesting balancing act between the welcoming melodic style and the macabre subject matter.
This album is just perfect to be honest. Not one flaw on it, every song is amazing and memorable, and each song has its own distinct characteristic. Finding an album like this very rare indeed.

After Necrotocism. Carcass adopted a more melodic and maturer style, with their music becoming more to the point, with shorter compositions, with an ordinary strophic structure in most songs. Lyrically, the album has less to do blood, guts, gore and murder and focuses more on more universal topics, including love, sex, religion, art and war.

This album I believe is also a landmark because it really cemented the melodic death metal movement that was about to follow. Now, ok Slaughter Of The Souls by At The Gates did too, and In Flames took it a step forward, but this album really is a landmark for metal in general...cause it really took metal in general, and changed death metal for the better...making it more contemporary as a genre, yet keeping its power.

I think in their next album, they lost it a bit...but after this album...I DONT CARE!

1. Buried Dreams - Amazing intro and kick ass rifss. Jeff's vocals sound like he's gargling acid. Amazing arrangement. 10/10

2. Carnal Forge - Kick ass intro. Quite thrashy. Just frantic and a head melting song. 10/10

3. No Love Lost - Amazing main riff. Great chorus and lyrics. It's kind of like a metal pop song. 10/10

4. Heartwork - Now this is a song that created a genre...I think. The metal community was shoken when this was release (I believe). With an interesting video, and some of the greatest riffs and melodic lead lines u cud ever hear. 10/10

5. Embodiment - One of my all time favourite Carcass songs, mainly cause the main riff kicks a serious amount of arse. I always play this riff on guitar. It's just metal at its best, and its why I love the genre so much. 10/10

6. This Mortal Coil - Amazing riffs.A very melodic song. Metal at it's best really. 10/10

7. Arneit Macht Fleisch - Quite thrashy. Just an adrenaline rush throughout. Full of exciting twists and turns. 10/10

8. Blind Bleeding The Blind - Pure embodiment of classic metal. Quite groovy at times. 10/10

9. Doctrinal Expletitives - What a kick ass riff. Very powerfull. It's like being crushed by a train. 10/10

10. Death Certificate - It's a rifforgasmrama. Oh...and the song is amazing too. 10/10

CONCLUSION: I gave all the songs 10...which means its perfect. Just so enjoyable to listen to and I could listen to it about 100 times in a row (wudnt get much sleep, but hey when music is this good, ya cant say not going to by the way haha)
It’s so rare to find an album that combines crushing heaviness with such rich melodies without it sounding forced. Carcass achieves the perfect balance on Heartwork.

Heartwork is an endless (well, 42 minutes) stream of riffing. That being said, it is more than simply a riff catalog. They are but part of the recipe in making a melodic death metal album to which all others must be compared. There are no tracks that I would consider as filler. I wouldn’t even say there are standout tracks because it is such a consistent album.

The guitar duo of Bill Steer and Michael Amott really shine on this album. With their excellent soloing on “Carnal Forge”, “Heartwork”, and “Death Certificate”, they prove themselves to be among the top guitar duos in all of metal. Jeff Walker barks just as viciously as on previous albums, except this time you can actually make out what he’s saying without clinging tightly to the lyrics sheet.

It’s a fantastic sounding album, which has as much to do with producer Colin Richardson as it does the band. They created a death metal album that is very accessible, but it doesn’t sacrifice the core sound of Carcass. While they may have some slower songs (“No Love Lost”, “Embodiment”), only perhaps the most stubborn of fans from their Reek of Putrefaction and Symphonies of Sickness days could accuse them of selling out.

Bottom line: Classic!
Time Signature

Genre: melodic death metal

"Heartwork" is yet another improtant and groundbreaking metal release by Carcass, mainly because it is one of the first melodic death metal releases. A lot of diehard Carcass fans disliked this album because Carcass turned away from many of the elements that had defined them, such as gory lyrics and musical brutality, but the Carcass boys themselves are very proud of this album - Bill Steer even thinks it's the best album they made.

Musically, this album is simpler than "Necroticism" - both in terms of the complexity of the guitar riffs (there atill are some qurky and odd riffs though) and the structure of the songs, and there's plety of melody and groove. But, this is by no means a bad album. In fact, it's a brilliant album, and I certainly understand why the Carcass boys are so proud of it.

I'd recommend it to anyone who likes Swedish melodeath and American melodic metalcore.

Members reviews

Carcass is one of the greatest and most important death metal bands in history. And this reputation could reasonably rest entirely on this specific record alone!

Death metal started in the 80s in Tampa Bay Florida as a form of thrash with harsher vocals and lyrics with gory imagery. There was also the related grindcore scene which took its main inspiration from hardcore but also indulged the gory grotesque imagery and brutal growling characteristic of death metal. The music emerging from these scenes was all about shock value: violence, gore, and aggression for its own sake (musically and lyrically).Artistic merit came, in my opinion, at a premium.

In the 90s, death metal spawned two offshoots: technical death metal, primarily in North America, and melodic death metal, primarily in Sweden. Melodic death metal is characterized by the same brutal vocals and down-tuned or extended range guitars of death metal but the riffs actually take inspiring from classic metal like Iron Maiden and Sabbath. As a genre, it transcended the mere shock value of death and grindcore and actually focused on songcraft.

Carcass, who actually happen to be from the UK, started off making grotesque grindcore music but eventually "sold out" and created one of the first, best, and most important melodic death metal records of all time. Obviously, Carcass' old school grindcore fans hated Heartwork, at least initially. But it is indeed what catapulted Carcass to their current metal god status. It is not exaggeration to point out that the sound on this record is basically the standard for extreme but "accessible" metal till today.

As far as songs go, "This Mortal Coil" has the strongest Maiden influence. "Embodiment " was the first song I heard from the record and is absolutely one of its best. The best track has to be "Arbeit Meicht Fleisch". Its an unapologetically ambitious song that combines everything about Carcass that makes them great.

Personally, this was the first extreme metal record I ever listened to and I was more or less hooked right away. The mix of groove, technicality, melody, and, of course, anger and brutality were like a drug for an angsty 14 year old teenager. I have not been the same person ever since...

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