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3.65 | 39 ratings | 3 reviews
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Album · 1996

Filed under Death 'n' Roll


1. Keep on Rotting in the Free World (3:43)
2. Tomorrow Belongs to Nobody (4:19)
3. Black Star (3:30)
4. Cross My Heart (3:35)
5. Child's Play (5:44)
6. Room 101 (4:37)
7. Polarized (4:03)
8. Generation Hexed (3:49)
9. Firm Hand (5:24)
10. R**k the Vote (3:54)
11. Don't Believe a Word (3:59)
12. Go to Hell (3:23)

Total Time: 50:05


- Carlo Regadas / guitar
- Ken Owen / Drums
- Bill Steer / guitar, vocals
- Jeff Walker / Bass, lead vocals

About this release

Release date: June 30th, 1996
Label: Earache Records

Thanks to UMUR, Time Signature, adg211288, diamondblack, Unitron for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

"Swansong" is the 5th full-length studio album by UK death metal/heavy metal act Carcass. The album was released through Earache Records in June 1996. "Heartwork (1993)" proved to be a huge success for Carcass, who attracted the attention of major label Columbia Records. The label payed the band a recording advance of no less than $200,000, which the band used to enter the studio with producer Colin Richardson in early 1995. Carcass and Columbia Records had several clashes during the recording sessions over the direction of the material, and the label was not satisfied with the 17 tracks the band had written. Therefore the release of the album was postposed from late 1995 to June 1996 during which time Carcass were dropped by Columbia Records and subsequently returned to Earache Records. Before the release of the album, the band had split-up though, which of course makes "Swansong" a perfectly fitting title.

There has been one lineup change since the release of "Heartwork (1993)", as Swedish guitarist Michael Amott has been replaced by Carlo Regadas. Amott actually left shortly after recording his parts for "Heartwork (1993)" and was initially replaced by Mike Hickey, who himself was then replaced by Regadas. Amott soon after formed Spiritual Beggars and then Arch Enemy.

Stylistically there have been quite a few changes since "Heartwork (1993)", which should actually come as no surprise, as none of the previous Carcass albums have sounded the same either, although there has never been any doubt, that it it a Carcass release you´re listening to. "Heartwork (1993)" added a lot of melody and heavy metal elements to the band´s death metal sound, and on "Swansong" they take that approach even further. Jeff Walker´s raw snarling vocals are the most extreme feature of the music, and although the instrumental part of the music still features the occasional nod towards death metal, it´s actually best described as a hard edged heavy metal style. The tracks are generally "straight" vers/chorus structured, they feature hard rock/heavy metal rhythms and pretty basic heavy metal riffing, and loads melodic guitar solos and harmony guitar themes. The latter part of the sound is obviously influenced a great deal by artists like Thin Lizzy and Wishbone Ash.

The material on the 12 track, 50:05 minutes long album are generally well written and relatively catchy. It´s a bit one-dimensional in nature though, and a bit more variation between tracks would have been nice. Carcass have always had an understated humourous approach (even on their goregrind releases), and that approach is a bit more obvious on "Swansong" in song titles like "Keep on Rotting in the Free World" and "R**k the Vote". It never becomes silly though, so they generally tread that fine line with grace. "Swansong" features a powerful, organic, and detailed sound production, so upon conclusion it´s another quality release by Carcass. It is a step down from the preceeding two albums though, but given the extremely influential nature and great success of both of those releases, it´s not unexpected Carcass couldn´t keep up the incredible heights of their past output. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is still well deserved though.
Pop death metal!

Yes, this is the only way I can put this album. Is their even any death metal elements in this album? And if their isnt...who cares...

After the whole melodic thing made Carcass metal superstars...they decided to take that whole melodic thing, and become even more contemporary...thatr right CONTEMPORARY DEATH METAL!!! it exists, and this album prooves it.

Now Carcass fans and the metal community have divided opinions on this album...some suprisingly love it, some like it, and some really hate it.

To be honest, this is the thrid time I've heard this album and I'm only really starting to like it now. First few doesnt really stick out...but after the first few your like...Ok i get it now.

All gore is gone from the lyrics and the topics are more social and pardoyesque...maybe considreded satire at times...but sometimes the lyrics can be a bit of a joke. It is slightly watered from what you'd expect from Carcass...but it is easier to listen to.

1. Keep On Rotting In The Free World - One of their best songs in my album. Classic riff thats a right belter. 10/10

2. Tomorrow Belongs To Nobody - Kick ass ridd. Great chorus. 10/10

3. Black Star - I really dont like this song too much. It's just a bit stupid to be honest. Although it's not that bad. 7/10

4. Cross My Heart - Basically the same as what I think about Black Star, although this song is worse. 6/10

5. Child's Play - Very interesting arrangement. Great riffs and lyrics. I love how groovy and slow it is. 10/10

6. Room 101 - Great main riff. Not a big fan of the chorus though. 8/10

7. Polarized - Great chorus. Just a kick ass song. Great twists and turns. A bit like a little rollercoaster 10/10

8. Generation Hexed - I believe their is an Entombed influence...from the death and roll style. Just a kick ass song. 10/10

9. Firm Hand - One of their most diverse songs. Great lyrics and arrangement. This song also has acoustic guitars in its not every day you hear that in death metal. 10/10

10. R**k The Vote - One of their best riffs. Great chorus. Amazing guitar work. Just kick ass, plain and simple. 10/10

11. Don't Believe A Word - Amazing intro. Very different. Not a big fan of the chorus. 9/10

12. Go To Hell - It's pure cheese...but its not so bad. 8/10

CONCLUSION: By far their best and by far their worst. This is the marmite of metal...dare to try :D

Time Signature
Tomorrow belongs to Carcass...

Genre: heavy metal

"Swansong" is a fitting title because it's the last album by Carcass. While "Heartwork" with its primarily melodeath sound and non-gory lyrics, constitutes somewhat of a departure from the Carcass that people knew, "Swansong" is an absolutely radical departure from anything associated with Carcass. There are no multiply layered guitars, the music is simple and typically follows the verse-chorus pattern. Gone are the gory lyrics, which have been replaced with politically oriented ones. Gone are the blast beats, the death metal elements and any other trait of extreme metal (apart from the snarling vocals).

And that's probably why most people dislike this album. However, it is not as bad as I thought it would be. I was positively surprised the first time I heard it, and most of the tracks have some catchy grooves and melodic parts which I appreciate a lot. While the music is far from brutal and the sound somewhat polished, it still has a punch which augments the simplicity and the rock-sensibility of many of the tracks well.

It's a radical departure from the Carcass style, but for a band who were constantly looking to redefine themselves, "Swansong" is in a sense the epitome of the Carcass aprroach to music. Drummer Ken Owen has even described it as the ultimate Carcass album. That may be so, but it's not my favorite Carcass album, but I think it's a fine metal album as such.

I think that fans of traditional metal and Black Album-era Metallica as well as people who like hard rock without necessarily being into metal might enjoy this album, but death metal fans and other extreme type of metal will probably not like it - well, maybe fans of melodic death metal will like it.

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