CARCASS

Melodic Death Metal / Grindcore / Death Metal / Goregrind / 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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CARCASS Discography

CARCASS albums / top albums

CARCASS Reek of Putrefaction album cover 2.95 | 24 ratings
Reek of Putrefaction
Goregrind 1988
CARCASS Symphonies of Sickness album cover 3.50 | 26 ratings
Symphonies of Sickness
Goregrind 1989
CARCASS Necroticism: Descanting the Insalubrious album cover 4.35 | 57 ratings
Necroticism: Descanting the Insalubrious
Death Metal 1991
CARCASS Heartwork album cover 4.38 | 74 ratings
Heartwork
Melodic Death Metal 1993
CARCASS Swansong album cover 3.67 | 37 ratings
Swansong
Death 'n' Roll 1996
CARCASS Surgical Steel album cover 4.10 | 28 ratings
Surgical Steel
Melodic Death Metal 2013
CARCASS Torn Arteries album cover 4.00 | 5 ratings
Torn Arteries
Melodic Death Metal 2021

CARCASS EPs & splits

CARCASS Pathologic album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Pathologic
Grindcore 1989
CARCASS Peel Sessions album cover 2.33 | 3 ratings
Peel Sessions
Grindcore 1989
CARCASS Live St. George's Hall, Bradford 15.11.89 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Live St. George's Hall, Bradford 15.11.89
Grindcore 1990
CARCASS Gods of Grind album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Gods of Grind
Death Metal 1992
CARCASS Tools of the Trade album cover 4.18 | 9 ratings
Tools of the Trade
Death Metal 1992
CARCASS The Heartwork EP album cover 3.75 | 4 ratings
The Heartwork EP
Melodic Death Metal 1994
CARCASS Carcass / Cerebral Bore album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Carcass / Cerebral Bore
Melodic Death Metal 2014
CARCASS Surgical Remission / Surplus Steel album cover 3.83 | 5 ratings
Surgical Remission / Surplus Steel
Melodic Death Metal 2014
CARCASS Despicable album cover 4.00 | 4 ratings
Despicable
Melodic Death Metal 2020

CARCASS live albums

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

CARCASS Flesh Ripping Sonic Torment album cover 1.00 | 1 ratings
Flesh Ripping Sonic Torment
Grindcore 1987
CARCASS Rock Hard Presents: Gods of Grind album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Rock Hard Presents: Gods of Grind
Death Metal 1991
CARCASS Zochrot album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Zochrot
Death Metal 2013
CARCASS Under the Scalpel Blade album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Under the Scalpel Blade
Death Metal 2019

CARCASS re-issues & compilations

CARCASS Wake Up And Smell The... album cover 3.45 | 7 ratings
Wake Up And Smell The...
Death Metal 1996
CARCASS Choice Cuts 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 Heartwork

Album · 1993 · Melodic Death Metal
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ssmarcus
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...

CARCASS Despicable

EP · 2020 · Melodic Death Metal
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UMUR
"Despicable" is an EP release by UK, Liverpool based death metal act Carcass. The EP was released through Nuclear Blast in October 2020. It´s the successor to the "Surgical Remission / Surplus Steel" EP from 2014, which is a release featuring leftover tracks from the band´s comeback album "Surgical Steel (2013)". "Despicable" was however originally not meant to be the next Carcass release as the band had already recorded a full-length studio album, with the tentative title "Torn Arteries", which they had plans to release in the summer of 2020. They even released the teaser single track "Under the Scalpel Blade" in December 2019 to promote the release of the album. The Covid-19 pandemic hit though and Carcass and Nuclear Blast opted to postpone the release of their next full-length album until 2021, to be able to tour in the wake of freshly released material. Carcass felt they had to fulfil the promise made of new material in 2020 though, and hence the release of "Despicable".

"Under the Scalpel Blade" is included on "Despicable" along with 3 other tracks, which are outtakes from the recording sessions for "Torn Arteries". Carcass have usually had the habit of releasing an album and then subsequently releasing an EP with leftover material (or at least they´ve done it quite a few times), but as a consequence of the circumstances they´ve done the opposite this time around. It´s too soon to say if any of the four tracks on the EP will be included on the forthcoming album, but if any my guess would be "Under the Scalpel Blade". It´s quite the brilliant death metal track and stylistically sits somewhere between the sound of the material on "Necroticism - Descanting the Insalubrious (1991)" and "Heartwork (1993)".

The three remaining tracks: "The Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue", "The Long and Winding Bier Road", and "Slaughtered in Soho", are predominantly mid-paced, heavy, and slightly more traditional heavy metal/thrash metal influenced, while of course still being placed firmly in the death metal camp. Jeff Walker´s raw snarling vocals are intact, the guitar harmonies, the solid and heavy playing rhythm section, and the great guitar solos are all there and accounted for, so fans of the band won´t be disappointed with the musical direction, although I personally hope for slightly more memorable material to be featured on the forthcoming album.

"Despicable" features a heavy, powerful, and detailed sounding production job, and it´s a sound which is perfect for the material. Upon conclusion "Despicable" is yet another high quality release from Carcass, and although I wouldn´t call it a mandatory listen, it´s still great to finally hear some new material from the band. A 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.

CARCASS Swansong

Album · 1996 · Death 'n' Roll
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UMUR
"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.

CARCASS Necroticism: Descanting the Insalubrious

Album · 1991 · Death Metal
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UMUR
"Necroticism: Descanting the Insalubrious" is the 3rd full-length studio album by UK, Liverpool based death metal/grindcore act Carcass. The album was released through Earache Records in October 1991. It´s the successor to "Symphonies of Sickness" from 1989 and it features one lineup change since the predecessor as Swedish guitarist Michael Amott has joined Carcass, making the band a four-piece on "Necroticism: Descanting the Insalubrious". Before joining Carcass, Amott had been an instrumental part of the early Swedish death metal scene with Carnage. A band which released one of the early Swedish death metal albums in "Dark Recollections (1990)".

Right off the bat the new four-piece lineup have great impact on Carcass sound. While "Symphonies of Sickness (1989)" showed great progression from "Reek of Putrefaction (1988)", by incorporating death metal heaviness and brutality to the goregrind intensity of the debut album, it´s nothing against what has happened between "Symphonies of Sickness (1989)" and "Necroticism: Descanting the Insalubrious". The gory (and almost completely impossible to understand) lyrical subjects, the combination of high pitched aggressive snarling and deep growling grunts, and the occasional blast beat, are elements the two albums have in common, but other than that Carcass have made a lot of changes on "Necroticism: Descanting the Insalubrious" compared to the predecessor.

The tracks are composed with more focus on catchy riffs/rhythms and melodic hooks in mind. Not that this is easily accessible music in any way, but it´s still quite melodic at times and there are several really strong recognisable moments featured on the album. A powerful catchy vocal phrase, a melodic guitar solo (on an interesting sidenote, all guitar solos on the album have been given titles), or a memorable death/thrashy riff or drum pattern (like the drum intro to "Corporal Jigsore Quandary"). All elements which make the listening experience a more memorable one. The tracks generally require some spins before they sink in though, and it has a lot to do with the complexity of the song structures, which may feature vers/chorus like sections, but often go way beyond that "regular" structure. Sometimes to a point where you can call the song structures progressive.

In addition to the very well written material, the high level performances, and the brutal and powerful Colin Richardson production, "Necroticism: Descanting the Insalubrious" also features something else which defines it and that´s its dark and sick atmosphere. The short intro samples, which appear between most tracks on the album, of medical examiners/coroners speaking about decaying flesh, skeletal remains, and identifying decomposed bodies, provide exactly the right atmosphere for the music to shine. It´s one of those releases where the tracklist and the overall flow of the album are constructed almost perfectly.

The album is more or less one long highlight, but I´d still like to mention "Inpropagation" and "Incarnated Solvent Abuse" as some of the standout tracks (the latter is the Carcass track I will always tell people to listen to first if they are new to the band and want to explore them). Upon conclusion "Necroticism: Descanting the Insalubrious" is a high quality release through and through and to my ears the artistic peak of Carcass discography. Carcass may have refined and perfected their sound on "Heartwork (1993)" and thereby brought a more accessible appeal to their music, but they were never able to bring the gloomy and vile atmosphere of "Necroticism: Descanting the Insalubrious" with them, in my opinion they lost a bit of their magic because of it. "Necroticism: Descanting the Insalubrious" is a unique piece of extreme metal and a 5 star (100%) rating is fully deserved.

CARCASS Reek of Putrefaction

Album · 1988 · Goregrind
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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.

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