CARCASS — Swansong (review)

CARCASS — Swansong album cover Album · 1996 · Death 'n' Roll Buy this album from MMA partners
3/5 ·
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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