Sunday, September 1, 2013

Carcass - Surgical Steel - Album Review

Year: 2013

A perfect blend of Death Metal and melody. I used to wonder if such a thing can even exist! Evidence from the music of most Melodic Death Metal bands today, suggested otherwise, as they were over saturated with melody to the point that they became simple melodic metal with harsh vocals. But, if there is one band that could pull off the perfect ratio of both Death Metal and melody, it ought to be a band that have proved their merit in both the fields. That is exactly what Carcass had done in the past and now, with their comeback album about to be unleashed, they prove that they are the right band to accomplish the task of delivering the perfect mix.

Over the years Carcass have helped pioneer not just one, but TWO different genres namely DeathGrind and Melodic Death Metal. When the band split up after 'Swansong' in 1996, it looked like the end of an era for one of the most talented bands in the scene. But now in 2013, after 17 long years of silence, Carcass is all set to release their sixth full length album titled 'Surgical Steel' on 13th September 2013, through Nuclear Blast records.

The discography of this band has the fans divided between their earlier work and the later work. While some argue that their earlier works which were rooted in the realms of grind and death were the best, others adore the later and more melodic version of the band. And then there is Surgical Steel which feels and sounds like the missing link between the two eras. The album starts off with the instrumental opener '1985', which was the year the band started off under the moniker Disattack. From the moment the first track ends, it is an absolute pandemonium till the very end.

Bill Steer's guitar work is the heart and soul of this record. The way he makes all the songs to sound like solid Death Metal tracks, while silently sneaking in the melody in the form of solos and bridges is absolutely enthralling. As said earlier, the balance is absolutely perfect without the songs sounding overly melodic. The melody is sewn in with the music so intricately that in the first few listens, the melodic parts do not stand out much at all, except in the guitar solos. Rhythm guitar work by Ben Ash, nicely compliments Steer's guitar parts. He holds down the fort in the heavy sections while Steer erupts into one of his beautifully crafted solos, which results in a beautiful amalgamation.

The vocalist, Jeff Walker, snarls his way through the album. His snarls sound very clearly and are even almost decipherable. I say almost, because the lyrical content on this album seems to have been lifted off a medical dictionary. The bass work, once again handled by Jeff, is one of excellence. The bass lines speak a story of their own, instead of backing up the ones spoken by the guitars. The drummer Daniel Wilding is fast, talented and he packs a lot of punch into his drumming.The pace shifts come very naturally to the drummer and he makes the changes sound very fluid.

I understand why this album is called 'Surgical Steel'. It has the right amount of precision and sharpness to justify the album title. This album is no 'Necotisicm - Descanting The Insalubrious', nor is it a 'Heartwork'. It is an alloy of both these masterpieces. To label this as just a comeback album will not do justice to the awesomeness contained in this record. Each and every track is undeniably enjoyable, without a single exception. I would not go so far as to call this album, the best work of Carcass. I will say this though. It would be near impossible for any other album in 2013, to top what Carcass have delivered.

Rating: 100% 

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