Tag Archives: Carcass

015 Sweetish Death Metal vol 3: Carcass


Welcome to Episode 015! Every fifth episode we devote to death metal, and the recently reunited UK titans Carcass certainly deserve recognition. The band reclaims their metal throne with the release of their mighty comeback album, Surgical Steel. We cover their career in reverse chronological order, starting with their most recent melodic death material and ending with their earliest grind.


“Captive Bolt Pistol,” “316L Grade Surgical Steel,”  “Unfit for Human Consumption” from Surgical Steel (2013, Nuclear Blast)


A captive bolt pistol.

I bet this’ll cure your migraine (a captive bolt pistol, duh).

Carcass’ first album in 17 years, Surgical Steel was the #1 Metal Album of 2013 by Metal Urges, Decibel, and many other outlets. Produced by Colin Richardson, it was recorded with only two original members, bassist/vocalist Jeff Walker and lead guitarist Bill Steer. Drummer Ken Owen had been replaced because he suffered a cerebral hemorrhage back in 1999 and couldn’t play drums at the level that Carcass required. Walker recruited Trigger the Bloodshed drummer Daniel Wilding, and guitarist Ben Ash was added to augment the live band. Prior to this reunion, the band had reunited for touring in 2007 with Walker, Steer, Necroticism-era guitarist Michael Amott (who founded Arch Enemy), and Arch Enemy drummer Daniel Erlandsson (original). Amott & Erlandsson eventually departed to focus on Arch Enemy.


“I Told You So (Corporate Rock Really Does Suck)” from Wake Up and Smell the…Carcass (1996, Earache)


This cut was one of five unreleased tracks from the Swansong sessions, and Walker stated in interviews that these songs were stronger than the material on Swansong itself.

Those tracks were released along with other odds & sods on this posthumous compilation. No surprise that it didn’t make the Swansong cut with that title!


The much maligned Swansong.  But seriously, death metal would have been really popular if this thing didn't suck so much.

The much maligned Swansong. But seriously, death metal would have been really popular if this thing didn’t suck so much.

“R**k the Vote,” “Tomorrow Belongs To Nobody” from Swansong (1996, Earache)


Definitely the most accessible—and most divisive—album of their career, Swansong fully embraced the melodic death metal subgenre that they founded. It was recorded during Carcass’ major-label deal with Columbia Records, though the recording was fraught with difficulties, mostly because Columbia withdrew their support. Since Amott had left after Heartwork was recorded, guitarist Carlo Regadas joined for the recording. Walker said at the time that the album was taking on a Thin Lizzy, rock-based approach, and it shows in the basic verse/chorus/verse structure of a few songs. Carcass had broken up even before this album was released, and with Columbia keeping their distance, the album was released on Earache after all! With one of the worst metal album covers ever, Swansong is the album that everyone loves to hate…except us.




“Heartwork,” “This Mortal Coil” from Heartwork (1993, Earache)


Once upon a time, Carcass were hailed as grindcore godfathers, though they ushered in melodic death metal with Heartwork. Gone were Steer’s death vocals, and Walker’s vocals were cleaner but still growly. The lyrics steered away from the usual “medical dictionary” subject matter. With iconic artwork by H.R. Giger, Heartwork is considered one of metal’s greatest achievements and continues to influence hoards of bands around the world. After this album, Carcass signed with Columbia Records and began recording their major-label debut, the ill-fated Swansong.


“Rot ‘n’ Roll” from Heartwork EP (1993, Earache)


This EP was released one month before the full-length album. It previewed the title track from the Heartwork album, plus “Rot ‘n’ Roll” and “This Is Your Life.” The latter two tracks were later included on 1996’s Wake Up and Smell the…Carcass compilation.


“Tools of the Trade” from Tools of the Trade EP (1992, Earache)


This was released to coincide with the legendary Gods of Grind tour with Entombed, Cathedral, and Confessor. Three of the four tracks were later compiled on Wake Up and Smell the…Carcass.


“Corporal Jigsore Quandary” from Necroticism – Descanting the Insalubrious (1991, Earache)


This was the first album to feature guitarist Michael Amott, though Steer had written 95% of the guitar parts already. Amott contributed one riff plus leads. Again produced by Richardson, Necroticism was definitely death-metal but very progressive for the time. Along with Death’s Human (also released in 1991), Necroticism is still one of the shining gems in Carcass’ metal crown.


“Exhume to Consume” from Symphonies of Sickness (1989, Earache)


Their sophomore album found the band moving away from the grind sound and more toward the pure death-metal sound of the time: longer songs with varied tempos. Symphonies was the first time that Colin Richardson produced the band. Carnage guitarist Michael Amott joined the band during the touring cycle. The band recorded their second Peel Sessions EP, later included on 2004’s Choice Cuts compilation.


Check the dreads on a young Jeff Walker.  Or is it dredds?  Did he have to wash 'em and stuff?

Check the dreads on a young Bill Steer. Or is it dredds? Did he have to wash ’em and stuff?

“Maggot Colony” from Reek of Putrefaction (1988, Earache)


Bassist/vocalist Jeff Walker quit crust-punk band Electro Hippies to form Carcass. Bill Steer replaced guitarist Justin Broadrick in Napalm Death and recorded Side Two of Napalm’s Scum album in 1986. With its frenetic density and medical terminology-laden lyrics, Reek of Putrefaction made Carcass pioneers of the grindcore movement, and the famous Grindcrusher tour (with Napalm Death, Morbid Angel, Bolt Thrower) solidified their stance in the genre. Though the band was displeased with the production on Reek, John Peel, the famous Radio 1 DJ, loved it and promoted Carcass as one of his favorite bands. They recorded their first Peel Sessions EP in 1989, later included on the 2004 Choice Cuts compilation.


Carcass continue to tour, most recently headlining the Decibel Magazine Tour with Gorguts. With Surgical Steel hailed a grand return to form, who knows what the future holds for Carcass?


Now they're old guys.  But know this, youngsters:   Jeff Walker's still pissy and Bill Steer can still shred.

Now they’re old guys. But know this, youngsters: Jeff Walker’s still pissy and Bill Steer can still shred.

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014 Best of 2013

[Editor’s note:  Spencer was really lame and did not post this on time.  Metal Urges as a whole practiced due diligence in preparing, recording, and even writing this post on time.  Shame on you, Spencer]

We’re back with another year-end list, and this time we’re almost on time! This was another big year for reunions that resulted in new albums (for starters, Carcass and Broken Hope, both of whom made this list), old bands with amazing albums (Monster Magnet, Flotsam & Jetsam, Year of No Light, Gorguts, Immolation, Pyrexia, Autopsy), and relative newbies that totally owned the place (In Solitude, Watertank, Purson). There was a supergroup of note (Corrections House), and even a well-publicized swan song that didn’t suck (Cathedral). And no Converge this year to screw up our list, yay! Hopefully you’ll agree that our list meets and exceeds your expectations of what qualifies as metal…

Devourment:  their future's so bright, well. . .

Devourment: their future’s so bright, well. . .

#10: “Heaving Acid” from Devourment’s Conceived in Sewage (Relapse)

This quartet from Dallas, Texas has been slaughtering souls since 1995. Produced by Hate Eternal’s Erik Rutan at his Mana Studios in St. Petersburg, Florida (not Russia), Conceived in Sewage is their 5th full-length (4 studio albums plus 1 compilation) and their 1st for Relapse Records. Put yer deth on, minions!

Batillus or Predator?  Perhaps some other hydra-like beast.  You decide. Photo by Greg C

Batillus or Predator? Perhaps some other hydra-like beast. You decide.
Photo by Greg C http://www.gregcphotography.com/

#9: “Concrete” from Batillus’ Concrete Sustain (Seventh Rule)

Pronounced “Leh-nerd Skin-nerd” (just kidding, it’s “buh-TILL-us”), Batillus is an industrial metal band from New York City. Originally started as an instrumental trio in 2007, later incorporating black/death metal vocals, synths, and samples, Concrete Sustain is their 2nd full-length…and it is a whopper!

#8: “Pouring Out the Hatred” from Grime’s Deteriorate (Forcefield/Mordgrimm)

Grime is from Italy, but not the ancient Roman-laden parts: these guys hail from Trieste, a port city in the northernmost corner of the Adriatic Sea bordering Slovenia. They play Grief/Noothgrush-styled sludge doom, replete with creepy voice samples and absolutely smothering chordage. The cover art for Deteriorate is by Jason Barnett, a Texas-based street artist who’s also done covers for Noothgrush and Cleric.



#7: “Mesopelagic: Into the Uncanny” from The Ocean’s Pelagial (Metal Blade)

Based in Berlin, Germany, The Ocean is more of a collective: guest musicians contribute to each album, along with the core members of the group, led by guitarist Robin Staps. Pelagial is their 7th full-length and is a concept album about the ocean: each song is named after a deeper layer of water, and the music gets denser and darker as the album progresses. The cut we chose, “Mesopelagic: Into the Uncanny,” is the 2nd track and is very melodic, since it’s closest to the surface.

Th Oceans contained in a pool.  Wow, that's like poetry, man.

The Oceans contained in a pool. Wow, that’s like poetry, man.

Doom kings we call Kongh.

Doom kings we call Kongh.

#6: “Rendered Into Lard” from Broken Hope’s Omen of Disease (Century Media)

After a decade of inactivity, Chicago’s death dealers Broken Hope reunite with a new vocalist and release their 6th full-length and one of their best, Omen of Disease. The deluxe CD comes with a bonus DVD chronicling the band’s career—which is absolutely essential for any death-metal fan—and included is a chapter on Joe Ptacek, their original vocalist who died in 2010.

#5: “The Portals” from Kongh’s Sole Creation (Agonia)

Formed in 2004, Kongh hail from Nässjö, a small town in southern Sweden (hometown of the Backyard Babies, if that matters). Their 2nd album, 2009’s Shadows of the Shapeless, was one of our top albums of that year, but we didn’t really dig this new album until the 5th or 6th spin. Sole Creation is so different from Shadows: where Shadows was more post-hardcore doom like Lento or Callisto, Sole Creation is more head-down doom like Yob mixed with High on Fire.

#4: “In Remorse” from Author & Punisher’s Women & Children (Seventh Rule)

One-man band Tristan Shone does it again with his 5th full-length, Women & Children. It’s less brutal industrial than last year’s Ursus Americanus, but still just as infectious. We have an exclusive interview with Tristan to be featured as a future episode, so stay tuned!

#3: “In Awe Of” from Cult of Luna’s Vertikal (Indie Recordings)

Hailing from Umeå, Sweden, Cult of Luna has long been a proponent of the harsher end of atmospheric post-hardcore. Vertikal is their 7th full-length and the first in which they’ve slowed things down to incorporate more melodic sections, like Jesu or Hyatari. They also released a companion EP, titled Vertikal II, with extra songs and a Justin Broadrick remix (!).

#2: “Winter” from Secrets of the Sky’s To Sail Black Waters (Kolony)

An amazing band from Oakland, California, Secrets of the Sky burst onto the scene with their award-winning debut, To Sail Black Waters. They were originally signed to Gravedancer Records, but the label went under and ripped off the band in the process; Kolony Records emerged from the dust to release the majestic new album. To Sail Black Waters is what we wish Novembers Doom became, instead of the overtly melancholic doom that they’ve choked out over the past few albums.

And our #1 pick: “The Granulating Dark Satanic Mills” from Carcass’ Surgical Steel (Nuclear Blast)

The godfathers of UK grindcore & melodic death metal return with their first album in 17 years! Surgical Steel sounds more vicious than their genre-defining 1993 opus, Heartwork—may be their best album EVER. We’ve got a big surprise planned for Episode #015 as a continuation of our death metal theme…so stay tuned!

Best Carcass ever?  Hmm. . .

Best Carcass ever? Hmm. . .


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012 Maryland Death Fest 2013

As if Deathfest or inner city Baltimore aren't brutal enough. . .

As if Deathfest or inner city Baltimore aren’t brutal enough. . .

This year, both of us attended Maryland Deathfest to witness the metal event of the year. Not only did we join Chris Dick of Decibel for band sets, Bergers cookies, and late-night chili dogs, but we also met Mark Rudolph of Requiem Metal Podcast to talk shop about podcasting. The weather in Baltimore was unseasonably pleasant, and we all had a blast hanging out and breathing in the not-so-fetid air of the Charm City. Shout-outs to our comrades Sean Palmerston, Kevin Stewart-Panko, Gordon Conrad, Ian Christe, and Magnus Henriksson! All the following songs were played live and are in chronological order:

“Incarnated Solvent Abuse” from Carcass’ Necroticism: Descanting the Insalubrious (1991, Earache)

The reunited Carcass—well, Jeff Walker, Bill Steer, and the new blood—came to slay, and slay they did indeed. The godfathers of UK grindcore who pioneered the melodic death metal subgenre even have a new album, Surgical Steel, out October 1 on Nuclear Blast. Mark your calendars!

Pelican gettin' all Pink Floyd-y.

Pelican gettin’ all Pink Floyd-y.

“Ephemeral” from Pelican’s Ephemeral EP (2009, Southern Lord)

Some fans may’ve thought that post-rockers Pelican didn’t belong at MDF, but actually they added a much needed diversity to the brutal mix. I found it touching that before playing two new songs, guitarist Trevor de Brauw asked the crowd politely to refrain from recording the songs and posting them online: a heartfelt plea from a true artist. Sadly, this made even more people pull out their cells and record the proceedings!

“Skybone” from The Obsessed’s Incarnate (1999, Southern Lord)

The Obsessed, the true grandfathers of doom, formed in 1976 (!) but hadn’t played together since the band broke up around 1995. A few festival gigs and here they are in Baltimore, their first hometown gig in twenty-odd years. For all you collectors: “Skybone” was originally released on the 1991 Hellhound Records comp What the Hell! and later included on their final full-length, The Church Within (1994, Columbia/Hellhound). Wino’s long locks are graying and sophisticating as the years roll on.

When Eric eats a bannana, he becomes. . . BANANAMAN!

When Eric eats a bannana, he becomes. . . BANANAMAN!

“I Am God” from Broken Hope’s Loathing (1997, Metal Blade)

Chicago’s Broken Hope have peddled meat & potatoes death metal since 1991, to varying levels of acclaim. Critics severely panned their early albums, but 1997’s Loathing introduced a more technical style, furthered by 1999’s Grotesque Blessings. Founding throat Joe Ptacek left in 1999 and tragically died in 2010, but the band reunited with Gorgasm vocalist Damian Leski and recorded their first album in almost fifteen years, Omen of Disease, out September 30 on Century Media!

“Night Goat” from Melvins’ Houdini (1993, Atlantic)

Ahh, the Melvins…what can we say about these guys?!? We’ve loved them ever since Houdini blew our minds back in high school, regardless of how spotty or inaccessible their output has been since then. We thought that their inclusion at MDF didn’t make the most perfect sense but were glad when they stuck to their Atlantic catalog for their set list. King Buzzo dressed like a wizard for the festivities, and thankfully Dale Crover was NOT wearing only a Speedo!

“Lifer” from Down’s NOLA (1995, Elektra)

Down is Phil Anselmo’s most famous on-and-off band outside of Pantera, still going strong since 1995. Our enthusiasm for their albums has decidedly waned since the initial fireworks of NOLA, mainly due to the band’s extreme lethargy in releasing albums (usually 5-7 years between them, due to the obligations of the members’ main bands). Yet they released the new Down IV Part I – The Purple EP last year, and it wasn’t half bad. We just wish Pepper Keenan would rejoin COC and set them straight!

“Independent” from Sacred Reich’s Independent (1993, Hollywood)

Straight-up thrash from Phoenix, Sacred Reich was an early signing to Metal Blade in 1987, and major-label Hollywood Records picked them up for only one album, 1993’s Independent. We feel that the Reich hasn’t received a whole lotta love over the years, so we were very pleased with their very enthusiastic reception at MDF. As bassist/vocalist Phil Rind commented during their set, “You younger fans don’t know that we used to a cool band. Now we’re just fat!”

“Dragonaut” from Sleep’s Sleep’s Holy Mountain (1993, Earache)

Since 1991, San Francisco’s infamous Sleep have been the progenitors of stoner doom alongside Kyuss and Monster Magnet. They’re also one of the only metal bands that’ve released only one truly great album before breaking up, the pioneering 1993’s Sleep’s Holy Mountain, which spawned numerous sound-alikes. Check out the original video for “Dragonaut” here [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2-FjO3E8K-E].

“Road of Kings” from Manilla Road’s Open the Gates (1985, Black Dragon)

Three crucial game-changing points to remember about Manilla Road: (1) their hometown is the awesome Midwest burg of Wichita, Kansas; (2) they began crafting their cult traditional metal sound in 1981, while most of their fans were still sucking their thumbs; and (3) they’ve released a whopping 18 official albums! The MDF crowd was visibly stoked to see these guys, especially founding guitarist/vocalist Mark ‘The Shark’ Shelton, now 56 years young and rocking like he was a teenager!

You're never too old to play guitar either.

You’re never too old to play guitar either.

“Treat Me Right” from Pentagram’s Last Rites (2011, Metal Blade)

If you haven’t seen the recent documentary Last Days Here about Bobby Leibling’s return to metal, please binge-stream it on Netflix asap. The elder statesman of Sabbath-inspired doom, Leibling was late as usual, but this crowd didn’t mind as they gave this 60-year-old metalhead an ear-splitting ovation as he shuffled onstage. Bug-eyed Bobby aimed to please with fan faves like “Be Forewarned,” “Livin’ in a Ram’s Head,” “20 Buck Spin” (which inspired the record label of the same name), and of course “Forever My Queen.”

“Black Metal” from Venom’s Black Metal (1982, Neat)

We’ve never quite understood the appeal of England’s Venom. They’re known for extremely influential proto-thrash that started as the NWOBHM movement was ebbing. They coined the term “black metal” as the title of their 1982 album and inevitably named an entire metal subgenre/movement. They formed in 1979, before most of their fans were born. But when Cronos took the stage to the fathoms-deep bellows of the MDF crowd, we understood everything. This is metal, after all.

Look:  RequiemMetalUrgesPodcast.

Look: RequiemMetalUrgesPodcast.

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