Tag Archives: Confessor

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.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

006 Maryland Death Fest 2012

Chris attended the Maryland Deathfest this year over Memorial Day weekend, while Spencer stayed at home and wept over missing the live sets of over 50 metal bands from all subgenres from around the world. This was the tenth year of the Deathfest’s existence at the Sonar in beautiful downtown Baltimore, and it continues to be the greatest place for people-watching and buying rare metal merch! We chose ten of our favorite bands that played the Deathfest, with songs from their actual setlists:

“Everyday Pox,” Napalm Death’s Utilitarian (2012) – Century Media

This may be the first ND tune to feature a saxophone, played by none other than John Zorn! The greatest thing about seeing Napalm play here was that as soon as they finished, we walked across the lot to see Godflesh, their old labelmates back in the Earache days—plus, Justin Broadrick of Godflesh used to be in Napalm; he played on side one of their 1988 debut album, Scum.

Godflesh live at Maryland DeathFest 2012

Mechanized metal at its finest. Godflesh, y’all.

“Crush My Soul,” Godflesh’s Selfless (1994) – Earache/Columbia

One of the most influential industrial metal bands, EVER. They reunited for this show and three other European festivals this summer, and they hadn’t toured the USA since 1996. “Crush My Soul” was the latest song they played; the rest were older (“Like Rats,” “Christbait Rising,” “Mothra,” et al.). Check YouTube for the video for “Crush My Soul”: one of my all-time favorites!


Confessor live at Maryland DeathFest 2012

Both killer and confounding. Confessor live at Maryland DeathFest 2012

“Uncontrolled,” Confessor’s Condemned (1991) – Earache

This version of “Uncontrolled” is taken from this year’s Uncontrolled demo compilation on Divebomb Records (thanks to my good buddy Matt!). Once promoted as a doom metal band from Raleigh, North Carolina, Confessor are more like progressive thrash. They recorded only one album, 1991’s Condemned, and were on the European leg of the famous Gods of Grind tour with Carcass and Entombed. They broke up before their second album in the early ’90s but reunited in 2002 after guitarist Ivan Colon passed away. Scott Jeffreys’ Geddy Lee-esque vocals put the band way out in left field, but live they crushed the crowd!

“Upon the Sight of the Other Shore,” Yob’s Atma (2011) – Profound Lore

Doom metal from Eugene, Oregon. Vocalist/guitarist Mike Scheidt is mesmerizing in concert; the band completely smothered the inside stage. To show his softer side, Scheidt also has an all-acoustic album out on Thrill Jockey, titled Stay Awake, if Yob are too much for you.

Morgoth live at Maryland DeathFest 2012

Das Morgoth! Ist gut!!

“Resistance,” Morgoth’s Odium (1994) – Century Media

One of the earliest German death metal bands, Morgoth were also one of the first bands signed to Century Media. They broke up in 1996 but have reunited for this show and a bunch of European festivals. Odium is one of Chris’ all-time favorite metal albums, plus they have a brand-new DVD out now!



Que onda, Brujeria!? Live at Maryland DeathFest 2012

“Raza Odiada (Pito Wilson),” Brujeria’s Raza Odiada (1995) – Roadrunner

The famous Mexican metal band, back again! Dino Cazares of Fear Factory isn’t in the band anymore, but playing live at the MDF was Shane Embury of Napalm Death on bass and, I think, Jeff Walker of Carcass on guitar. All of the in-between-song banter was in Spanish, and all band members wore kerchiefs over their faces like banditos!

“Boiled Angel,” Dragged Into Sunlight’s Hatred for Mankind (2011) – Prosthetic

Liverpool, UK’s Dragged Into Sunlight play awe-inspiring blackened doom/sludge metal. They go by one-initial pseudonyms, and they played at the MDF with their backs to the crowd until the last few minutes of their last song! Weird voice samples are placed throughout the songs on the album (came out in 2009 on Mordgrimm, a small UK label, and re-released by Prosthetic in 2011), but I don’t recall hearing any in concert, due to the deafening volume.

“Despise the Sun,” Suffocation’s Despise the Sun (1998) – Relapse

Pioneering death metal from Long Island and one of the first bands signed to Relapse Records in the early ’90s, Suffocation are also one of the only influential death-metal bands to boast two African-American members: guitarist Terrance Hobbs and former drummer Mike Smith. They have a new album due out next year!

Noothgrush live at Maryland DeathFest 2012

Mr. Rogers’ favorite doom band. Noothgrush.

“Useless,” Noothgrush’s Failing Early, Failing Often compilation (2001) – Slap A Ham

Stunning doom/sludge from San Jose, CA, Noothgrush released only one full-length album in their lifetime but 10+ splits/compilations! They broke up in 2001 but reunited for a few shows to promote the Live For Nothing live album, released in 2011 by Southern Lord. I was dumbfounded that sooo many younger people in the crowd knew their songs and were screaming the lyrics at the top of their lungs. One of my favorite sets of the weekend!

“Existo Vulgoré,” Morbid Angel’s Illud Divinum Insanus (2011) – Season of Mist

What more can be said about Morbid Angel? They made Tampa the death metal capital of the world. This track is taken from their newest album, Illud Divinum Insanus (the Latin doesn’t make any sense here), the first with founding member David Vincent back in the fold since 1996. Tim Yeung from Hate Eternal (who’s filling in while founding drummer Pete Sandoval heals from back surgery) was a whirlwind of arms, sticks and cymbal crashes. This is a controversial album because of the techno leanings in some songs, but they only played this and “Nevermore” off the new album; the rest were classics from Blessed Are the Sick, Covenant, and Domination.

Next episode, we’re back to the one-band format, so stay tuned!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,