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Carcass | Surgical Steel | review | metal | Lollipop


Surgical Steel (Nuclear Blast)
By Mike Delano

Absolutely ferocious comeback album from the pioneers of melodic death metal. After a short intro lets you prepare yourself for the onslaught to come, the opening seconds of "Thrasher's Abattoir" finds Carcass picking up right where they left off nearly 20 years ago with Swansong. Of course, since that album is seen by many as the black sheep of their catalogue because of its non-extreme 'rock' elements (Note: it's not a bad album at all), maybe they're really picking up the torch from their 1993 masterpiece Heartwork. It certainly sounds that way – "Thrasher's Abattoir" reintroduces the unmistakable snarl of vocalist/bassist Jeff Walker as he gnashes, sneers and growls his way through lyrics about "asphyxiation/immolation/victimization" while guitarist Bill Steer slashes into the mix with riffs that combine clinical precision and violent brutality. The beating rarely lets up until the second half, as the zombified waltz of "A Congealed Clot of Blood" gives way to the machine gun pummeling of "The Master Butcher's Apron." Surgical Steel isn't just a one-note, 11-song attack, though, because the band throws in some surprises that turn out well. The second half tracks feature some definite Maiden-isms in the guitars, "The Granulating Dark Satanic Mills" is downright catchy, and the epic closer "Mount of Execution" feels like a well-deserved victory lap and is punctuated by some volcanic riffing. Who knows what inspired these UK legends to rise from cryosleep, start playing shows again a few years back and then come together to create this beast of a record. It can't be the money. It may be the pride. Or maybe these sinister bastards just wanted to put their boots to the throats of all these younger Carcass-inspired bands and show them what the genuine article is still capable of. If so, mission accomplished. Walk on home, boy.


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