Thirty-three years ago, back in 1988, three British youths wrote themselves into the history books of Death Metal, releasing their debut album “Reek of Putrefaction”. Not only shocking the world with its grinding speed and gore splattered lyrics, inspired directly from the bloodiest parts of a medical dictionary, but creating the sub-genre “Goregrind”, taking Death Metal to the absolute extremes.
Although clinging on to the utterly regurgitating concept for a couple of more albums, the music, album by album turned into more conventional Death Metal and later on, even a far more melodic sound on the boarder to Thrash-, and even (by a far stretch) Heavy Metal.
I, myself find their early to mid-period most interesting with their third album “Necroticism – Descanting the Insalubrious” and the EP “Tools of the Trade” being their absolute peak. Although losing interest in the band with their fourth and fifth albums, “Heartwork” and “Swansong” and not being that impressed with The Gods of Grind’s return to the scene with 2013’s “Surgical Steel”, I still couldn’t help but feeling a bit excited and curious regarding their upcoming release, “Torn Arteries”!
Much to my satisfaction and relief, the album directly shows itself from its best side in the opening title track, offering somewhat of a return to the sound of the “Necroticism”-album! Aggressive, technical and fast passed Death Metal on the boarder to Thrash, quite catchy without being far to melodic and tame! Although I got a bit suspicious at the beginning of the second track, “Dance of IXTAB”, fearing that Carcass had fallen into the well-known mid-tempo trap, consuming so many great extreme metal bands, they manage to keep my interest, offering intriguing riffs and by mixing the more unobtrusive parts with sudden outburst of aggression. Jeff Walker still being one of the best and unique singers in Death Metal also help lifting the songs.
Even if I must admit that I sometime find Carcass dwelling a bit to much in the realms of slow to mid-tempo on “Torn Arteries”, I never lose interest in the album, and I actually often get that urge to take the album for one more spin, due to the variation of the songs. A variation not least demonstrated by the unsuspected ten minutes epic, “Flesh Ripping Sonic Torment” (the title paying homage to their first ’87 demo), feeling like a much shorter song, and their ability to actually incorporate some grindcore parts into the songs, without making it feel forced. Even my least favourite song of the album, the in my ears, a bit to melodic “In God We Trust” is lifted by details like the much surprising “Spanish” hand clap in the solo.
I find Carcass in 2021 to be quite appealing, and although they still have kept the melodic style from their later albums, they also present some of the aggression of their early(ier) accomplishments and offer riffs that sound both surprisingly fresh as well as having that typical evil and sick Carcass-sound. A bit uncertain on the final verdict, hesitating between an eight or a seven, I finally decided on the latter, due to the fact that they linger a bit much in the lower tempos, but with that said, it’s a strong seven and “Torn Arteries” is sure recommended to all, but maybe the most uncompromising gore hounds!
Title: Torn Arteries
Label: Nuclear Blast
Playing Time: 49 minutes
Date of release: 2021-09-17
Place of origin: United Kingdom
Standout track: Torn Arteries