Album: Surgical Steel
Last year most metal fans said that Carcass’ Surgical Steel was the album of the year. In all honesty, I only listened to a couple tracks when the album first came out. I really liked the couple tracks I heard, but for some strange reason I just never took to the time to listen to the entire album. However, after finally buying a physical copy of the album, along with listening to more than a couple songs, I must admit that this release was one of the best albums to come out last year.
The Liverpool surgical themed death grind icons deliver their veteran skills with Surgical Steel. It seemed about time since the last studio album these guys recorded was released in 1996! Even after their long break Carcass sounds better than ever. When listening to this album on CD in my car I am left speechless when Bill Steer breaks into a massive sounding guitar riff. Also, Jeff Walker’s lyrics are creative with plenty of descriptive terms to show his vast knowledge of the surgical themed subjects that he writes about. His vocals sound sharp with a nasty edge and sound great as he puts emphasis to each word. Daniel Wilding, the new drummer, fits right into the Carcass groove, and his presence behind the kit can be heard pounding out forceful sounding rhythms throughout this album.
Surgical Steel’s introduction instrumental song, “1985,” proves that Carcass still knows how to set up an album with a triumphant sounding arrangement. The song sets up the next track, “Thrasher’s Abattoir,” a song that features fierce chord progressions and rapid thrash like rhythms. Songs three and four, “Cadaver Pouch Conveyer System” and “A Congealed Clot of Blood,” are classic gritty sounding pieces of graphic surgical reference. One of my favorite songs on the album, “The Master Butcher’s Apron,” contains some clever lyrical phrasing and vivid imagery. Also, the instrumental composition is technical, but with a sense of purpose to create a solid sound.
Another impressive track on this album is, “The Granulating Dark Satanic Mills.” Here the band focuses on coming up with clever guitar hooks that are accompanied by catchy lyrics. The chorus has a classic hard rock feel to it with the repetitive catchy verse and can get stuck in your head for hours. The following track, “Unfit For Human Consumption,” is a return to the more aggressive sounding style that I would say maintains an unrivaled presence on this album. Bill Steer sounds just amazing...there is really no other word to describe his abilities. He guy can create truly heavy sounding chord smashing riffs and then compose a fluid shredding solo. Not too many guitarists can copy his style, and that is what makes him... Amazing!
“Captive Bolt Pistol,” which was released as a single before the album came out, is another solid hard hitting cadaver slicing tune. I played the single on my radio show a week after it was first released, and I still enjoy listening to it. Jeff Walker’s vocals, Bill’s guitar and Daniel’s drumming all blend great together on this track. The final song on the album, “Mount of Excitation,” brings the surgical death madness to a halt by putting all the extreme passion on the chopping block. The unholy tone and dynamic rhythms cannot sound any more extreme.
If you have not heard more than two track off of this album, go out and buy a copy now. Carcass are still masters of surgical themed death metal who show they can keep the vicious medical persona going. Surgical Steel is a pure metal release in both sound and attitude. This album is how extreme music should be played.
May I also recommend listening to the album in your car once you purchase it. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing the look on the person’s face in the car next to yours as you bang your head to one of Bill’s crushing riffs...Well, keep on rocking (or rotting) in the free world people and get this album!