Today is a good day, while going about my business of doing absolutely nothing I stumbled upon a post revealing Carcass are streaming their entire new album on YouTube. Armed with this knowledge I expect half of you have now just exited this post, I probably should have opened differently. For the other half of you still here doing a read and listen, our review lurks below so hit play and enjoy! (I have no idea how long this stream will be live for, so go for it while it lasts).
If you’ve just hit play, you should be pretty happy right now. Seventeen years is a long time to wait for a band to churn out a new album and a short intro track is such a cocktease but it’s worth it; it builds up to that beautiful moment where Thrasher’s Abattoir kicks in and I mean kicks in. No fucking about here, Jeff Walker’s vocals explode in with the rest of the band for an all-out assault which is the best kind of assault.
Joining Walker and Bill Steer are the two new members, Daniel Wilding who took over the drums from Daniel Erlandsson last year, and Ben Ash who has replaced Michael Amott on guitar (how is that for a stressful job?). If you’re reading exceptionally slowly you should have just finished the fantastically titled Cadaver Pouch Conveyor System and from that know that these new members have slotted in pretty perfectly.
As mentioned, the song titles are the usual brilliance. From the neck busting grooves and filthy slow solos of A Congealed Clot of Blood into the straight ahead chord stabbing heaviness of The Master Butcher’s Apron that presents us an even bigger neck busting groove, the titles are classic Carcass. For my money though, the best title goes to Noncompliance to ASTM F 899-12 Standard, purely because I can’t wait to hear some drunken gig goer attempting to shout a request out for it like it’s Freedbird. And we can only hope the band understand what this drunken bastard is trying to shout because it (I use “it” to avoid typing the fucker again) is the highlight of the album by far for me.
While the first half is a heavier, groove laden affair, it seems the second half enters a more melodic territory. Don’t get me wrong, we’re not talking acoustic guitars and whiney love songs. We’re still in a land of fast riffs, heavy drums and growled vocals. It’s just that the music itself is slightly more melodic. Unfit For Human Consumption wins best riff of the album with Steer and Ash playing so tightly together you’d think they were together from the start.
As for the sound of the album, it is a whole lot more refined than some previous releases. It’s certainly heavier than Swansong but doesn’t reach the extreme levels of the early Carcass albums. While this could be due to age and lineup changes, it’s most likely due to the step forward in production. A bigger budget and Andy Sneap have taken them away from the old raw sound and have given them something they should have had long ago while retaining what Carcass is about. You just can’t go wrong when Andy Sneap gets his hands on your record.
With Carcass reforming in 2007 the rumours and wishes for a new album have been everywhere, when they announced a new album was coming everyone suddenly came in their pants and were hit with the fear at the same time. Look at the amount of reformed bands releasing albums that have gone tits up. We most certainly do not have that case here, expectations matched and exceeded.