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Carcass – Torn Arteries

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Genre: Melodic Death Metal/Death ‘n’ Roll
Country: U.K.
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Year: 2021

Carcass return 8 years after their latest studio full length album the highly acclaimed “Surgical Steel”. 2019’s EP “Despicable” was just a foretaste that only made the anticipation grow wild among their fanatics. “Torn Arteries” thankfully doesn’t follow the overused method of songwriting that most bands that carry 2 or 3 decades on their backs; they avoid making an anthology in which they would pile all of their best moments. Neither it’s not an experimental or with a progressive approaching album, as the references on “Heartwork” mostly, are once again as in its predecessor, plenty. So by keeping a balance between new and old tricks made actually an album that work like a bridge or a physical connection of the band’s past and future with present time. 

Even the album title itself referencing an old demo created by original drummer Ken Owen back in the 80’s, but despite that sonically speaking their discography looks like having a physical flow as “Torn Arteries” despite its modern production,  brings in mind back to where everything began over 30 years ago until nowadays. 

The less is more approaching, where the galloping riffs in the veins of classic Heavy Metal tempo is blended perfectly with Death Metal growls and melodies, can be reflected on the artwork cover and its white simplicity. 

Its creator Zbigniew Bielak traveled outside his normal wheelhouse to bring forth a time lapsed set of photos showing vegetables shaped like a heart, rotting over time upon a white plate. This form of artwork was influenced by Japanese Kusôzu, meaning: ‘painting of the nine stages of a decaying corpse.’

“It’s very clean, white, which we’ve never done before,” explains vocalist and bassist Jeff Walker, “it doesn’t look evil, or typically death metal, but I like how clean it is; almost like a coffee table book.” This new album presents images, lyrics, and sounds that so distinctly scream Carcass and their British phlegm, but as we mentioned above the future is here; a new era of production, songwriting, and art all together.

The title track is a hit single, but easy for the band to write. Still this meat and potatoes song grabs you from the neck and dives your head in to a lake of blood, and ripped guts. Of course you can hear songs in which Carcass use different things as in the mid tempo ‘Dance of Ixtab (Psychopomp & Circumstance March No. 1 in B)’, what a title!, that the things slow down and the tune is built around the drum tempo. ‘Eleanor Rigor Mortis’ proves my sayings about Heartwork influences and the British humour the band has. A killer thrashing song by the way…”Under the Scalpel Blade’ appeared on the Despicable EP so most of you already know it and leads to the catchy one “The Devil Rides Out’, which its melody reminds of 80’s Heavy Metal arenas.

“In God We Trust’ has this galloping rhythm and “Flesh Ripping Sonic Torment Limited” may a starts with an acoustic intro but it evolves into a 100% Carcass song of pure Thrash hate and melodic touches. This is the longest composition the band ever were almost ten minutes long with a bluesy guitar and grind breaks that keep the listener’s attention before

“Kelly’s Meat Emporium’ comes along, another classic Carcass that has their characteristic trademark sound.  The working title was “Stock Carcass”, and it is followed by the groovy “Wake Up and Smell the Carcass – Caveat Emptor” that brings in mind a repetitive Hard Rock motif. Simple, but brilliant.  The closing track ‘The Scythe’s Remorseless Swing’ uses duel guitars and an excellent performance by Walker using  from deep vocals to spoken words, while Steer’s backing vocals really helps on creating a dark atmosphere to this spooky song.

The two new members Daniel Wilding -that had played with Aborted in the past- and Tom Draper -from Heavy Metal heroes Pounder – brought a fresh air and enthusiasm, their playing is excellent and the chemistry they built with Steer and Walker makes this era one of the greatest that this band ever lived.

Carcass could have recorded the sequel of “Surgical Steel”  without anyone blame them yet they moved from the safe zone, without being outrageous or too experimental creating a -more than just decent- practically perfect album that will please most of metal fans out there. Purists not included unfortunately…

Nikos Nakos
Nikos Nakos
“When the Last Tree Is Cut Down, the Last Fish Eaten, and the Last Stream Poisoned, You Will Realize That You Cannot Eat Money.”

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