Let's face it, though 1995's Swansong is a decent album, it's not exactly looked at as a Carcass classic, and probably in the grand scheme of things not the way this legendary band wanted to go out. Fast forward to 2007, when the band re-united and played a host of live gigs that garnered plenty of acclaim from both critics and fans alike, prompting this once mighty extreme metal act to make the decision to hit the studio once again and make another go of it. Guitarist Michael Amott, who was part of the original re-union, bowed out due to commitments with Arch Enemy & Spiritual Beggars, leaving founding members Jeff Walker and Bill Steer to take it upon themselves to shape what we now have in our hands, the outstanding Surgical Steel.
Yes, believe the hype and all the gushing reviews folks; this is one hell of a thrashy, melodic death/grind feast here, easily bringing to mind the best moments of Necrotocism-Descanting the Insalubrious and Heartwork in that the songs are both brutal yet melodic with plenty of jaw dropping musicality. Joining Steer & Walker is drummer Dan Wilding, who does a fine job throughout, and the band have added Ben Ash for the upcoming tour to flesh out the guitar team. Surgical Steel was produced by Colin Richardson, engineered by Carl Brown, and mixed & mastered by Andy Sneap, so you can expect a superb sounding CD. Steer's guitar work is absolutely lethal, the riffs full of crunch and technical at times, the solos blazing, and the many lead fills just so melodic and tasty. Check out "The Master Butcher's Apron", "Thrasher's Abattoir", and "Noncompliance to ASTM F 899-12 Standard" for a non-stop barrage of Steer's bag of tricks. Walker's venomous growl is also ever present, as he spews out the gore encrusted lyrics with plenty of ferocity, acting as a demonic ringmaster on the awesome "The Granulating Dark Satanic Mills", one of the catchiest tunes here but of course still so brutal.
Though early in their career Carcass were labeled as a grind act, they've effectively fused that with melodic death metal, thrash, and even catchy classic metal here on Surgical Steel. Studded with some of the hottest guitar work in extreme metal this year, Walker's patented growls (let's face it, this guy influenced more than he's given credit for), and brutal yet instantly memorable songs, this is mandatory listening for any fan of the genre. Welcome back guys!
1. "1985" 1:15
2. "Thrasher's Abattoir" 1:50
3. "Cadaver Pouch Conveyor System" 4:02
4. "A Congealed Clot of Blood" 4:13
5. "The Master Butcher's Apron" 4:00
6. "Noncompliance to ASTM F 899-12 Standard" 6:06
7. "The Granulating Dark Satanic Mills" 4:10
8. "Unfit for Human Consumption" 4:24
9. "316 L Grade Surgical Steel" 5:10
10. "Captive Bolt Pistol" 3:16
11. "Mount of Execution" 8:25
12. "Intensive Battery Brooding"- bonus track