Carcass Talk About Their Promising Sixth Album
Carcass are back baby! The reactivated British extreme metal legends have actually been touring again since 2007, but now they are preparing to release their first studio album in 17 years (!!!), which in case you were unsure, is a hell of a long time! The new album has been titled Surgical Steel and is their sixth album. Their last album was called Swansong and was released in 1996. The band have previously always had a strong relationship with Earache Records, with all of their previous albums being released through the esteemed British label. However, Carcass are currently searching for new label representation for Surgical Steel’s imminent release. It will be their first album featuring new drummer Dan Wilding ( hailing from Aborted, and Trigger The Bloodshed) , but will feature guest vocals from original stick thrasher Ken Owen (he’s no longer drumming for the band because of his near fatal brain haerhomage in 1998). It’s good to see they managed to keep him involved, regardless of how small the contribution may be! The album will be produced by accomplished producer Colin Richardson who has accumulated a lot of experience working with a large variety of acts such as Fear Factory, Machine Head, Napalm Death and SlipKnot.
While this is of course good news, it does provoke thought and minor concern as to whether the band will ever be able to recreate the success that they had with amazing classic material like Heartwork, which became an incredibly influential album in the sphere of metal. It would be a shame to see such a well respected band come back only to fail to capitalize on their own already established abilities. We’re regularly faced with bands reuniting and ultimately, treading uninspired waters as a way to cash in on an old name that it’s unfortunately started to tarnish events that you would normally be excited for. A Carcass reunion is something that fans have longed for, for a long time. It would be a crushing disappointment if they were a shadow of their former selves.
Luckily, Carcass alumni Bill Steer (guitarist) and Jeff Walker (bass/vocals) have been opening up in interviews about their new material, and their words are a very welcome calming force in a sea of doubt. Steer says:
I found myself playing riffs that sounded like Carcass. This was after the band had finished the whole reunion cycle of shows and festivals. So, officially, I would have been playing with other bands and stuff, but for some reason whenever I picked up a guitar at home I was coming up with riffs that sounded like Carcass. I got on the phone to Jeff (Walker) and said, ‘We could have a crack at writing a couple of tunes and seeing if they’re strong enough and take it from there.’ We also agreed if it didn’t sound like Carcass or have that kind of vibe to it, we would just drop it. So that was the thing, we got together and started working on some stuff and just immediately got the excitement back very quickly.
It definitely sounds like Carcass. I think we just generally by accident captured the flavour of past music that we have done and you can’t help but push it forward. We have really been creative and when you are looking at things like guitar harmonies, it’s way more adventurous on this record. It’s not just parallel harmony like we did in the past, things branch off in different directions.
A lot of what is happening now is based on rhythms rather than actual riffs. We were discussing this a lot during record sessions about how the riff is almost dying or dead already. People spend a lot of time chugging on the bottom string [but] that’s a rhythm, it’s not a riff. We can’t write a song, never mind an album, without it being choc-full of riffs.
Steer seems pretty adamant on convincing everyone that it sounds like Carcass. What does that mean though? Does it mean that the band aren’t treading new ground and are merely rehashing what they’ve done in the past? Or, perhaps they have genuinely gone in a different direction (they certainly have the talent for it), but are just trying to reassure fans that they won’t be disappointed. Everyone knows that music fans can be resistant to drastic changes that bands can go through, so perhaps this is ploy to try and calm the waters before the eventual storm.
Jeff also adds:
“I’d like to feel like we are giving Carcass fans what they want again. I’m a realist and I think Bill has realized and Dan know what people like about Carcass. We’re definitely delivering.”
There’s that placating the fans angle again…
Original members, Michael Amott and drummer Daniel Erlandsson are not returning to the fold due to their commitments to Arch Enemy. Carcass have mentioned that when they play live they’ll definitely add another guitarist, but for the studio they prefer to remain alone. No word on who they are looking at welcoming to the Carcass family though Walker says he’s not interested in a “name” player.
No official track listing has been released yet, as the band are still looking for a label to release Surgical Steel with; however they did release a series of track names that all sound pretty cool:
The Master Butcher’s Apron
The Granulating Dark Satanic Mills
A Congealed Clot Of Blood
A Wraith In The Apparatus
316l Grade Surgical Steel
Cadaver Pouch Conveyor System
Captive Bolt Pistol
Intensive Battery Brooding
None Compliance To Astm F899-12 Standard
Mount Of Execution
Unfit For Human Consumption
So far, so good in that respect, though that’s still no indication of the most important aspect of this whole endeavour. What will the music actually sound like (other than Carcass)? Walker says:
We’ve taken stylistic cues from all the albums because it’s in our blood, but it’s no rehash or mess of ideas. I think it sounds almost like the missing link between the third and forth albums but with some groove in there. I’ve jokingly christened some parts ‘trad blast’ and some ‘death sleaze’… don’t think for a minute this is just some nostalgic throwback album — we’re setting up another 17 years of ideas for other bands to copy and clean up on. [laughs]
While some of that could be chalked up to overzealous confidence, or perhaps even arrogance, I have to say that I find statements like that very pleasing. Here, Walker demonstrates that the pressure is on and they are aware of it. They’re clearly keen to release another masterpiece, and if they succeed the metal world will be all the better for it.
For the uninitiated, here’s a few choice cuts from Carcass’ classic album, Heartwork.
Surgical Steel is due out some time this year, but is yet to receive an official release date. We’ll keep you posted on The Monolith!