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With this modest demo release, a genre of music and a music legend were born. Although to hear the actual recording and to know of what happened to Carcass's line-up at the time after making the recording, the forecast was hardly auspicious: the recording conditions were primitive, resulting in a very muddy sound, and not long afterwards the original lead singer left the band. But the basic template of death metal vocals, a brutal grinding guitar sound, spasms of nuclear-powered drumming rhythms and a penchant for body horror subject matter and the cheeky lyrics and song titles to match was already there and combined with the slurpy sound and production makes for a minor classic of interest to Carcass fans.
Tracks that would appear on later Carcass albums, especially the debut "I Reek of Putrefaction", are already present in their basic forms. The band rips through the first four pieces of music with evil relish, viscera and precious body fluids flying in all directions, floppy drums spraying blood everywhere, and gravelly voices churning through soft quivering flesh. The vocals here are more vicious than on later albums; when Jeff Walker took over voice duties, a certain comic element crept into the singing. Now that I have heard this early recording, I'm rather sorry that original vocalist Sanjiv didn't hang about longer with the band - his vocals would have added a sinister edge to the band's style. Once "Rotten to the Gore (Pysosisified)" rumbles in, the band settles in for the long haul (oh all right, it's just under three minutes long) with careening drum rhythms and rolls running all over the shop and two sets of vocals bouncing off each other. At the other extreme from "Rotten ...", tracks like "Excreted Alive" and "Genital Grinder" are barely more than bursts of guitars-n-drums grind abuse. A later track "Fermenting Innards" introduces a groove rhythm loop that pops up now and then in early Carcass recordings: an always welcome presence in my view - it shows how those cheeky Scousers really enjoyed dishing out such delectable desserts as these songs.
"Pungent Excruciation" can be quite a surprise for those who know Carcass mainly from their later albums: the intro is loose and almost experimental noise guitar before the musicians throw themselves into yet another frenzied piece that proves to be complex and convoluted in its construction. Outro track "Face melt, aaargh!" is a veritable pyre of melting grind guitar and bass rhythms and churning percussion and the music appears to collapse into itself.
At about 20 minutes, the demo packs in enough music that, if played at normal speed, would have lasted 40 minutes instead of half that time. As expected, the lyrics focus on aspects of the death process and the decay that sets in after, sped up for maximum lurid effect. The recording is best heard as one long track of 13 inter-related episodes: a few songs stick out like sore thumbs for their melodies or groove rhythms but most hang better when they are all linked together and the energy seems to flow naturally from one track to the next with the tiniest of breaks in between. Short songs come across as little packages crammed full of crazy riffs and tunes that, if developed, could have enough potential to fill out entire albums of music each. There are sections in the entire release where it seems the band is just melting in a crazed sonic bonfire of drums being hammered and punished to death and guitars screeching for dear life under the barrage of percussion. Most of all, the music just bursts with energy and zest in spite of the shitty production.
Such a recording truly deserves a classic title like ... erm, Flesh Ripping Sonic Torment!
This was the first demo under the Carcass name. I was interested to see how the demo was and how it compared to Reek of Putrefaction in terms of the sound and the audio quality. I was quite surprised, but in a rather pleasant way.
The vocalist, Sanjiv, doesn't sound pitchshifted. He has a fairly solid guttural, and delivers vocals passably well. I was surprised by the straight-up gutturals here, expecting the pitchshifted vocals, but this sounds to be tape-recorder quality, and (in my experience) pitchshifting on that low-grade of equipment doesn't turn out so good.
The drums are fairly standard as well, blasting away indecipherably. It's almost impossible to distinguish the riffs over the drums and vocals, giving the album something of a powerviolence feel. It's free of the ridiculous powerviolence vocals, though, which is a big plus. It sounds a bit like Denak, in my opinion, but with worse production and better vocals.
If you're into really indecipherable brutal grindcore, this is a solid album. A must-have for grind fans and those who enjoy demos. It's impressive how much this band changed, even if the changes went downhill.
Back in 1986 a couple of regular guys jammed in their bedroom doing Judas Priest covers. It wasn't till 1987 when a certain drummer and a vocalist entered the picture. Carcass' first demo was recorded, and it tore the underground apart.
This sounds just as good as Reek Of Putrefaction production-wise. Some of these songs made it to their dubut, others didn't. Not all instruments can be heard, but the record wasn't as bad as I expected it to be. Sanjiv's vocals are pretty solid, and rest of the band knew what they were doing, This is sick goregrind with raw as fuck production; I dig it.
This is Carcass the way it's meant to be, kids; 'Twas a long time ago in a galaxy far away before they attempted to gain mainstream acceptance. Give it a try!