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Carcass: sweet Satan below what can be said that hasn’t already been said about Carcass? Holding an unassailable position as the kings of deathly grind, this is a group that has both redefined and exemplified the music with a sickly cloud of rot and odorous decay hanging about it. Certainly, they are one of the few who deserve the endless bloody rain of praise poured down upon – their influence on the modern melodic death scene and the murky confines of the grindcore underworld is utterly irrefutable.
And while there are some who argue that the UK legend’s crowning glory is the vomit inducing goregrind of ‘Symphonies of Sickness’, and others who hold the melodic metal milestone ‘Heartwork’ in highest regard, there are those who understand the truth. That here, on the legendary ‘Necroticism - Descanting The Insalubrious’ (the bridge album between the two aforementioned discs), Carcass laid down the greatest, heaviest work of their pathology-obsessed career.
The songs here are enormously different from those you’ll find on ‘Reek of Putrefaction’ or ‘Symphonies’, with their run times nearly doubled or in the case of songs such as ‘Inpropagation’ and ‘Forensic Clinicism/The Sanguine Article’ pretty much tripled in length. The death metal influence hinted at on ‘Symphonies’ takes to the fore here, with song structures slowed down and sped up where appropriate in place of the relentlessly blasting of the two preceding albums. Solos feature prominently (a rarity in most forms of death metal), and an unmistakeable hint of melody shines through each one, though nowhere near that seen on ‘Heartwork.’ Lyrically, gore fans will still be satiated. While the over-the-top titles are absent, in their place is a far more surgically precise kind of description, equally graphic in their gruesome detailing of decomposing, decaying human bodies.
‘Necroticism’ is also an album characterized by a very genuine atmosphere of ominous dread and barely contained bloodlust. This is helped in large part by the sound itself: herein the listener can find one of the finest, heaviest production jobs that Colin Richardson has ever put his stamp on, with each instrument ringing out as clearly as the one alongside, all the while retaining one of the meatiest and most satisfyingly crunching guitar tones ever heard on record. The additional interview samples opening almost every song are the cherry on the cake of the production.
As players, Carcass were on the very pinnacle of their game here. Jeff Walker and Bill Steer’s infamous and highly influential vocals come into their own, coupling Walker’s hellish, primal scream with Steer’s sinister low-end growls to produce a fantastically unsettling effect. Ken Owen gives one of his best performances ever, adding a variety and flair into his drumwork (though his forays into hyperspeed are not completely absent), and his fills are as stunning in their power as they are in skill. And of course, it would be impossible to talk about ‘Necroticism’ without mention of the awe-inspiring guitars of Steer and Michael Amott, who bring grinding, writhing, coruscating riff after riff to the table, along with lead guitar work and solos that are some of the most memorably astounding in all of death metal.
Inarguably, the songs here are laden to the brim with hooks; the very riffs themselves are the kind that will stick in the brain for weeks – the main riff for ‘Incarnated Solvent Abuse’ is one of the greatest riffs of all time – and the subtle groove underscoring the likes of ‘Pedigree Butchery’ and ‘Carneous Cacoffiny’ are guaranteed to set heads banging as hard as any pounding deathly blasting ever could.
All of these elements combine to make one utterly sublime masterclass in death metal artistry, one of the true, inarguable classics of immense significance and historical importance in heavy metal. Truly the greatest Carcass album of all time, and one of the best albums you will ever hear in your entire life. Seek it out now, and revel in the festering slime of ‘Necroticism - Descanting the Insalubrious.’