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Suffering a particularly bad case of the Baron Munchausen's, I allow myself to be coaxed back into the tender mercies of Liverpool's limber-fingered lanceteers. For many Carcass fans, "Necroticism - Descanting the Insalubrious" will be our Fearsome Foursome's finest hour - by 1991, Carcass had expanded to a quartet - where the balance of technical mastery, production, brass-necked cheek, brutal and aggressive delivery, and the sheer joy in going where no sane human being had gone before (and few have ventured since) was achieved and maintained consistently over an entire album. Earlier albums have more flow and sparking electricity, and "Reek of Putrefaction" will always be my personal favourite for its filthy sound and the improvised nature of the slipshod music that barely holds together, but compared to the album under review they can be uneven and erratic, and the production on them does blunt the band's full brutal force.
"Inpropagation" leads off in full majestic force and sets the standard for the rest of the album to follow with cheeky and inspired lyrics that, interpreted one way, might be a sarcastic comment on how people's lives and bodies literally are sacrificed for money and profits. The music is dense and suffocating with deliriously sick lead guitar solo melodies, passages where Ken Owen's pulverising drums take your brain to another level of trance-like zombiedom and Walker's deranged slavering vocals. The next few tracks are more business-like in sheer brutal guitar battery, Bill Steer and Mike Amott trading riffs and solo breaks, Owen coming into his own as a capable drummer able to lead and support the others, and Walker's bass somehow managing to keep up with the sheer force of the music while he's singing the convoluted lyrics. "Pedigree Butchery" continues in similar vein rhythmically though Steer's lead guitar is allowed to run away at times with nauseous tones; the lyrics on the other hand are a hilarious summary of how people and pigs can form the tightest of tight-knit ecological cycles. (Coincidentally or maybe not so, I'm writing this review at the same time two news articles involving pigs exploded across the Internet: one involved a hapless Oregon farmer and his 700-pound porkers, the other about a man in Tasmania, Australia, who helped a friend get rid of a murder victim's body using ... pigs.) Of course, in some contexts, "pigs" can mean some other kind of animal, not necessarily of the four-legged kind ...
"Incarnated Solvent Abuse" is a strong track boasting more riffs, changes of pace, guitar melodies and variations in rhythm than it deserves to - but heck, this is Carcass, who are famous for packing in riffs and melodies into the one song like they're all going out of fashion! "Carneous Cacoffiny" features an unusually laid-back and swanky rhythm over which lyrics that describe how every part of a human body is made into a musical instrument; Steer himself seems impressed with Walker's efforts as his solos take on a jaunty, frilly air. A weird kind of virtuosic romanticism, sort of reminiscent of 19th century Romantic composers dying for their art as they strove to create impossible concertos while wracked with hacking tubercular coughs, hovers over this track.
There are indeed filler pieces on this album but the standard across eight songs is very good and even lesser tracks like "Lavaging Expectorate of Lysergic Acids" (oh, spit!) have catchy groove rhythms. On all songs, the band plays as an almost organic whole with no-one player flagging behind. There is plenty of space for Steer to take off on flights of shrill if sickening guitar fancy and Amott gets a few lead breaks as well. Towards the end there is an indication of the musical direction Carcass were to take on "Heartwork" with the guitars forming a solid impenetrable attack force, very martial and stiff and not to my liking at all. While most songs have lyrics revolving around dismemberment of cadavers and the joy therein to be found, the more interesting lyrics in tracks like "Inpropagation" involve exploiting human flesh and body parts for profit or plain self-centred greed.